'Law & Order: SVU' Tackling Paula Deen Controversy With Cybill Shepherd

08/22/2013 09:02 am ET | Updated Aug 22, 2013

"Law & Order: SVU" is tackling the Paula Deen racism controversy. The long-running NBC police drama is combining the Deen controversy with a Trayvon Martin-esque storyline.

Cybill Shepherd will play Jolene Castille, high-profile celebrity chef who shoots and kills an unarmed teen in a hoodie on the Upper West Side because she thought she was being pursued by a rapist. The character claims self-defense because she knew the detectives were after a rapist who fit the description, according to TV Guide.

Other cast members in the episode include "Arrested Development" star Jeffrey Tambor as a defense attorney and "Smash" star Leslie Odom Jr. as a minister. Photos of the cast, including Tambor and Shepherd, emerged and gave clues to the story content matter.

The episode will be divisive, Leight said. "When the script was published it became a litmus test for everybody here," he told EW. "It was really interesting to see people read that script and have different interpretations about who did what and whether or not they deserved prison for it. It was fascinating."

Look for "SVU" to tackle more hot topic stories in Season 15. In the past, the network has tackled the big headlines with episodes. Last season the series took on "legitimate rape," Chris Brown & Rihanna and several college rape cases.

"Law & Order: SVU" Season 15 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

'Law and Order: SVU'

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