Famous cop show Law & Order borrows a page from Strauss-Kahn's case
WASHINGTON - A new season of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" kicked off on Wednesday on NBC television with a storyline that might sound familiar to a certain French politician.
Italian-born actor Franco Nero guest-starred as an arrogant diplomat "tipped to be Italy's next prime minister" who is accused of sexually assaulting a Sudanese hotel maid whose credibility soon comes under scrutiny.
The plot mirrored Dominique Strauss-Kahn's brush with a Guinean chambermaid who alleged he had raped her in a New York hotel suite, only for the case to fall apart when prosecutors questioned her truthfulness.
"Another DSK," shrugged one of the "Law and Order" detectives as Nero's character faced interrogation, after Nero's character was pulled off a flight out of New York -- just as Strauss-Kahn had been.
The show also recreated a "perp walk" in front of press cameras like the one that Strauss-Kahn -- a potential challenger to Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency -- made in handcuffs.
But the series' producers insisted at the outset of the show that the story was entirely fictional.
The "Law and Order" franchise has a reputation for ripping its plots from the headlines, with the original series, cancelled in 2010 after a 20-year run, borrowing freely from the Tawana Brawley rape case in its early episodes.
Brawley, an African-American teenager at the time, alleged in 1987 that she had been raped by six white men, including police officers, but her claims were rejected by a grand jury that concluded she made up the story.
Set in New York, "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" started shooting its new season in July, two months after then-IMF director Strauss-Kahn was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo.
With criminal charges dropped, Strauss-Kahn appeared on French television last weekend and acknowledged "a moral failing" on his part. He still faces civil proceedings that are set to begin later this month.