The events of Wednesday night’s “Law & Order: SVU” may or may not closely resemble Chris Brown and Rihanna‘s relationship (and, more specifically, Brown’s 2009 assault of Rihanna ). While some of the episode draws direct parallels, along the way, it takes on a life, and story, of its own.
The episode’s leading lady Tiffany Robinson revealed that the sharpest turn the episode takes away from the real-life incidents wasn’t even supposed to be there to begin with.
“When I thought about the different options, I really made my peace with the decision that they made,” Robinson explained to MTV News about the death of her character, Micha. After Micha runs off with her abusive boyfriend, fellow pop star Caleb (played by Roca), she ends up dead after a heated argument. Initially, the characters were just supposed to run off to Bermuda together, giving the episode a happier ending. But some last-minute conversations led to the more-dramatic conclusion.
“They really pushed it so that we can really look at the seriousness of it,” Robinson said. “I felt like they drove it home even more. They kept it real, and they went there, regardless of what controversy it would bring. It was about telling the truth. Originally when I saw it, they hadn’t ended it that way. This is what happens [in abusive relationships] when we look at the numbers. This is usually where it ends up.”
While it was a shock to see her Rihanna-like character meet such a dramatic end, it was difficult for Robinson to put her stamp on this type of persona for “SVU.” “I shied away from [exposing myself to Rihanna], and that was really intimidating for me,” she explained. “They really wanted me to create this character for myself. Also this character for me was younger and naive.
“Of course, the story, the relationship is similar. But the character herself, it was more or less, this is her first big break, her first big single,” she added. “And it was spun on from her relationship with this other celebrity, which is a lot different from the situation, I believe, [with] Rihanna and Chris.”
Robinson went into filming the episode looking at it as “just domestic violence situation” and focusing less on the similarities. She’s hoping viewers can also walk away from the episode with a clearer understanding about how serious domestic abuse is. “Of course, it’s a fictional story, but I try to bring in real elements when I create these characters,” she explained, adding that seeing herself with made-up bruises on her face was when she really made the connection to the real-life person who inspired her character.
“I feel so much responsibility towards it. I honestly didn’t even hear all the Rihanna and Chris stuff ’til I was on set. And that was mainly dealing with the makeup, when they did have to do the bruising and stuff, making it look as realistic as possible,” she said. “That’s when those kinds of comments were being made. You just felt so much responsibility to deliver this story with respect and also bringing light to the issue [and] the bigger picture. And that is domestic violence. We wanted to make sure we were telling the stories the way that the writers [wanted us to].”
Share your thoughts on the “Law & Order: SVU” episode in the comments below.