COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The return of NBC’s “Law & Order” series is sticking to the original show’s script with another “ripped from the headlines” story that draws from the case of YouTube vlogger, Gabby Petito.
In September 2021, Petito’s body was found in Wyoming after her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home alone to Florida from a cross-country van trip that the pair were documenting on social media. Police ruled Petito’s death a homicide.
The real-life story took a turn when Laundrie disappeared in Florida and his remains were discovered a month later. The Sarasota County Medical examiner confirmed the remains belonged to Laundrie and said he died by self-inflicted gunshot.
NBC’s description for Thursday’s episode, titled “Filtered Life,” reads, “Bernard and Cosgrove investigate the disappearance of a social media star whose case takes the Internet by storm. Price and Maroun must weigh their decisions regarding the case against the wishes of the missing woman’s family.”
In a clip from the network, detectives Kevin Bernard and Frank Cosgrove are seen questioning a friend of Amanda, the missing social media influencer. While the two focus on old-fashioned police work asking about broken windows and who Amanda might have been visiting in New York, the friend tells them she never saw Amanda “with anyone IRL, but she [Amanda] was huge on social media, she made ‘van life’ a thing.” The friend then dramatically shows them Amanda’s social media account on her phone with “over two million” followers.
Hugh Dancy, who plays Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price, talked about how the fictional adaptation of recent cases helps keep the show fresh and impacts the way the story is told.
“The quality of being as ‘ripped from the headlines’ is they are very much adhering to that,” said Dancy. “And I think they’re using that going back and forth between the cops and the lawyers, you know, have a conversation, be part of a conversation to reflect the conversations that are happening now, rather than what was happening 15 years ago.”
Watch “Law & Order” Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC4.