The Duggar family has been embroiled in controversy since May when news broke that the eldest son, Josh Duggar, had molested several girls at the age of 14. The drama continued for the "19 Kids and Counting" stars over the next few months, with more details emerging about the 27-year-old's troubling existence, and now it's being used as the basis for a storyline on Season 17 of NBC's "Law & Order: SVU."
According to E! Online, the episode, titled "Patrimonial Burden," will focus on a fundamentalist Christian family with several skeletons in its closet. The "Law & Order: SVU" detectives will be called in to investigate the family after news breaks that their 13-year-old daughter, who is one of 10 children, is pregnant. E! reports that as the investigation wages on, several shocking twists and turns will be revealed. Christopher Sieber and Geneva Carr will guest star in the "Law & Order: SVU" episode as the patriarch and matriarch of the family. Much like Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Sieber and Carr put their family on the map by agreeing to have their daily lives taped for a reality show. Also appearing in the episode will be MTV's "Are You The One?" host Ryan Devlin, Victoria Leigh and Chris Elliot.
As we previously reported, Raúl Esparza, who plays ADA Rafael Barba on "Law & Order: SVU," claimed he was "sure" writers would be featuring at least one Duggar-centric episode in the upcoming season. He noted that the details in the episode would, of course, differ from actual events, but said it would be similar enough that viewers would recognize its real-life origins. Esparza's co-star Peter Scanavino, who plays Detective Dominick Carisi, also shared his thoughts on the idea of a "19 Kids and Counting" episode. Scanavino called the Duggars a "lunatic-fringe family," adding that he was open to the idea of covering them for the show.
It was revealed in May that Josh had inappropriately touched five female minors, three of whom were his own sisters, as a teenager. No legal action was taken against the him, though his parents did eventually remove him from the home to seek treatment. He was sent to a faith-based facility where he was forced to participate in Bible study and manual labor. Following that scandal Josh was exposed for having created two accounts on Ashley Madison, a popular cheating website. He admitted to having been unfaithful to his wife, Anna Duggar, revealing that he had been living a "double life." He blamed his behavior on an addiction to pornography and checked himself into rehab in August. He is thought to be seeking treatment at Reformers Unanimous, another faith-based facility with a strong focus on work.
It remains unclear how "Law & Order: SVU" writers plan to work the scandals into the Season 17 episode. "Patrimonial Burden" will air Nov. 4 at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.