‘Mr. Robot’ Finale Postponed Because of Similarity to Live TV Killings

Mr. Robot Premiere
Courtesy of USA Network

USA Network has postponed tonight’s scheduled season finale of hacker drama series “Mr. Robot” for a week because the episode includes a scene with similarities to the real-life murders that occurred on live TV this morning in Virginia.

“Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight’s episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time,” USA said in a statement.

Early today, a reporter, Alison Parker, and cameraman, Adam Ward, for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., were shot and killed while delivering a live report for the station’s morning news program. The suspected killer is a former co-worker of the pair who posted video of the ambush on social media after fleeing the scene.

“Mr. Robot” has emerged as a critical darling for USA this summer. The series revolves around an anti-social IT whiz who is drafted to work for an underground group of hackers focused on rooting out evil and corruption in corporate America. Rami Malek and Christian Slater star.

USA said the decision to postpone was made because the finale “contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today’s tragic events in Virginia.”

“Mr. Robot” is the first new USA series to have strong pop culture buzz in some time. The postponement is not likely to be too big of a blow to the show’s ratings momentum. It’s not clear if USA had any time-sensitive sponsorship deals tied to the finale.

USA said the finale will air Sept. 2 in the show’s regular 10 p.m. timeslot. USA will sub in a rerun of last week’s penultimate episode to fill the void tonight.

Numerous TV series over the years have had to delay or shelve episodes due to eerie similarities to real-life events. In recent years, NBC’s “Hannibal” yanked an episode in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Syfy’s “Haven” did the same after the horrific shootings in 2012 of 22 children in Newtown, Conn.

Sam Esmail is creator and showrunner of “Mr. Robot” for Universal Cable Prods. and Anonymous Content.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 63

Leave a Reply

63 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Phillip L. Brown says:

    (SPOILERS)

    EMAIL
    PRINT
    17
    TALK

    Hannibal Finale Review NBCCOURTESY OF NBC
    AUGUST 29, 2015 | 08:45PM PT
    TV Columnist
    Brian Lowry
    TV Columnist
    @blowryontv
    “Hannibal” has likely had its last supper, concluding a somewhat ungainly third season that delved further into its literary underpinnings. Assuming there’s no stay of execution, the NBC series goes down as one of the most meticulously produced – and hunger inducing – in the recent annals of network TV, one that finally appeared to run out of options along with hospitable real estate.

    Despite an extremely loyal cadre of fans, showrunner Bryan Fuller’s program endured various indignities during the course of its run, among them being moved to Saturday nights to mitigate ratings damage to the network. Viewing had always been low (with international financing keeping production viable), but tune-in shriveled further after its relocation. And while there was talk of a revival elsewhere, that always looked more hopeful than likely, demonstrating that Netflix and Hulu can’t always be counted upon to reheat network leftovers.

    SEE MORE:NBC’s ‘Aquarius,’ ‘Hannibal’ Downgraded to Saturday

    None of that could be certain when these closing chapters were shot (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched), which, if nothing else, brought a refreshingly literal meaning to the term “cliffhanger.” While Fuller has outlined plans, at various points, for season four and beyond, his tendency to produce blood-soaked finales without an obvious escape plan can be described, alternately, as ballsy and optimistic.

    Titled “The Wrath of the Lamb,” the last episode – finishing what Fuller has characterized as an “enhanced” adaptation of Thomas Harris’ twice-filmed “Red Dragon” – culminated with a titanic three-way, slow-motion fight between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage). Shot and stabbed, the two leads again demonstrated there’s almost no amount of punishment from which they can’t walk away, or (were a renewal in the cards, anyway) recover.

    SEE MORE:‘Hannibal’ Finale Postmortem: Bryan Fuller Breaks Down That Bloody Ending and Talks Revival Chances

    The finishing shot, with a blood-soaked Graham embracing the wounded Lecter before pulling him over the bluff toward what looked like certain death for both, had a certain Sherlock Holmes-and-Moriarty-over-the-falls quality. It wasn’t closure, exactly, unless you choose to ignore the rest of Harris’ mythology, but it did further cement the sense of how powerfully the two are joined. (Fuller has acknowledged the homoerotic overtones of their unique bond, which seemed more overt in that sequence.)

    If that is all she wrote, “Hannibal” shouldn’t pass into history without a final nod to Mikkelsen, and what he accomplished in taking a role so indelibly associated with Anthony Hopkins and making it his own. “What a cunning boy you are,” he said to Will in one of their exchanges, simultaneously oozing menace and charm.

    That said, the prospect of continuing “Hannibal” into the character’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” which had been discussed, always felt like a creative bridge too far, given how superior that movie is to other cinematic adaptations of Harris’ books. Indeed, even the decision to bifurcate this season felt awkward, with Hannibal’s rather abrupt arrest segueing into the “Red Dragon” storyline.

    “Hannibal” remained visually stunning, with such gorgeous flourishes as Dolarhyde’s imagined dragon wings. Yet Mikkelsen’s heroics – or actually, anti-heroics – didn’t consistently extend to the peripheral characters. Although that ominous dialogue sounded cool coming from Hannibal, it risked lapsing into parody at times elsewhere, even allowing for the show’s exaggerated approach to everything from artful blood spatters to preparing a light meal.

    SEE MORE:‘Doctor Strange’ Eyes ‘Hannibal’ Star Mads Mikkelsen to Play Villain (EXCLUSIVE)

    Expressing such misgivings about “Hannibal” is a no-win proposition, inasmuch as almost nobody would be engaged enough to read about the show at this stage unless they’re positively gaga about it. Most journalists who continue to cover it are likely similarly inclined, creating a positive feedback loop.

    To an admirer of the early episodes but something of a skeptic about the concept’s longterm viability, “Hannibal” is, or was, a fascinating show, notable for its flaws as well as its ambitions – the latter having become increasingly rare in NBC’s programming arsenal. But the show, much like this ending, wasn’t entirely satisfying.

    If that mixed appraisal is hard for dedicated fans to swallow, they can always try washing it down with a nice Chianti. They should at least take some comfort in knowing the diagnosis, like everything associated with “Hannibal,” was prepared with the utmost care.

  2. na says:

    So if i die tomorrow u will cancel the show for a week

  3. Soco says:

    After 25 years of every conceivable type of violence in TV and films they are doing this? WTH?

  4. Ha says:

    Americans… This is ridiculous.

    • Most of us agree. But the Liberal’s out here cry over everything and blame everything but those doing the crime….

      • hptrio1 says:

        Liberals? Speak for someone else, please. As a liberal, I was po’d when I discovered this. First the cancellation and then the spoiler?! The hell??? On a side note, I’d say the Conservatives are the ones that cry a river and point fingers [at other liberals] every time SOMETHING happens. Crime or not–it can be anything!

  5. try getting bet gun control..... says:

    what a load of crap. try getting better gun control, not reschedule tv shows………

  6. John says:

    who the hell cares about what happened in real life, a show on tv has nothing to do with real life, people just need to learn the differences and not worry about this crap

    life is not dictated by the media, media is dictated by life events, but now it seems by only the fear of peoples feelings.

  7. John Johnson says:

    I hope the shooter gets the chair for making all the fans wait an extra week.

  8. Tony says:

    Who cares it’s a tv show. Is someone going to watch the show and get triggered and sue USA Network?If you have a violent show and worried about showing something, perhaps your network shouldn’t have had this show to begin with. This is just like what they did to Hannibal a couple of years ago, NBC didn’t like one episode so they cut up the episode into different parts, and now this year they have canceled Hannibal. Violence will always happen, do people honestly think that if someone has already committed to killing or robbing someone they will be worried about not being able to legally get a gun, and receive a gun charge on top of their felony crime?! People have killed other people long before guns were even invented; increasing gun regulation almost does nothing just making it hard to legally obtain them. You can almost go anywhere and obtain one illegally on the streets. I guarantee you though if a thief/killer knows I have a gun too they will think twice.

    • Tony says:

      And who knows this entire tragedy could have been lessened had someone else had a gun and killed that person who shot those people, and saved at least a couple of lives.

  9. Ed Little says:

    What will it take for the Republicans in Congress to stop taking NRA money and do something about the numerous useless gun killings in our free society? A replacement of all those elected lawmakers. or should I say bought?

  10. Justin Murray says:

    The Virginia shooting was a tragedy and my heart and prayers go out to all the families affected by it. Also this entire season was filmed months ago before it even began airing, that being said there is no way anyone could have anticipated any similarity to live events. I think that this speaks volumes to Sam Esmail and the personnel at USA network. I’m sure they lost countless revenues from advertising due to the re-airing of last week’s episode, but To be honest I was disappointed at the show not airing as I look forward to viewing Mr. Robot, Graceland, and suits. All three of my favorite shows are on this network and are the highlight of my week. But ultimately I would have preferred they not withheld airing the show since I doubt that there is a scene in the finale that includes a blonde reporter being shot in Virginia. Short of that the show should have run

  11. Ray the ruler! says:

    Son of a bitch!!!! “Dimi! Why joo do dis to my Dimi?!!!”

  12. Tom Hardy says:

    Hundreds die of gun violence in America, PER DAY. Yes, two people died. Yes, this was a hate crime. It may seem insensitive, but I would rather watch a TV show than mourn these victims. By the logic of the USA network, why not cancel every other tv show that has some form of gun violence every day? We will be left with nothing to watch by this poor logic.

  13. Bryce Williams says:

    It was for the lol’s

  14. alexander says:

    Brooooo, person here in France. damn the USA network but more importantly damn the murderer errrrrrrrrrrr

  15. Frosty says:

    Thanks for publishing spoilers for the finale you inconsiderate a-holes

  16. Brett says:

    People are acting like this is a bad thing. This is a Corporation showing empathy. For fucks sake we need more of this in this country if were going to ever make it.

    • NumberKillinger says:

      Yeah. Empathy after the fact. How about not using illegal and violent acts as a form of entertainment ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY!!! Kids cannot watch sexual acts as it is deemed inappropriate,yet your kids are much more likely to have sex in their lives than murder people….and sex is legal(consensual)..

  17. wtf says:

    fuck off it’s a tv show

  18. Waib says:

    … really?

    everyone dies, get used to it.

  19. Catz says:

    Maybe we should write more life affirming shows

  20. Ocean House says:

    I would rather be watching tonight’s season finale, I feel like the talk about gun violence is pointless, if you want to talk about violence leave the gun out of it because if you take guns away, lunatics will be making explosive devices, or other weapons of mass destruction, then we can have an argument about taking table salt off the store shelves because it too dangerous of a substance to have in our society and put security guards the beaches too because any idiot can make a seriously destructive bomb from the salt found in sea water as well the need might arise to search everyone that leaves the beach to make sure they are not taking any water with them Or do we just need to ban crazy people from having access to salt water, tools, a kitchen and a dc power supply?. ever hear the old saying “if you don’t give them the powder they will be forced to build the bomb” if other people in that parking lot had guns someone just might have shot that crazy bastard before he killed those people, i have a feeling this would have gone down very different in the state of Arizona where regular sane people openly carry guns and are legally bound to use them in situations like this, or face jail time……in light of today’s tragic insodent i’m going to do something about it, im going to buy a decent hand gun!!!!!!!!!

    • UnarmedBandit says:

      Complete and utter nonsense. You wanna know why everyone carrying a gun is bad? Because all it takes is a moment of rage or anger and someone ends up dead. With explosives, you have to plan in advance, days most likely. And other weapons? Most people dont have the nerve to kill someone with their bare hands and stabbing or bludgeoning doesnt lead to death nearly as often. With a gun its easy. Any weakling with a gun can shoot you. Then theres the cops. Knowing that just about everyone has a weapon that can be easily concealed, they tend to be more than a little trigger happy, shoot first and all that. How many people have been unnecessarily killed by police lately in the US? And, who can blame them to some extent, even little old granny could be packing. You think youre safer with a gun? Youre not, and as far as police are concerned, youre a potential enemy combatant, and they treat you as such. The more heavily armed the population is, the more heavily armed the police become to ensure your “safety”. You compete with them, they can go full military if they need to. You think youre little stash of weapons and ammo, even a large one, is going to compete against an organized, trained and well funded military force? HA.HA.HA. Your gun laws in the US actually put you in danger of being shot over a traffic stop, a few poorly chosen words and the wrong move and BAM! Youre dead. And they get away with it, they were just following their training. Training that is custom tailored to dealing with a heavily armed population. In other countries, like say Canada, with heavy gun regulation, they cant get away with that kind of stuff, at all in most places, and even in the inner cities an officer would need MUCH more justification for shooting someone dead then what is frequently used in the US. But, you go ahead, buy another gun, endanger yourself some more. I live in Canada and I cant imagine what it would feel like to have to carry a weapon to protect myself, or how scared I would need to be. I cant imagine living in a place so UNsafe.

    • varkhan says:

      yeah… because we all know that countries where gun are not as accessible as in the USA are full of lunatics that make bomb from salted water… remember all the bombs in Canada, Italy, Sweden or Iceland…

      and there is no old saying about “if you don’t give them the powder they will be forced to build the bomb”… except maybe in your NRA meeting… full of same people…

      and we all know that when you carry a gun, you can see in slow motion to be able to shoot killers in parking lots before they kill… like it happened in Arizone with Dale Hausner…

    • swoiveyarry says:

      I truly hope this was written by a child and not an adult. Spouting some non-sensical reasonings in order to justify carrying guns. How will members of the public suddenly be gaining access to the serious premeditated knowledge, preparation and materials needed for explosives. How would a member of the public have been able to react in 5 seconds this despicable act took to take place? The US has the highest rate of gun-related homicides from any high-income economy in the world. 32,000 people each year are killed. It is your archaic, and ill educated viewpoint that is shared by other low IQ holding individuals in your nation that is supporting lobbyists to keep guns in circulation and thus being directly responsible and accountable for these 32,000 deaths per year.

      • Ocean House says:

        so do you consider that not saying anything useful is intelligent? “serious premeditated knowledge” are you just that stupid? its called the internet, im sorry your to brain washed to understand that alkali chloride can be easily changed to a chlorate using seriously common items a device of size-able energy can be prepared with a few short days the info is searchable by anyone, i only referenced electrolysis as in illustration of how absurd it is to talk about removing weapons from our society, when the table salt we need for our very survival can be weponised very easily ……… you missed the point, where there is a will to kill people there will always be a way people kill people thats the way its always been. say in this instance instead of a gun it could have been a cheap remote control car at the reporters feet carrying a destructive device, frankly i would rather be shot at then bombed. people like you will always be the ones that are getting killed because you will be defenseless, in your desired future only the criminals and otherwise motivated will have weapons, and you will be wounded or dead in the 9 minutes it takes for the government to help you. personally I would want to shoot back……………..been putting off buying a hand gun for a long time because of a lack of need as i don’t live in the city, where need for a gun is more pressing, but i its time to get one just incase………..

      • Ocean House says:

        I would rather be watching tonight’s season finale, I feel like the talk about gun violence is pointless, if you want to talk about violence leave the gun out of it because if you take guns away, lunatics will be making explosive devices, or other weapons of mass destruction, then we can have an argument about taking table salt off the store shelves because it too dangerous of a substance to have in our society and put security guards the beaches too because any idiot can make a seriously destructive bomb from the salt found in sea water as well the need might arise to search everyone that leaves the beach to make sure they are not taking any water with them Or do we just need to ban crazy people from having access to salt water, tools, a kitchen and a dc power supply?. ever hear the old saying “if you don’t give them the powder they will be forced to build the bomb” if other people in that parking lot had guns someone just might have shot that crazy bastard before he killed those people, i have a feeling this would have gone down very different in the state of Arizona where regular sane people openly carry guns and are legally bound to use them in situations like this, or face jail time……in light of today’s tragic insodent i’m going to do something about it, im going to buy a decent hand gun!!!!!!!!!

  21. Ajax says:

    Wow. WTF. Who cares if there is any similarity to anything on Mr Robot? Most reporters I’ve ever known are greasy, duplicitous scumbags. The inconvenience to me of not seeing the finale of Mr Robot is much more outrageous than the murder of a bunch of two bit reporters. As a matter of fact, its a amazing to me that it doesn’t happen more often.

    • swoivey says:

      The word is “you’re” and “too”, not “your” and “too”, so you kind of lost me there. But you’re right, guns don’t kill people, remote controlled cars with table salt and alkali chloride do (there’s a song in there somewhere). After a quick spot of research, I’ve not seen any remote controlled car related murders in the US, but wait, there have been 300,000 gun related murders since 1999. You don’t take away the “will”, you take away the “way”. By your logic, if guns were banned, and people start bombing people, then we should all arm ourselves with bombs to protect ourselves. What a utopian society.

    • MightyTrollPeople says:

      I really hope you are being ironic, whistling at death, or anything that isn’t sincere. Otherwise you are a horrible person.

  22. kyle says:

    PUBLICTY STUNT

  23. carterfrancis says:

    Guess who owns USA Network?

    NBC.

  24. bc says:

    Very admirable of USA network making this decision. Thank you!!!

  25. carterfrancis says:

    Yeah, *no one* who says this is ridiculous *gets* it. How about respect for the 40 Americans who are murdered everyday?

    EVERY life is valuable.

    And now they’re editing the show? This isn’t about respect or honoring the victims & their families, it’s about money and not wanting to damage any opportunity to rake in the cash.

    Incredibly disappointing.

  26. patricia says:

    i hope at&t uverse gets notified cause they still have it scheduled for tonight

  27. Hey yo says:

    So can a conversation about gun violence start up now?

    Or is it too soon?

  28. The people complaining about this being a “cowardly move” or that “the audience can handle it, just show it” are missing the point. It’s not about being politically correct, or free publicity. It’s about USA showing some compassion and human decency. Sure, airing it next week instead of tonight might not have any effect on the friends and families of the victims directly, but it shows respect. Why do we put flags at half mast only to raise them again the next day, good PR? Why do we have moments of silence only to continue our conversations the next minute, because we’re cowards? No. It’s to show respect to those affected.

    If you say you are going to stop watching the show because the finale is being delayed a week, I’d say you need to reevaluate your priorities.

    • wtf says:

      People die everyday and yet no one gives a fuck and we continue living our lives if they care so much about 2 reporters and yet they don’t give a single fuck about all the starving children in Africa instead of clinging into the past focus on the future maybe the whole world will understand that saving people are better that 2 past lives that they are already dead.

      • I’m failing to see your point. I agree with you that there are plenty of other worse situations in the world like starving children in Africa, or human trafficking in Thailand, or plenty of other terrible situations. It’s a shame those things happen and I wish it weren’t the case, but how does it relate to this conversation?

    • carterfrancis says:

      Meanwhile, USA continues its SVU marathon. Because it’s all about the victims….

  29. kathy walsh says:

    It is refreshing to see a network that is not afraid to show its humanity. Just goes to show that not all networks are worried about ratings. Thank you USA for your decision.

  30. Its too bad I work all week next week. looks like i’m not gonna see the last scene. Time to find another show to watch. Remember this day and decision because this is the day your ratings will start to decline.

  31. MLE says:

    Oh well, I’ll just turn the channel and see another show showing someone getting shot.

  32. Merlinman1 says:

    Although death is death, and people will die at war, and in car accidents, and in a myriad of ways, this morning’s shooting was unprecedented in the way it occurred, and in the aftermath.
    Perhaps the finale shooting scene is too similar for comfort, so USA is just trying to be decent on the same day or happened.

  33. Wrong Focus says:

    210,000 civilians have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Are they going to take all the shows about war off the air? Hollywood, get over yourselves.

  34. me says:

    Because murder and senseless violence will be entertaining again by next Wednesday.`

    • Mr. Robot says:

      When are people going to grow a brain and realize TV IS NOT REAL! Even what you see on TV that is based on facts is still less than 25% real due to manipulation of the facts. Wake up!

      • Alex says:

        This is exactly the point! They want you to believe that everything on TV it’s real. You need to take their next BS propaganda seriously!

  35. TBA says:

    When this kind of things happens, I always wonder why showing a graphic murder on TV one week from now is any better than showing it on TV today. If it’s so disturbing as to be postponed because of events in the news, then why show it at all? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the show and look forward to the finale. I just think this kind of token delay is pointless if you aren’t going to go all the way and not show the offending scene altogether. How much of a delay are the victims worth? One week? One month? It comes across more as the network grasping at free publicity and that looks bad.

  36. Incredibly Conceited says:

    This move just strikes me as hubris. We all feel terrible for what happened in Virgina but half the shows on TV involve people shooting and killing each other. Why is this one so special? Is USA Network also going to take all shows off the air that involve car chases? Because statistically speaking four people died today in auto accidents. Where is the “respect” for those families? Or is this just a PR move to build even more buzz about the season finale? That would be the ultimate DISrespect. Put a warning on it if you must but let people make their own decisions about what they want to watch.

  37. Tim says:

    The Hannibal episode was removed after Sandy Hook, not the Boston bombing. The episode was about kids killing other kids I think.

  38. evietoo says:

    Excellent move. Remember how the first season of “24” was delayed by months because of 9/11, and rightly so. The opening episode had a terrorist using an airplane to kill people.

    “24” went on to much success, and Mr Robot will as well.

  39. Marcelene A.M. says:

    You do realize that this is not the only station that has done this. A TV show is going to be around until it ends or is cancelled. You’ll be okay without one episode. I’m a fan, too.

  40. AJ Felix says:

    the lamest thing USA has done. Stop being so PC and sensitive, USA!

    • Leon Foonman says:

      “AJ Felix” is not a human-being. It is a reflexive, response activated program that spiders the WWW, seeking out instances of “liberal” comments, using character string filters set to trigger what appears to be an appropriate “conservative reply”. This routine has roots in the co-intelpro program of the early 1990s. Be advised the “AJ Felix” may appear to be a psychotic right-wing creep trolling for attention, it is NOT a human-being and should be ignored.

    • Jeremy says:

      I think you’re confusing PC & Sensitive with common sense thinking and basic human decency.
      This is the right decision. Maybe should stop being so sensitive about having to wait one measly week to watch the finale.

  41. Null says:

    pushing it back was the wrong decision, one insane idiot should not have this sort of impact. This is a cowardly move by USA’s PR dept.

More TV News from Variety

Loading