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‘Mr. Robot’ finale postponed over similarities to TV journalist killings

Mr. Robot- Season 1Mr. Robot- Season 1
USA Network has opted to postpone the final episode of Mr. Robot over similarities between the plot and Wednesday's shooting of two television journalists. Photograph by NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

USA Network postponed Wednesday’s season finale of breakout drama Mr. Robot due to what the network says are similarities between the episode’s plot and Wednesday’s slaying of two Virginia journalists on live television.

USA, a division of NBCUniversal and Comcast (CMCSA), said Thursday morning that the previously filmed final episode of the show’s first season will air next Wednesday, Sep. 2, at 10 p.m. EDT. Last night, USA re-aired last week’s episode of Mr. Robot.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the finale includes a depiction of a character who is shot and killed during a TV interview. On Wednesday, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were both fatally shot by a former coworker during a live television interview for WDBJ, a CBS (CBS) affiliate in Roanoke, Va. The interview subject, local chamber of commerce executive Vicki Gardner, was also shot but is reported to be in stable condition. The suspected gunman later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

USA Network announced its decision to postpone the finale in a series of tweets:

The move by USA comes as Mr. Robot is set to wrap up a critically acclaimed first season for the show, which has been renewed following its positive critical reception as well as a growing audience that reached 1.3 million viewers for season one’s penultimate episode last week.

The cable series follows a young computer programmer who works for a cybersecurity company but leads a secret life as a hacker who works with an insurrectionist group that launches cyber attacks against large corporations.

Hollywood has a history of treading lightly with violent fare in the wake of real-life tragedies. After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, several television shows pulled or postponed episodes depicting explosions or containing jokes about terrorism. The murder of 28 people in the 2012 shooting at a Newton, Conn. elementary school also prompted multiple movie studios to cancel premiere screenings of violent action films. And in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre, in 1999, the WB network delayed the airing of a third-season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which the plot included a teenager preparing for a potential school shooting.