If you tuned in to the USA Network at 10 p.m. (EST) Wednesday night to watch the final episode of Season 1 of “Mr. Robot,” you may have been a bit surprised to find that it wasn’t broadcast. Instead, the show was postponed, the network issuing a statement saying that out of”respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers,” they had made the decision to air the final episode of the season the first week of September.
The Hollywood Reporter posted August 26 that the USA Network announced early Wednesday that the season ending episode, scheduled to air at 10 p.m., would be postponed until the following Wednesday. According to the network, the episode apparently has a “graphic scene” that is somewhat similar to the tragic events that unfolded during a live television broadcast in western Virginia early Wednesday morning.
During a live WDBJ-TV interview from Smith Mountain Lake, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed by a former colleague, reporter Blake Williams (whose real name was Vester Flanagan). The shootings sparked a massive manhunt that ended in a car chase in northern Virginia and Flanagan crashing his vehicle, then shooting himself before state troopers could get to him.
The USA Network’s statement read (compiled at Fortune from Twitter posts): “The previously filmed season finale of ‘Mr. Robot’ contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today’s tragic events 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.”
“Mr. Robot” is critically acclaimed and has even garnered a few “best show on television” accolades since it premiered online in May. The show follows Elliot Allderson (Rami Malek), a vigilante hacker that works for an internet security firm and dreams of somehow saving the world from the all-powerful Big Brother-ish E Corp (which Elliot calls “Evil Corp”) and its means of control — money. Elliot is recruited by fsociety, a hacktivist group led by Mr. Robot (played by Christian Slater) intent on bringing E Corp down. Somewhat dark and dystopian, the show’s perspective is man versus man and machine with only the slimmest chances that Elliot, his friends, and mankind will escape becoming slaves to an electronic/financial new world order. Elliot, who narrates the action while suffering from near-debilitating social anxiety disorder and clinical depression, is nothing if not the embodiment of desperation, qualified hope, and perseverance.
“Mr. Robot” will conclude its season on Wednesday, September 2, at its regular air time, 10 p.m. The show was granted a second season before its official television premiere on June 24. As mentioned, the pilot debuted online. It received such positive feedback, not to mention over 3 million views, that USA Network announced, according to TVGuide.com, before the first show that they had “confidence in the series, and we’re excited to see where this timely drama will take us for season two.”
The decision to postpone the season finale of “Mr. Robot” isn’t the first time a television show was not aired due to actual events corresponding to content within the show itself. As pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter, the Season 3 finale of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was not broadcast until two months after it’s scheduled air date. The episode featured a school shooting and was postponed due to its proximity to the April 1999 Columbine massacre.