It’s been no secret that a few of last year’s freshman television series swept me off my feet… particularly, American Horror Story, Person of Interest, and Revenge. Today, I’m adding a fourth program to this list—Scandal.
ABC’s Scandal, now it its second season, takes the word “scandal” to an entirely different level.
The series stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director who is now operating her very own private crisis management firm. The character of Olivia is not completely fictional… she is loosely based on Judy Smith, one of President George H. W. Bush’s former press aides. In return, Ms. Smith serves the Shonda Rhimes’ production as a consultant and co-executive producer.
But, back to the show…
So, what makes Scandal so scandalous?
Well, first there’s Olivia…
Olivia Pope can “fix” any problem, except maybe for her ongoing love affair with the President of the United States (President Fitzgerald Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn). Everyone inside the President’s circle, including his wife (First Lady Mellie Grant, played by Bellamy Young), his Chief of Staff (Cyrus, played by Jeff Perry), and his entire Secret Service staff, knows about Olivia and President Grant.
The mere fact that Olivia and the President share a romantic link is scandalous, but it’s not the most shocking twist to the story. So, what makes this love affair even more outrageous and fun? That would be the relationship shared between the First Lady and the President’s mistress.
Olivia’s and Mellie’s ability to work together and manipulate the President into doing exactly what they want makes for some of the best chemistry on the show… despite the fact the two women really don’t like each other. These two, especially when realizing one can benefit from the other, are very scandalous!
Oh, and I should mention that Ms. Washington has stated in television interviews that Judy Smith did NOT have an affair with President Bush. The writers and creators use Ms. Smith’s professional expertise to tell their stories… not her personal life. Scandal is fictional television.
So, what else makes Scandal so scandalous?
Not only is Olivia keeping secrets, so is her team.
To complete her firm, Olivia hires a very qualified staff; a staff that successfully fixes the firm’s client’s problems, but that also brings their very own issues to the table: Columbus Short plays Harrison, a lawyer who Olivia helped escape serious jail-time for insider trading while he worked for a very corrupt man; the fabulous Guillermo Diaz plays Huck, the group’s computer expert who is haunted by his past… a past where he worked as a contract killer for the C.I.A.; Darby Stanchfield plays Abby, the team’s investigator and a survivor from an abusive ex who also happens to be from a very well “connected” family; and Katie Lowes plays Quinn (formerly Lindsey), a lawyer who Olivia helped beat a bombing charge that labeled her a domestic terrorist in the eyes of many Americans.
See? Even Olivia’s team’s backgrounds are sordid…
So, what else makes Scandal so scandalous?
Characters can only interest viewers to a certain point; the rest is left up to the writers…
To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the name Shonda Rhimes until my Wednesday blogging partner, Amber West, reviewed Scandal last year. As much TV as I watch, my regular viewing schedule does not include Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice, two of Ms. Rhimes’ most popular creations to date. But, now, I know who Ms. Rhimes is and what she is capable of.
I don’t want to give too much away about Scandal’s scandalous plot, but I do want to say that each and every episode draws me in, holds me in tight so that I don’t miss a word, and leaves me with my mouth gaping open in awe at the end. The series is classified as a procedural in that each week Olivia and her team take on a new client and help “make their problems go away.” But, Scandal can also be classified as a serial drama, or a nighttime soap opera, with an ongoing story that keeps getting better and even more scandalous with each passing week.
Scandal has drama; it has politics; it has love; and it has A LOT of scandalous twists and turns….
Oh, and before I go, I have to mention Josh Malina and his portrayal of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Rosen. Rosen and Olivia have a love/hate relationship… they respect each other’s brilliance, but disagree with each other’s antics. Before Scandal, I didn’t even know Mr. Malina’s name (although I do remember him from his guest appearance on Psych a few years ago). However, today, I know him (his name, we’ve never met beyond sharing words on Twitter). I applaud the writers for giving Rosen what appears to be a larger part in season two AND I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us as it pertains to his investigation into Olivia and his recent romance with Abby!
There it is again… more scandal for Scandal!
In case anyone is having difficulty understanding the underlying message I am trying to portray in this blog post, it is that Scandal is very scandalous AND definitely worthy of a watch!
What do you think? Do you watch Scandal? Who’s your favorite character (mine is Huck!)? I’d love to hear from you!