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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

TV Rewind | Scandal: The juiciest political drama

Scandal follows Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope as she navigates her way through the world of politics whilst managing her love story with the President of the United States.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: December 20, 2020 9:56:41 am
tv rewind scandalScandal aired on ABC.

It is commonly said that before The West Wing, shows about politics didn’t really work on television. However, it is my personal belief that if Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes was making shows back in those days, political shows would have gained a huge following from the get-go.

What is Scandal all about?

Scandal, starring Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Joshua Malina, Bellamy Young and Joe Morton among others, started as a political drama where we follow Olivia Pope (Washington), who owns a crisis management firm in Washington DC. Her firm is like a one-stop-shop for rich people with heavy political connections who need legal advice, political favours and some help in the PR department.

While Scandal opened with the central premise of Olivia and her firm, it soon became a forbidden love story between Olivia and the President of the United States, who is married to someone else. The show charts Olivia’s transformation as she goes from being a ‘Gladiator’ with a ‘white hat’ to a person obsessed with power who has the ability to make two countries go to war, assassinate state leaders and even influence the killing of the President’s son. The show’s first season felt unrecognisable by the time we reached the third season as it had completely pivoted from its initial format.

What works for Scandal?

Scandal worked because of its soapy storyline that was presented in an over-the-top way. While the show dealt with several real-world problems like sexual harassment cases and voter fraud scandals, the outlandish presentation often took precedence over showcasing those problems.

The strangest story arc that is often remembered by fans of the show is Olivia being kidnapped by terrorists and Fitz Grant (Tony Goldwyn), the President of the US, trying to go to war with that country over his mistress’ kidnapping. But as bizarre as that plotline was, along with many others, Scandal worked because it was a little extra. The show wasn’t rooted in reality, and it made full use of the liberty granted by the world of television.

The juiciest bits of Scandal

Scandal wouldn’t have lasted so long had it not been for the on again-off again relationship between Olivia and Fitz. The forbidden love story and its effects on people around Olivia and Fitz held the show together.

The first two seasons of the show hinged on the secret that Olivia had actually conspired with Mellie and Cyrus to get Fitz into the White House, pulling off some major voter fraud. This particular storyline was enough to tell us that Olivia wasn’t all that noble as the show sometimes claimed her to be and in some ways, it foreshadowed her future avatar of the woman who never really wore the ‘white hat.’

As soon as Olivia’s father Rowan was introduced in Scandal, fans knew that the power he held in this universe was way more than POTUS. Rowan’s showdown with Fitz and his attempts to get close to his daughter often gave way to some of the best scenes of the show.

One of the biggest shockers of the show came when Olivia actually killed Andrew. By Season 5, we knew that Olivia was capable of getting some unimaginable things done. But witnessing her killing Andrew was the most shocking thing we had seen until then.

Another big moment of the show came when Cyrus, the Vice President of the United States, poisoned David, the Attorney General, and when the poison didn’t work fast enough, he actually smothered him. This particular act was quite unexpected, even by Scandal standards.

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Scandal, which lasted for seven seasons, is the perfect binge-worthy show that gets you invested in its characters who are all conspiring to win the game of power.

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