Review: ABC’s ‘Scandal’

06 Apr

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope (Photo Credit: ABC/CRAIG SJODIN)

Shonda Rhimes’ new ABC drama Scandal is a juicy, fast-paced addition to Thursday nights. Kerry Washington ably anchors the show—a creation that is one of a handful of shows since Dihann Carroll’s Julia was on the air in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, that a black woman has been the lead on a network series. (The other shows are NBC’s Undercovers starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and arguably–though it’s more of an ensemble cast–Southland with Regina King before it jumped to TNT after only a few episodes. )

Washington stars as Olivia Pope, a highly accomplished, respected and impeccably dressed “fixer” for Washington DC’s elite crowd.  Olivia’s character is inspired by Judy Smith, co-executive producer of the show and a woman who has represented big names in even bigger scandals in the past 20 years, including Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick and BP after the oil spill in the Gulf.

Scandal’s first episode alone touches on everything from kidnapping to murder to a presidential affair or two.  Lawyers by trade, Olivia and her crew are not so much a law firm as they are a rouge group of problem solvers who do pretty much anything to make their clients’ problems disappear.

Harrison Wright, played beautifully by Columbus Short, introduces the viewers and new Pope associate Quinn Rielly (Katie Lowes) to Olivia’s shop with a mouthful of zingy one-liners. It’s refreshing to have “I’m a gladiator in a suit” as the line of the moment as opposed to “You ain’t about this life,” “You’re a non-mothaf*@kin’ factor” or the other jewels of wisdom we get from the “wives” reality shows.

The entire episode moves at a break-neck pace that West Wing fans will appreciate. The clipped, casual but methodic dialogue and actions thrust viewers into the Olivia Pope world.  A glance, a smile or a gesture are all we need to get information on who’s slept with whom, who’d like to sleep with whom and who has dark secrets yet to be revealed.

When President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) stands a tad too close to Olivia while discussing a potential scandal (hee hee) and he says “You know I’m only in love with one woman,” you get the sneaking suspicion that he’s not talking about his wife.  Fast forward a few scenes and turns out your gut is right.

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope who is about to do a very bad thing. (Photo Credit: ABC/DANNY FELD)

Eyes brimming with tears, Olivia mutters out “Sweet baby?’ in the middle of the oval office, hurt and confused by the president’s affair with a young aide.  All this time she thought “sweet baby” was a special nickname the married president had reserved just for her back when they still had a thing. Apparently, Olivia is the one who walked away from the affair.

That doesn’t stop a long passionate kiss from happening though, maybe or maybe not in view of the oval office cameras, but definitely in front of presidential confidante Cyrus (Jeff Perry).

And there lies what might become an issue for certain sections of the blogosphere. President Grant and his wife are white. Olivia is black.  Undoubtedly some will do a devastated wall-slide  that Olivia is not with a black man and is instead forced to be da man’s side piece. Whatevs. This affair seems less about race than it is about two people who had (have?) a lack of respect for marriage vows.  Sometimes race, even in an interracial relationship, is not the issue folks.  Could Rhimes and crew have paired Olivia off in a stable, drama-free relationship? Sure, but this is a drama, so what better place to put moral indiscretion than at the center of the main character’s love life?

The first episode tied some neat-ish bows on the ends of a couple storylines, but not in an intelligence insulting, Scooby-Doo sort of way. Looks as if Olivia’s cases will mostly be handled in the span of 60 minutes, but her secret-filled personal life will unfold each week, as will the backstories of her staff.

Overall, I was impressed with the show and I look forward to the character development and maybe even some exciting Law and Order-esque cameos from  well-known actors.

Will you be tuning in? What did you think of the first episode?

Oh and if you missed the first episode you can watch it here.


Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Entertainment, TV


Tags: , , , , , , ,

8 responses to “Review: ABC’s ‘Scandal’

  1. Cherish Samuels (@cherishthegeek)

    April 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I’m sold!! You are gonna have me watching this!

  2. loveisdope

    April 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Yay! LOL I hope it does well in the ratings. Networks are notorious for not giving shows a real chance.

  3. Sibrina

    April 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Love this review baby girl!

  4. Authentelli-Gent

    April 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    If you liked it, I know I’ll like… Will be checking it out…

  5. Orville

    April 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I was shocked when olivia and president Grant kissed. I thought this scene showed Olivia is not perfect and even she is flawed.President Grant and Olivia have serious chemistry. Shonda Rhimes once again has a potentially serious love story here. I think in America race matters so I think the interracial issue should not be ignored.

  6. Deeanna Franklin

    April 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I loved the show. I saw the second episode on Hulu. Olivia and the President have wonderful chemistry. He is clearly her weak link, while his longing for her is sweet and romantic. Keeping it steamy, oh yeah – and this is from someone who is not a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice. As a black woman married for 10 years to a white man, I love seeing interracial relationships in prime time. And I’m also a fan of shows that use a rapid-fire delivery of dialogue; it keeps things moving, sure, but it also shows a certain agility with the English language that warms this English major’s heart.

  7. V. Marc Fort

    April 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I’m mo check out this show thanks to your review.

    I dig your blog. I got here after Googling “Slash” and “black”, cause I didn’t know he was until today! What a lovely surprise!!!!

  8. loveisdope

    May 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I’m 80,000 years late, but thank you so much for the comments everyone! I’m still digging the show. I can’t believe the finale is already upon us! Good thing though is that it has been picked up for a second season. 😉


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