ABC's "Scandal" intrigued me from its very first showing last year. It's a show about everything that piques my interest: politics, celebrity, murder mysteries, and character intrigue.
Olivia Pope is the show's protagonist. Pope is played by Kerry Washington. Truthfully I think Washington to be one of the show's weakest characters.
Which is a bit ironic in that the show does revolve around Pope, a character who once worked the White House publicity beat and who eventually left to build her own public relations practice. Pope is also intimately involved with the President of the U.S., having had an affair with him and now moving on to build her own life.
Only it don't quite work out that way.
It could be the script writers who do Kerry Washington no justice. For so many of her scenes involve Olivia Pope ranting on about some topic or another, her toothy mouth moving to distraction as she launches into a narrative that is entirely too long for the drama then upon.
Pope's office is staffed with a bunch of strange characters, to no one's surprise. She has hackers and lawyers and public relations experts and one very mysterious office staff named Quinn.
It would seem that the background and history of this Quinn is going to be an ongoing subplot of this series. Already Quinn's been marked as a former radical bomb-thrower, responsible for tossing bombs that killed innocents. Her story, a strange one indeed, is that one day she woke up in a DC hotel. On her bed stand were all the documents she'd need to move on to a whole new identity. Somehow Quinn wiggled out from under her murder charges. The viewer knows that Olivia and her hacker employee known as Huck were the ones responsible for giving Quinn her new identity.
The viewer doesn't quite know why this is so but the script obviously shows a flashback in time, a cautious Huck checking in on the awaking Quinn, noting her discovery of the identity documents, then checking in with Olivia that all was well, that Quinn took the bait and was off to her new life.
Seems to me there's an entire series based around this sort of thing, a mysterious sub-plot suppose to lure the viewer in to ascertain what happened in the past to cause the drama in the present. It's called "Revenge" and it was eschewed by me for this very reason. I find that shows like this require a dedication to viewing that I'm not willing to commit to.
However, "Scandal" has elements to the plot that pull me in. First there's the political junkee inside of me. I do quite enjoy the view of casual life in the White House, the undercurrent of the political scene. It becomes better as Olivia Pope is a well known in the inner White House scene and she's an expert on public relations.
Not all of Pope's clients are innocent of whatever indiscretion, criminal or just embarrassing, for which they are charged. There've been congress critters caught naked and making on his desk. He did it. Somebody got it on tape. Olivia Pope and Associates defused the situation and handled it very well for public consumption.
I am fascinated by a culture in which whoever disguises the naked truth best…..WINS!
That's what "Scandal" is all about, who can pretty up an ugly or unattractive truth the best.
Grant's Chief-of-Staff is a mainstay, a homosexual trying to keep his life partner happy while keeping speculation at bay as regards his sexuality in what is portrayed as a Republican administration.
It's as if the producers wanted to make Olivia Pope's character into something wild, wonderful and unique only she comes off as being a well-dressed speech writer.
I'd give "Scandal" a B+ as an over-all score in terms of storyline and acting. I'd caution that it's a show that might appeal to only those crazy enough to actually enjoy a show about politics.
"Scandal" airs on ABC, thursdays, at 10 pm.
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