Scandal is an American political thriller television series which stars Kerry Washington as the badass ‘fixer’ Olivia Pope. Created by Shonda Rhimes, the show takes place in Washington D.C following Olivia, her Associates, her clients and the staff of the White House as they cover up many scandals all the while kicking the asses of behind the scenes enemies.
“I've been reading about you. For a screw up you're actually very bright.”
I like legal dramas; however, some are better written and better acted than others. Some require a low level suspension of disbelief at times for the sake of the story – but then, with only a bit of luck and effort, only for the story well told. Going into Scandal you’re introduced to the characters as a team of unique individuals and they interact in a way that gives the impression that they have been working together for a long time. What I imagine the directors of the pilot were aiming for, is having you impressed and intrigued by the dangerous and cool characters, and sympathetic to the… well… sympathetic characters.
I got that at first. The story lines of Sandal aren’t boring, they are definitely interesting. However, the concept of an independent organisation who gets rid of rich people’s problems is a bit silly. It’s easier to understand that the real life possibility is that the CIA or other hidden government group would do it instead.
Olivia Pope is a strong female lead commanding her team and Kerry plays her brilliantly. This is truly one of those shows that is simply a guilty pleasure, where you get sucked in and just keep watching. The chemistry between Olivia and the President, Fitz, is a good reason to watch. But as the show carries on their on again off again relationship is predictable and patterned to parts of the seasons. Will Olivia be outed as the mistress? Yes. Will she cover it up again or leave the president again? Yes.
What I’m trying to say is that the first two seasons are fabulous. The individual members of Olivia Pope and Associates are fascinating, whose backstories are told at a good pace and with interesting story arches. The show also increased my levels of sass, and paranoia about the American government, which is half good and half bad? But it also brought to life the stresses of what I would like to think being the President brings. Yes, the power you have is great, the surface looks glorious but the show explores what having that power can do to you, what having the command of going to war and letting people die for you does to a person. On that front, the show is expertly done. You get a good satisfaction when the bad guy goes down too.
“You’re right, not all fairytales have a happy ending, but evil queens? They tend to go down.”
But from there it goes down. I’m sorry to say that. Season Three brings with the love triangle between the President, Olivia and Jake Ballard. At first it’s tasteful, something different to the normal pattern. But then, as love triangles go, it becomes a tug of war to win Olivia’s affections, with Olivia going back and forth between the two. The fight against the bigger enemy becomes a battle they can never actually win, even when they think that they have. The good guys turn bad guys in the excuse of doing good. Olivia becomes weak and indecisive. That is the saddest point of all, really.
Although I have to say that my favourite episode is amongst the wreckage of the later seasons. Episode ten of season four is so climatic and jaw dropping and on your seat begging no don’t do that. It’s kind of ironic that that episode is so good when Olivia’s life is put at risk.
Overall, this is a good show but it’s let down by poor writing after season two of the five seasons. Beating the bad guys seems so good and so right for the first few seasons and then it just collapses into something that you drag through just to hope that it gets better. Out of the worst seasons, season five is the best which just proves that you have to get to the end to have total satisfaction of a show well watched.
“Fitz: You do not yell at me in this office.
Susan: Where do I yell at you? Take me to the place where I yell at you. I want to go there because I am not done.”