Aired on: ABC
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I first saw previews for the new ABC television drama, Scandal, I was not exactly enthused. I thought it was just another law firm show and I really wasn’t interested. But then I saw more and more previews and heard that the series was created by Shonda Rhimes. Having become a great fan of Rhimes’ work on Grey’s Anatomy, I decided to check out the series premiere of Scandal when it aired on April 5, 2012 at 10pm EST.
The series begins with a fresh lawyer’s unconventional hire by the firm of Olivia Pope and Associates and her rapid-fire introduction as to what that firm actually does. Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) is not exactly sure what she’s gotten herself into when she is brought into the firm’s office and introduced to owner Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). A former White House communications director for the President (Tony Goldwyn), Olivia Pope left the White House to open her own crisis management firm. As she explains to Quinn, her firm is there to help client’s make their high-profile problems go away without having to fight for them in messy court battles.
The firm’s staff includes litigator Harrison Wright (Columbus Short), investigator Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), hacker Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and womanizer Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cusick). Quinn’s first day at the firm is overwhelming and in no time she is involved in two cases. First, a decorated war hero and Republican spokesperson comes to the firm for help after leaving the scene of his fiancée’s murder. Then, Quinn becomes involved in Olivia’s private case personally given to her by the President of the United States. Apparently, Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil), an aide to the President, is about to set off a Monica Lewinski-type scandal, claiming to have had an affair with the President. The President is denying this affair and wants Olivia’s help in making Amanda and her accusations go away.
As the debut episode unfolds, we learn that Olivia Pope was once romantically involved with the President. We also learn that the members of Pope’s staff are all people like her, in need of some kind of saving. Whether it is from their own self-destructive natures or their feelings of uselessness, Olivia has offered them an opportunity to thrive by helping others and making a difference.
The first episode of Scandal was intriguing. Enough about the characters was revealed to give you some idea of who they are, while leaving enough tantalizing mystery to keep you coming back to learn more. The kind of “fixing” the firm performs may leave an unsavory taste in the mouths of some, but this sort of firm is a reality in life, especially within the political arena of Washington, D.C. Scandals are everywhere and won’t go away quietly without the aide of such a firm’s experts.
Thus far, the show is realistic and enticing and I can see some definite potential here. Shonda Rhimes has won me over yet again. The show’s writing is edgy and the characters likeable. The drama has just enough edge to it without going overboard and making the show unrealistic. This series idea is something refreshingly new - I can’t remember another series like it on mainstream television. I can’t wait to catch another episode of Scandal next Thursday.