By Anika Reed
A black female protagonist, an affair with the president, White House secrets and powerful players—all the ‘scandalous’ qualities of the show “Scandal” are back. Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope, a political ‘fixer’ in Washington D.C., and her gladiators in suits return to ABC for season three on Thursday, Oct. 3.
“I [started] watching because the first season was on Netflix and I could binge watch,” said Carly Spiewak, a sophomore business major who started watching the show partway through season two. “It was instantly addicting.”
However, the true scandalous nature of the show is not all about Pope’s on-again, off-again steamy romps with the president of the United States (Tony Goldwyn), even though that is what the ads for the show might lead viewers to believe.
The devil is in the details, and the details include a gay Republican chief of staff, a voting fraud plot and politicking to boot, among other twisted plotlines.
“It’s scandalous because some of the scenarios in the show seem realistic enough that they could happen in real life, and the public wouldn’t know because of people like Olivia Pope,” Spiewak said.
Washington is the first black female lead character of a network TV show since 1974, according to a Vanity Fair article. And although she is a black woman, the show focuses on her power and her job rather than her race.
“I kept watching because the location of the story was in D.C., and having Kerry Washington as an African American woman actress on TV was amazing,” said Shannon Clash, a junior journalism major.“Every time you watch it, it always ends with drama that has you wanting to learn more,” she said. “You become emotionally attached to every character and situation.”
Shonda Rhimes is the show’s creator, writer and director, as well as a black woman. Rhimes is also the head writer and executive producer for “Grey’s Anatomy.” Her race plays a role because she is an anomaly as a woman of color in such high-powered positions that are usually filled by white men.
Rhimes’ writing brings an added level of complexity to the network television show. The dialogue and its deliverance are fast-paced with quick and smart jabs.
“…[B]y giving audiences what they want, and then giving them so much more than they ever expected, ‘Scandal’ is the show those looking toward the future of television should be aiming to actually produce, regardless of the medium in which it is viewed,” said A.V. Club’s Ryan McGee.
For now, but not for long, viewers must anxiously await the return of the salacious and shocking—yet smart—show to pick up where the cliffhanger of season two left off.