Expect controversy when Scandal returns, says Kerry Washington
SCANDAL’S Olivia Pope has been through hell — and the same could be said for Aussie fans of the political drama produced by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s
Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder).
Scandal is a major hit in the US with a swag of awards behind it, but has a chequered history on Australian screens.
Formerly airing on the Seven Network, episodes would often be delayed for months on end. And 2014’s fourth season — which introduced a new character played by Portia DiRossi — never even made it to air. Luckily, Presto came to the rescue. The streaming service took note of the eagerness of local fans to keep up to date with the critically lauded series. And they recently inked a deal to stream all episodes of the show, including the fast-tracked fifth season which has already caused a storm of controversy Stateside.
Spoiler alert: stop reading now if you haven’t caught up on all the Scandal action.
During the season political fixer Olivia, played by Kerry Washington, finally looked set to find happiness with President Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn). And then things fell apart.
In the show’s mid-season finale, Olivia had an abortion and moved out of the White House.
“What happened at the end of the winter finale is a huge decision for her, and she’s a different woman because of it,” Washington said recently. End spoiler alert. Washington created history when she took on the role of Olivia in 2012 — the first dramatic lead played by a black woman on US network television since 1974 when Teresa Graves headed Get Christie Love!
By 2014, Time magazine had named Washington as one of their 100 Most Influential People in the World.
“In her role as Olivia Pope, Scandal’s unflappable political fixer, Kerry Washington has used her grace and vibrant magnetism to transcend age, race and gender, and to provide a new mainstream media lens through which to view modern womanhood and professional excellence,” Time said. But Washington says Olivia is no saint. “I’ve always thought that it was really misguided when women tell me that Olivia Pope is their role model, because she’s having an affair with a married man who is the President of the United States,” Washington says.
“There are things about her that are admirable. She is an entrepreneur. She is very smart. But she is nobody’s role model.
“One of the things that Shonda does … is that all of these characters are complicated. You have three-dimensional, messy human beings.
“I remember a young woman who wrote me a letter about how she — God bless her — could not get off the couch she was so devastated by the episode in season two when Olivia stole the election [electoral fraud to ensure Fitz’s victory].
“That was really the first time that Olivia became a bad guy on the show.
“But she was truly devastated. And she said to me in the letter that she was grateful because it forced her in her therapy sessions to talk about making room for people in her life to be complicated — allowing the people in her life to not have to be perfect.
“I think that’s what’s so powerful about this work. That’s why you’re shocked at the end of the Scandal pilot episode when you realise this powerful woman is sometimes weak.
“Nothing is perfect. People are real.”