Ex­pect con­tro­versy when Scan­dal re­turns, says Kerry Wash­ing­ton

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By COLIN VICK­ERY

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.”



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