tue 11/08/2020

Scandal, More4 | reviews, news & interviews

Scandal, More4

Scandal, More4

Dealing with the dirty laundry for Washington's power-brokers

Crisis? What crisis? Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope (left), with Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield) and Harrison Wright (Columbus Short)

You've got a political scandal, so who ya gonna call? It had better be Olivia Pope, whose company Pope & Associates specialises in protecting the image and interest of the power-elite, frequently (though not exclusively) within the Washington DC Beltway.

Olivia (a crisp, crunchy and aerodynamically power-dressed Kerry Washington) has serious crisis management credentials, having been Communications Director at the White House. Indeed, her connections reach right to the top, since she's also the ex-lover of President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn). In fact not all that ex, since the Prez is still fixated on her and has declared that he'd leave his wife for her if she'd have him.

Anyway, this series is fun. It boasts some nifty political smarts, doubtless due to co-production assistance from Judy Smith, former press aide to George Bush Snr, and doesn't go the West Wing route of standing around and getting all holy and sanctimonious about its elevated liberal values. Instead it mixes zippy plotting and colourful characters with a whiff of covert-ops murk and hints of hi-tech science fiction. If there's stuff to be fixed, Olivia & co will get the job done, but you'd better not ask too many questions.

Their biggest problem in this series two opener was the extraordinary case of Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes, pictured above), on trial for murdering seven people, including her ex-boyfriend, with a mail bomb. She denies this emphatically. Thickening the plot somewhat was the fact that Ms Perkins used to be Lindsay Dwyer, but claims that following the bomb outrage she was kidnapped, drugged, and woke up in a Washington hotel room surrounded by all the accoutrements of her new identity, Quinn Perkins.

This is the kind of thing you'd expect in Alias or The X-Files, and it gives Scandal an edge of the unexpected. To emphasise the point, one of Olivia's trusty lieutenants is Huck the hacker (Guillermo Diaz), a former CIA killer and a whizz with computers. And the closing scene tipped us off that the source of Lindsay Dwyer's new identity is no mystery to Huck and Olivia.

It's not all darkness and dread, though. There was a mirthsome secondary plot about Congressman Shaw ("from the great state of Rhode Island"), who discovered he'd been covertly filmed getting his leg over on the desk in his office. Bloggers had acquired the footage and were planning to "go viral", but Olivia masterminded a counter-attack in which the Congressman leaked the tape himself and used the splurge of media attention to sell his favourite political messages.

Meanwhile in the White House, President Grant was having difficulties with Mellie, the First Lady (Bellamy Young, pictured left with Tony Goldwyn). She's about to give birth, and recognises that this gives her some leverage in their relationship. "This baby is our patriotic duty," she informed her husband. "This baby was conceived in service to our country. This is America's baby."

However, when she tried to use a network TV interview to pre-empt the President's foreign policy, he felt forced to draw a line across the doorway of the Oval Office. "You're the First Lady," he roared. "Your job is to plant gardens and decorate rooms and let them blog about your clothes. You're ornamental, not functional." That's realpolitik, honey.

If there's stuff to be fixed, Olivia & co will get the job done, but you'd better not ask too many questions

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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