'Scandal': Why You Should Watch the Show that Keeps You Guessing
'Scandal': Why You Should Watch the Show that Keeps You Guessing
Esther Gim
Esther Gim
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes first tackled the world of nurses, doctors and interns with fast dialogues, sharp tongues and, oh, the sex. She's brought those familiar characteristics into a new world -- that of Washington and the political power, lies and deceit that come with it -- in Scandal, which returns at 10pm tonight on ABC.

Have you caught the Scandal fever yet?

Strong Female Lead -- But is She Good or Bad?

Meet Olivia Pope. She's known as the best "fixer" in Washington. Her crisis management team takes on high-profile clients and makes their problems go away. She's tough, smart and will do anything for you if she's on your side. I'm also insanely jealous of her wardrobe.

But there's just one problem. She has a weakness. And that weakness is in the form of the president of the United States.

The way the character of Olivia Pope has been revealed has been interesting. It's not necessarily character development, since she's been this person all along. It's more like the layers of her true self are slowly being peeled off. And what I'm seeing -- I can't say that I exactly like it, which leaves me conflicted on what I think about this main character. First, she is having/has had an affair with the president. But more ruthlessly, she was part of a team that fixed the election and was also responsible for a bombing. Not exactly the type of character you want to root for.

The Supporting Cast

On Scandal, there are the political players and Olivia's people. It's those in the White House who steal the show.

There's the president: I'm sure he's a very busy man who does his job well. But most of his day is consumed by his thoughts of Olivia. It's hard not to like him when he and Olivia have sizzling chemistry but hello, you're the president! He did put his foot down with Olivia in the winter finale, telling her they can't see each other. This is huge because it's always been Olivia who said they couldn't.

The first lady: It appears she has everything together in front of the cameras and to the public. But inside the White House and with her husband, she's cold and manipulative. She's solely in her marriage for the benefit it will have on her own political career once she's out of the White House.

In fact, she even knew about her husband's affair and pretty much told him to keep seeing her (at first). For now, she has no problem making it seem like she's living the perfect life.

Cyrus, the White House's chief of staff, will do just about anything for what he believes is for the good of the country -- even hire someone to murder the former aide who claimed she was carrying the president's baby (she wasn't).

While those three are the most compelling characters, I can't forget other standouts like Huck, the former CIA agent being framed for the assassination attempt of the president (yeah, that happened), David, the assistant district attorney who's making it his mission to uncover the truth (about what, he's not exactly sure, he just knows something isn't right) and James, Cyrus' reporter husband who's basically working with David.

The Storytelling

Scandal does the difficult job of weaving flashbacks with the present. But it's pretty much necessary with so much going on. The show is set in the present, but the backstories fill the necessary holes and questions to how the they got to where they are now.

Plus, we get to indulge in the president's romance with Olivia. Back then, it was much happier times between the two. Now, not so much. I've noticed that the way to tell right away whether a scene is from the past is either Olivia is smiling or she has bangs. Otherwise, you might be confused for a moment.

No Shortage of Twists and Drama

The shooting of the president came out of nowhere. And Huck was in the hotel room where the gun was fired. He didn't do it, but is being framed for it. How is Olivia going to help him out of that mess?

Also, James has the evidence to show the election was rigged. He's putting on an innocent face in front of his husband. This helps his cause of being able to adopt a baby, since Cyrus gets clued in that James has been sniffing around in the city where the malfunctioning ballot machines were located.

What else?

There's the whole Quinn Perkins story, the lawyer hired in the pilot episode by Olivia who we find out is living her life under an alias. She was on trial for the bombing that killed her boyfriend and his co-workers, but Olivia made that go away. We learn that a group of people -- including Olivia, the first lady, Cyrus and more -- are part of this crazy group that's been doing crazy things like that.

On top of everything, there are the stories of the people being managed by Pope & Associates.

Whew. Sometimes, it's difficult to keep up with all the plot twists, but well worth it. It's one of the best guilty pleasures on television.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)