Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope
What could be a better title for Scandal? How about Fast-Talking Big Problem Fixers? Maybe not.
But ABC’s new drama, which premiered Thursday, follows the seriously fast-talking employees of a Washington D.C. crisis management firm with the legendary Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) at the helm.
In the premiere, “Sweet Baby,” viewers are introduced to Pope, a former White House communications director, through the eyes of new hire Quinn Perkins, who cuts her teeth on a pair of cases: a celebrated war hero’s girlfriend is found dead and a woman claims she’s having an affair with the president.
Armed with secrets, pizza and the skills of seasoned gumshoes, Pope’s team tries to clear the conservative soldier’s name, managing public opinion along the way. But when they discover a same-sex alibi that will spoil his reputation, Pope has a chance to do what’s right.
She’s also given the chance to do what’s wrong when she tries to intimidate the president’s alleged mistress into silence. Instead, the young woman tries to kill herself. When the woman uses a term of endearment that only the president would use, Pope realizes she’s not lying – he is. How did she know? Because he used the same term, “sweet baby,” with Pope when she was having an affair with the Commander in Chief. Surprise!
Like creator Shonda Rhimes’s other shows – Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice – there are secondary characters (Pope’s team of “gladiators in suits”) whose lives will provide plenty of subplots as the show’s inaugural season unfolds.
Washington plays Pope as a woman whose talent and brilliance are put to the best use possible but she seems conflicted at times about whether she’s a good guy or a bad guy. And Washington has a lot of subtle emotion just below the surface of her beautiful face.