Even if it were not an election year, the Shonda Rhimes show Scandal — about a female Washington DC crisis management expert — would pique our interest. But throw in all the recent kerfluffles concerning the sex lives of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, as well as the fact that the main character is inspired by real-life catastrophe guru Judy Smith (a former George W. Bush administration aide), and we're in.
Kerry Washington will play Olivia Pope, a behind-the-scenes powerhouse, a female version of The Wolf in Pulp Fiction. She tells People: "When you can't go to a publicist, when you can't go to a lawyer, when you can't go to the cops, you come to us and we fix it." The show's drama will stem not just from the sticky situations, but from Pope's own issues: "Olivia is so full of contradictions," Washington says. "In her professional life she is always the smartest woman in the room. In her personal life she's a total mess."
It's worth noting that right now there are zero primetime dramas on television in which an African-American woman is the star. (Since 1974, there have only been two hour-long dramas with an African-American woman in the starring role: HawthoRNe and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.) But in the new issue of Essence, Kerry Washington says:
I think it's a really special time to be a woman of color in this business. The landscape of who has the power is changing. We are in more influential positions and are able to have a say in the stories that are told. I feel very lucky to be in the business now.
Bonus: She's not playing a maid. Anyway! Mark your calendars; Scandal premieres April 5.
Kerry Washington Stars in Shonda Rhimes's New Drama, Scandal
Kerry Washington to star in Shonda Rhimes' 'Scandal'
"I Think It's A Really Special Time To Be A Woman Of Color In This Business" – Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington Covers the March Issue of Essence