Confession: When I watched the first episode of Shonda Rhimes' new ABC series Scandal, I liked it. But it didn't blow me away. And then I got my hands on screeners for the rest of the season and two to three episodes in…Kaplewey! I. Was. In. Pieces.
This new drama series, about a professional scandal "fixer" Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), gets so dark, gritty, shocking and twisty, it reminds me of the best episodes of 24—coupled with the kind of romantic tension that makes you scream at your TV (I did).
I chatted with Shonda herself about what's ahead, and the most important thing she wants you to know is…
"It's not a procedural," Shonda explains. "It becomes a sort of very twisty, turny kind of mystery as time goes on. And that's the exciting part. The ball starts rolling down the hill and gets faster and faster as it goes on. And, the stakes are very high. The backdrop of the White House is fascinating to me because President Fitz [Tony Goldwyn] is literally the most powerful man in the country, even the world. And things start unraveling."
The President and Olivia have amazing chemistry, but I can't help thinking he is pure evil. After all, he [spoiler alert!] killed Patrick Swayze in Ghost! Is he good or evil?
Shonda Rhimes: He is complex. He is human. Just because you're everyone's hero doesn't mean that you don't have your own dark little secrets. Or that you aren't flawed. He was made to be president. He was meant to be great but there's a price that comes with that.
Olivia Pope seems so badass, so unflappable. Even stronger than some of your previous leading ladies. Will we see more vulnerability from her?
Olivia is emotionally more mature than a lot of my other leading ladies. I always think that the characters you create are born of the age you are in, and she's just a little bit older because I'm a little bit older. I think that she's fairly badass in what she does for a living. One of the things that I wanted this show to do was not dwell in their personal lives. You have flashes and you see certain things but really we are watching these people at work. [With] Olivia, the problem is that her personal life is creeping in.
Scandal seems more gritty and grown-up than Grey's Anatomy…
Grey's Anatomy, for all eight years I have said, is high school with scalpels and it's what I love about it. It's not like a super mature gritty show. And that's one of the things that's such a joy about it and allows Grey's to be really dark and funny and go to all those different places. Grey's is like a juicy novel, Scandal is a very very fast-paced song. There's much more of an adult feel to it.
What teases can you give for what's ahead?
At the end of the pilot, Olivia Pope says that Amanda Tanner [Liza Weil] has become her client. She has not exactly become her client and Olivia needs to make that come true. Amanda Tanner is a big storyline that will continue the rest of the season. I think we're going to be surprised by who Syrus is and what he has to offer to the situations. You should also keep your eye on Quinn [Katie Lowes] because she's not necessarily what she seems.
Be sure to check out the next episode of Scandal, next Thursday on ABC. Before you know it, you will be completely sucked in and counting the minutes til the next episode!
What did you think of the Scandal premiere tonight? Hit the comments!