Shonda Rhimes: Scandal's Fierce Fixer Has an Achilles Heel – The President of the United States

Derek, Sam, Jake and the like are dashing and all, but for Olivia Pope, the masterful spin doctor at the heart of Grey’s Anatomy/
Private Practice creator Shonda Rhimes‘ latest creation, ABC’s Scandal, “the one that got away” is no less than the leader of the free world.

“Her Achilles heel is the President of the United States. Honestly,” Rhimes tells TVLine.

TVLine Review: Who Doesn’t Like a Juicy Scandal?

Scandal stars Kerry Washington as the aforementioned Olivia Pope, a super-crafty, legally savvy crisis management expert who used to work her magic for the White House — namely, first-term POTUS Fitzgerald Grant (played by Ghost‘s Tony Goldwyn). Now she lords over Pope & Associates, a sextet of lawyers and investigators who perform damage control on behalf of the D.C. elite — hopefully for the right reasons.

In the premiere episode, airing Thursday at 10/9c, Olivia’s team — played by Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Columbus Short (Studio 60), Darby Stanchfield (NCIS), Guillermo Diaz (Weeds) and Katie Lowes — mobilizes to prove a military hero’s innocence in the grisly murder of a lady friend. But in the midst of juggling that political hot potato, Olivia is summoned by the president’s chief of staff (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Jeff Perry) to head off at the pass a White House intern poised to accuse Grant of you-know-what. And that assignment dredges up difficult memories for the otherwise formidable “fixer.”

“There are many, many things that I think she wishes she could do differently,” Rhimes says of Olivia’s predicament. “[The president] is basically the scandal in her closet.”

As Washington herself tells us, “Olivia is really complicated because … in her professional life, she’s so smart and so sophisticated and so powerful, but her personal life is a bit of a mess. I almost wish she could have her own Olivia Pope to manage her personal life!”

Scandal Casts Grey’s Anatomy Vet as Vice President of the United States

Escorting viewers into Olivia’s fast-paced, faster-talking world is Lowes’ character, newly hired, bright-eyed lawyer Quinn Perkins — a plucky lass not unlike, say, Meredith Grey. But don’t let the new girl’s green veneer fool you.

“Yes, in a lot of ways she’s an avenue to getting to know anybody, and in a lot of ways she’s a more mysterious character than that, as you will come to find,” Rhimes reveals. “I won’t say anything else, because I don’t want to ruin it for you.”

For Rhimes, Scandal‘s primetime debut in a way brings to fruition her original, years-ago plan to delve into the Washington, D.C. whirlwind via Inside the Box, a pilot about TV news reporters based out of the nation’s capital.

“I’m excited about it! I love the D.C. part if it, I love the characters, the cast is amazing together, and we had so much fun doing [the first season],” Rhimes effuses. “I hope we get to keep doing it.”

Comments (18)

  • Will check this out! hope it doesn’t disappoint

    Comment by B – April 5, 2012 06:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m not a big Kerry Washington fan, but I love Tony Goldwyn, so I’ll check it out.

    Comment by Lorie – April 5, 2012 07:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loathe Kerry Washington. Her facial expression are utterly distracting. I’m not sure I can even bring myself to give this one a chance

    Comment by Roxanne – April 5, 2012 07:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This looks awesome. I have heard great things about it and lets hope it lives up to the expectations.

    Comment by greysfan – April 5, 2012 07:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Same timeslot of The Mentalist? Hmm, will watch on Demand. ;)

    Comment by tahina – April 5, 2012 09:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I will give anything with Tony Goldwyn a chance. To me, he has always been one of Hollywood’s overlooked leading men. I have seen all of his movies. I even have The Rose Tattoo, a bit sketchy but one of the few if not the only where he is the love interest. Think I’ll wath it now! lol

    Comment by pylgrym – April 5, 2012 10:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Watch! Watch, girl. Don’t get too excited.

      Comment by pylgrym – April 5, 2012 10:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was curious about this show, but after I read this article I think I won’t watch it. Of course her personal life is a mess, and of course she has a romantic past with the president. Everything about this screams cliché. No matter what Shonda says, I think this is Grey’s sans hospital and doctors. Shonda can’t write male characters plausibly, and I don’t really like Kerry Washington.

    I’ll give it a season before it stops being about political scandals – just like Grey’s and Private Practice stopped being about medicine. Not that they ever were about medicine, but really, who remembers a medical case from an episode? Last time I watched it I didn’t even understood why the surgery they were doing was so badass, they barely talked about it.

    Comment by Juliana – April 5, 2012 10:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree completely with your comments. Could not have said it better.

      Comment by Meg – April 5, 2012 01:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Episode 1 was exciting!

    Comment by Gwendolyn Henderson, Ed.S. – April 5, 2012 08:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There’s a reason why Shondra Rhimes has mulitple shows on a leading network…Scandal is worth the watch.

    Comment by felecia – April 6, 2012 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Positive beautiful black sisters! I will gave Ms. Washington a try and she was on FIRE! No more bad misrepresentations with the so-called “….wives”, now those I loathe. The cast of Scandal was spectacular.

    Comment by brown sugar – April 6, 2012 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • love this show. first two episodes so good watched several times online.

    Comment by HouseObssessedAgain – April 8, 2012 09:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I see we have some Kerry Washington haters..Must not be as pretty as Kerry…so sorry for you…Kerry is BRILLIANT and AMAZING…Scandal is the new 24…if you don’t like Shonda’s shows…don’t watch! Trust me..we won’t miss you…Lol

    Comment by Kerry Fan – April 20, 2012 11:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Kerry Washington and I absolutely love the show, but what trueley amazes me is people post comment stating how much they dislike Kerry or the show, but yet the took the time to write a post. I would not take the time or energy to even comment on someone or something that did not matter to me, but to all of you with your negative comments no ones perfect we all have flaws, so look at yours instead of trying to point out every one eles’s flaws and fix you :-) .

    Comment by Nicole – April 27, 2012 01:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I started watching Scandal on demand because I heard Shonda Rhimes on the TJMS this morning. I’m glad I did. I love this show. Kerry Washington is an awesome actress. She makes the character Olivia Pope so believable!

    Comment by Phyllis Smith – May 3, 2012 11:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love it, its real juicy…it keeps on your toes….srj

    Comment by SRJ – May 13, 2012 10:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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