Scandal – Sweet Baby

by Alan Rapp on April 7, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Scandal – Sweet Baby
  • tv.com: link

scandal-sweet-baby

In the latest drama from Shonda Rhimes (creator of Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy), Kerry Washington stars as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director turned professional fixer called in by those who can afford to make their problems go away before they can become full-blown disasters.

Oliva’s team consists of the womanizing Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cusick) trying his best to be monogamous, lawyer Harrison Wright (Columbus Short), the firm’s investigator Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), and former CIA hacker Huck (Guillermo Díaz).

The first episode opens with Olivia Pope and Associates hiring a young lawyer, Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), for their crisis management firm. Quinn is put to use immediately when a White House intern (Liza Weil) accuses the President of the United States of having an affair and a decorated Iraqi war hero (Wes Brown) in bloody clothing wanted for the murder of his girlfriend shows up at the offices asking for help in proving his innocence.

As the rest of the team scrounges for data on the murder, Olivia travels to Camp David to meet with the President (Tony Goldwyn) who wants very much for Olivia to help him make this matter with a young intern go away as quickly, and quietly, as possible.

Investigations into both cases provide some startling results. Olivia can prove the solider innocent but only by exposing a secret that would end his career, and after learning she scared the young intern enough to try and commit suicide Olivia has to take a new look at the case and a hard look at her own relationship with her former boss.

I enjoyed the first episode and liked the cast of characters, particularly Olivia who Rhimes modeled from H.W. Bush administration press aide Judy Smith. I’ve been a fan of Washington for a long time and it’s nice to see her get a character as complex as Olivia who she can really sink her teeth into. I’d also like to get to know the supporting cast a little better, and certainly wouldn’t say no to a little larger role for Joshua Malina as D.C.’s District Attorney.

scandal-sweet-baby

However, I’m very on the fence about the late reveal of Olivia’s relationship with the President which could very easily overwhelm the far more interesting weekly procedural aspects of the show, not to mention the other characters, especially given Olivia’s discussion with the President’s Chief of Staff (Jeff Perry) to end the first episode.

For a first episode, it’s not really a traditional pilot, “Sweet Baby” is well-paces and smoothly produced. At times the dialogue feels a little too rehearsed, and they could certainly tune down the Olivia as Superwoman message a couple of clicks on the dial. But as long as the bigger story, looming so large after this first episode, doesn’t overshadow everything else too quickly, and the show and characters are given time to breathe, Scandal might turn out to be a pretty darn good mid-season replacement.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: