SCANDAL: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Kerry Washington as OLIVIA POPE
Columbus Short as HARRISON WRIGHT
Darby Stanchfield as ABBY SHELAN
Katie Lowes as LINDSAY DWYER
Guillermo Diaz as HUCK
Tony Goldwyn as FITZGERALD THOMAS GRANT III
Jeff Perry as CYRUS RUTHERFORD BEENE
Bellamy Young as MELLIE GRANT
Studio: ABC Studios
Created by: Shonda Rimes
BY KEVIN CARR
I would imagine that Shonda Rimes treats the political world in “Scandal” much the same way she treats the medical profession in “Grey’s Anatomy,” and that is to say as a backdrop rather than a realistic portrayal of things. Personally, I haven’t worked in either politics or the medical profession, but I know people who do, and a lot of what goes on in Rimes’ shows seems to serve the story rather than those professions.
Still, I can’t knock the woman for having her finger on the pulse of a certain audience. And, at the very least, “Scandal” seems to be the least irritating of her shows I’ve watched (compared to “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice” and “Off the Map”).
Sure, it reeks of her Aaron Sorkin wannabe snappy dialogue and main characters that are hornier than a virgin on prom night, but at least “Scandal” hasn’t fallen completely into social engineering (though it starts to happen in this season) and a revolving door cast… yet.
“Scandal” tells the story of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), one of the best fixers in Washington. Her team of bright, young minds help solve problems in the political realm. Pope also has a history with the current President, Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III (Tony Goldwyn), both personally and professionally.
The second season of “Scandal” starts to overweave its web at times. There are massive complications in the Fitzgerald presidency, the least of which is an assassination attempt mid-season. This leads Pope to having difficulties in her love live, which eventually find their way into another conspiracy. Meanwhile, her team gets spotlights of their own, and not just fugitive Lindsay Dwyer (Katie Lowes). Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and his dark past is explored, as well as Abby (Darby Stanchfield) whose abusive past comes into play for various story arcs.
Oddly the most grounded of the Shonda Rimes shows, “Scandal” is at its best when it’s dealing with the title challenges. At times, the series plays as a procedural, in which the team is given a specific problem to fix. Other times, it plays to the grander story about Pope’s involvement in the Fitzgerald presidency and campaigns.
This may be because the show is still in its early seasons, but at least the overreaching storyline isn’t as forced as something like “Castle.” The one-off procedural episodes and background stories are interesting enough, and the cast is large enough to spread these around and not stagnate on a specific character. And while the scandals within scandals are getting wound a little tight, we’re not at the breaking point yet.
The season two DVD set includes episodes from the season, including an extended cut of the season finale. There’s also outtakes and deleted scenes throughout the season. There are two featurettes that give a look behind the curtain of the show, including “A Closer Look: President Grant’s Assassination Attempt” and “Being Huck,” which looks at the actor’s emotional journey in making his background episode “Seven Fifty-Two.”