Production Update: “Scandal” & the Gladiators say its a wrap

ABC’s Scandal sendoff with Kerry Washington. (photos courtesy of ABC)

Scandal is over. The Gladiators have left the building. And audiences craving a guilty pleasure will have to search elsewhere.

Tonight, Thursday, April 19, the hit ABC series Scandal had a great sendoff and ended its phenomenal run after seven seasons. It has been a guilty pleasure for its loyal fans who call themselves “gladiators” because they see themselves as Olivia Pope’s “gladiators in suits” who eat, sleep and breathe crisis, ready to fix any problem that cross their path.

For seven seasons the political thriller has centered around Olivia Pope (played by the fabulous Kerry Washington) a celebrated professional “fixer” who does damage control for the rich and powerful. Over the course of the series viewers have seen Olivia and her team of gladiators taking on every shocking crisis that could possibly envelope the White House. That has had her at the center of many affairs which has damaged her own personal life.

Scandal was created by TV production powerhouse Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder). There was never any thought that the crazy fictional stories that happen in and around the presidency within the Scandal storytelling could ever be outdone by the real life White House.

Rhimes reported, “I happen to believe this show was never about crazy things happening to the characters. It’s really about where they’ve come to. After all this time, you’ve watched them descend from any moral high ground that they could have possibly had, to kind of the lowest depths. And now they’re sort of having a chance to either climb out or not. And that’s worth watching.”

It’s hard to describe all the madness that’s gone on in the fictional White House over the past seven seasons. But it finally comes to a climax when all is revealed with the series finale. It continued to follow the Vice President Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) and his own “fixer” Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) and their mission to take over the White House. After a passionate reunion with former President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), the drama reached a new level of deceit when Olivia is called to testify against President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young). The gladiator-fans were dying to know if Olivia Pope would finally tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Bellamy Young and Kerry Washington in Scandal.

The exceptional cast also included Guillermo Diaz as Huck, Darby Stanchfield as Abby Whelan, Katie Lowes as Quinn Perkins, Joshua Malina as David Rosen, Joe Morton as Rowan Pope, Cornelius Smith Jr. as Marcus Walker and George Newbern as Charlie.

Thinking about what’s going on politically in the world nowadays, Bellamy Young, who plays the role of the former First Lady who ran and won the Presidency, reported that she’s had conversations with a lot of her friends about what is the purpose of the TV show? Bellamy posed the question, “Are we sitting down to escape? Are we sitting down to be informed? Are we sitting down to motivate ourselves?”

Kerry Washington said during the course of filming Scandal she and her castmates have been surprised by the evolution of their characters. Kerry explained, “There’s been a lot of table reads where you read something that shocks you about yourself and you stare at Shonda and ask ‘Am I really bad? Is this going to change two episodes later?’ We are always learning. We are always having revelations about ourselves.”

Kerry added, “All of us are really lucky. We have been gifted with this immense journey and transformation. You have the challenge of holding on to the core of who the character is while still evolving. It’s also been fun, because when I first started playing Olivia, I thought about us as very much the same person, and our lives have become more and more different through the seasons.” Thank goodness!

 


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 35 years.

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