DVD Review: Scandal (The Complete First Season)

Does it really matter if you’re innocent or guilty anymore? What matters is creating a media image of being innocent and being victimized by dishonest cable news hosts. Working the media just right is an artform in Washington, D.C. People pay dearly for a consultant that can shave the truth or expose the lies of others. Scandal takes us into the belly of such an operation that makes the worst secrets vanish. Olivia Pope (Django Unchained‘s Kerry Washington) runs an elite crisis management team. She’s super connected around town after her stint at the White House. The show is also super connected since it’s from Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice). Scandal: The Complete First Season contains its short freshman run.

“Sweet Baby” makes Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) think she’s on a blind date with Harrison Wright (Columbus Short). Turns out he’s not there to hook up, but hire her for Olivia Pope’s team. She’s unsure of the offer. He describes their work as gladiators in business suits. She joins up and quickly learns the difference between being a lawyer and working for Olivia. Perkins’ first case involves a Medal of Honor winner that might be a killer. While evidence points toward guilt, Olivia’s gut says he’s innocent. The gut feeling overrules initial evidence in her office. There’s also the start of Pope’s biggest work: discovering if the president (Tony Goldwyn) has knocked up an intern. This becomes a storyline run through out the short season. Pope’s team also includes Stephen Finch (Lost‘s Henry Ian Cusick) and hacker Huck (Weeds‘ Guillermo Diaz), but her biggest asset is her gut. She won’t take on a client if her gut makes her sense like they’re lying to her. “Dirty Little Secret” makes the crew deal with a D.C. madame. Is her little black book resemble the Congressional Record?

“Enemy of the State” questions Pope’s history as they further investigate if the president is the Singer in Chief. She’s also forced to help a dictator locate his kidnapped family. “Crash and Burn” examines a pilot that didn’t last minute save his airplane. “The Trail” and “Grant: For the People” gets into the nasty presidential race that just might getting nastier with the news Pope is gathering.

While Scandal wasn’t an out of the box hit, the series did manage to grow its audience over the course of the seven episodes. The cast keeps up the look of the weasels that must create the narratives that are mistaken for news on cable TV. Diaz gets to play a role that keeps him away from the drug underworld. Tony Goldwyn looks so natural in the fake White House that he ought to run for office. The various ugly events are torn from Beltway headlines. Kerry Washington looks like they named the town after her. Scandal: The Complete First Season contains the start of a good political thriller series. There will be a second season of Scandal ready to hide the evidence for a price.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the shadows and dark spaces that lurk around Washington D.C. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The levels bring out the rapid exchanges between the characters as they contemplate damage control. The episodes are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.

Scandal: Setting the Pace (10:00) lets Judy Smith explain how she inspired the series. Amazingly enough Smith has the same hairstyle as Washington.

Gladiators in Suits: Casting a Series
(6:25) features the audition tapes and headshots of the stars. She took a risk on hiring Katie Lowes.

Scripting Scandal (7:31) breaks down the writing process. They had to do the first script as group project.

Scandal: The First Complete Season brings out the seedy nature of Washington D.C. This is a town that cares more about crisis management than the truth. Olivia Pope is a leader in taking on difficult cases if her gut lets her trust a client. It’s an enjoyable political change of pace from a creator that’s all about medicine.

ABC Studios presents Scandal: The Complete First Season Starring: Kerry Washington, Columbus Short, Katie Lowes and Guillermo Diaz. Boxset Contents: 7 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released: June 12, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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