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Image 55 of The Independent April 8, 2012

Part of The Independent

Feature Story Image is everything Meet the people who cover up secrets in ‘Scandal’ By Dee Wright TV Media T housands of people are employed with companies that dig up the scandals and secrets of public figures. But what about the people whose jobs revolve around hiding the secrets? They can’t all be bad. ABC’s new series, “Scandal,” follows the life of a crisis management firm as it struggles to help its clients hide anything they don’t want exposed. Olivia Pope and Associates consists of six communications specialists who are the best of the best at keeping their clients happy while maintaining a flawless public image. Unfortunately, the team members themselves can barely control their own lives. The series premiered last week, and it airs Thursdays, on ABC. It is loosely based on the career of former press aide Judy Smith, who worked with President H.W. Bush and helped put out fires all over Washington. Smith acts as a consultant for the series, providing advice and insight to what would have really happened in certain situations, which gives the series a flair of authenticity. For this new drama, ABC has turned to its tried-and-true creator, Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes is the brains and head writer for several of ABC’s other big series, most notably “Off the Map,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” “Scandal” has a bit of a different angle than her typical medical dramedies do. While “Grey’s” and “Practice” also focus on a tight-knit group of coworkers, the main characters are often just as vulnerable as the other members of the group. In “Scandal,” however, team leader Olivia Pope seems to be the only person who has her head above water -- and the others are pulling her April 8 - 14, 2012 The cast of “Scandal” down. “I don’t think my shows are necessarily medical shows or political shows or fixer shows,” Rhimes said in an interview with the Television Critic’s Association. “The show is about strong, smart women and a lot of flawed, interesting people.” Pope used to work in the White House as a senior communications director, but she left that role to start her own firm. Now, even though she has resigned from her official work with the president, her successor -- and the President himself -- is close at hand to ask for help. In the premiere episode that aired last week, the President was accused of having an affair with a White House intern and Pope had to step in to protect the leader’s reputation. Pope is played by Kerry Washington, who has very little experience in television at all. She’s starred in a few episodes here and there of “Boston Legal,” as well as a five-episode arc on “100 Centre Street” on A&E, but her biggest presence has been on the silver screen. She starred as Patrick Wilson’s wife in “Lakeview Terrace” (2008) and Ray Charles’s wife in “Ray” (2004). She won several notable awards for the latter role, including a Teen Choice Award and a Satellite Award. The film was also up for Best Picture, but it had little chance up against the box-office powerhouses “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Aviator.” Pope’s right-hand man is Stephen Finch, played by Henry Ian Cusick. Finch was a ladies’ man before he realized that he wants to settle down and start a family with some lucky lady. Unfortunately, his reputation precedes him, and few women will go near him anymore. One woman who does want to be with Finch is Abby Whelan, the team’s investigator. Whelan is so intent on getting Finch to notice her that she lets her job slide, and Pope ends up giving her several warnings about her performance. Harrison Wright is the firm’s legal whiz. He protects his clients’ interests to the best of his ability -- finding loopholes, ambiguous wording and general negligence on anyone’s part. He follows every letter of the law, and he expects others to do so as well -- or he will make them look foolish. Computer hacker Huck (Guillermo Diaz) knows his way around any password and firewall that can be created. He decides to “use his powers for good,” and he is anything but modest about his abilities. His past work with the CIA gives him an insight to problems that many of his competitors can’t even fathom. The Independent • TVTimes Video Releases The Darkest Hour After a disastrous alien invasion, the fate of the world depends on five people who witnessed the attack and know what the aliens are going for. Two Americans go to Moscow in search of a buyer for their new software, but their pitch falls flat and they seek solace in alcohol. While partying, they notice that people have been disappearing right before their eyes with no explanation, and they realize the Earth is under attack. As they struggle to survive, they meet up with other survivors while they try to keep the aliens from stealing the world’s power supplies. Director: Chris Gorak. Stars: Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby. 2011, 89 mins., sci-fi. The Witches of Oz There have been many versions and interpretations of the happenings of “The Wizard of Oz,” but few have explored what happened to Dorothy after she woke up in Kansas. Now an Resolution 2 1 x 3” adult and professional writer, Dorothy Gale realizes that the plots of her award-winning novels are actually memories that she has suppressed from her youth. Director: Leigh Scott. Stars: Paulie Rojas, Eliza Swenson, Billy Boyd, Lance Henrikson, Jeffrey Combs, Ari Zagaris, Barry J. Radcliffe, Sasha Jackson. 2011, 167 mins., fantasy. Sudoku Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9 Solution on page 5. 23

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