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Tina’s 2012 TV Goodness All-Stars: Kerry Washington, Scandal 

Photo Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC

Scandal is one of the most addictive series of 2012. There have been so many jaw-dropping moments. And it’s gone off the charts crazy — in a good way — more than once. Season 1 was a quick seven episodes but I knew I was hooked almost right away. Season 2 has raised its game to a whole new level. The show’s watercooler factor has gone through the roof and the ratings are beginning to rise, thankfully, because I don’t want this show going anywhere anytime soon.

One of the biggest reasons why Scandal is so spectacularly scandalous and scintillating is because of its lead: Kerry Washington. As Olivia Pope, this actress gets to be commanding, demanding and fierce. I was familiar with Ms. Washington from her movies but it wasn’t until Scandal that she really got my attention. Some of the reasons why:

She excels at playing a supreme badass. Olivia Pope is fearless in her work life. She’ll stand up to anyone. She can walk onto the grounds of the White House and into the Oval Office just like that. Well, that is, if Cyrus hasn’t banned her for one reason or another. She tells her clients like it is. Same goes with the people who work for her. Love Olivia or hate her, you have to respect her. She knows what she’s doing. She knows how to get a job done (and done well). She’s smart, beautiful and isn’t afraid to make enemies. Kerry is the perfect actress to embody all that awesomeness.

She is equally fabulous playing a flawed, vulnerable character. Yes, Olivia Pope’s badass. She may even seem like a superhero as she attempts to dig her clients out of whatever trouble they’re in rain or shine. But, at the same time, she’s human. She gets into an affair with a married man who happens to be the President of the United States. I think her situation troubles her as much as it does the rest of us. However, we also see how great Olivia and Fitz are together. So we’re torn and she’s certainly torn. Sometimes, with this relationship, she doesn’t have the answers. Sometimes she doesn’t know the right way to react. Sometimes she doesn’t always do the right thing. Sometimes she gets emotional and acts out. I like when we’re reminded that Olivia’s a real person with feelings and insecurities. Washington does a great job playing such a layered character. I look forward to getting to know even more about Olivia as the series continues.

Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

She has chemistry with all her leading men. It takes a special actress who is able to have chemistry with almost any actor she plays opposite in any given episode — whether it’s on purpose or an accident. In season 1, she had it with Henry Ian Cusick’s Stephen Finch. And briefly with Matt Lescher’s Billy Chambers before we found out he was bad news bears. She also had it with Joshua Malina’s David Rosen. She currently has it with her replacement boyfriend, Senator Edison Davis (Norm Lewis).

However, Olivia’s clearly with Edison because if she can’t be with the one she loves, love the one you’re with. Isn’t that how the song goes? Here’s the thing. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the amount of sparks that would fly with Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn in the same scene. It’s palpable. It’s magical. Fitz and Olivia exude this sexiness that is incredible. Those two exhaust me they are so sexy. And I always find myself asking how they pull that off. Just look to the episodes “The Trail” and “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” for proof positive why Fitz and Olivia are one of the most electric couples on TV.

She has chemistry with everyone. Let’s briefly put aside all the romantic chemistry she shares with Fitz et. al. I love the friendship vibe Washington’s able to convey with Olivia’s employees at her crisis consulting firm — specifically the chemistry she shares with both Guillermo Diaz and Columbus Short. I am always watching out for Olivia and Huck as well as Olivia and Harrison scenes. They all work really well together. I also love, love, love the frenemy action that goes on between Olivia and Mellie (Bellamy Young). Two fierce females who are invested in the same man? It’s one of my favorite rivalries on TV. But the friendship I’m really enjoying the most is the one that exists between Olivia and Cyrus. There’s so much baggage there yet when these two sit on a couch and share a bottle of wine — it’s simply amazing. I can’t get enough of Washington and Jeff Perry scenes.

She’s passionate about the show. You can tell in Kerry’s interviews about Scandal or when she’s on panels talking about her series. Plus, she’s not beyond live tweeting during an episode. I love that she does that. When I see that an actor is passionate about their show and enjoys getting the word out about their show — that increases my enjoyment as well.

On the big screen, Kerry Washington is always good. But on the small screen, she’s so much better. She’s a standout as far as I’m concerned. She helps make Scandal appointment television. I have to watch it Thursday nights or risk getting spoiled on Facebook, Twitter and all of social media the next day. This is a good problem to have. Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes (and her behind the scenes crew) couldn’t have chosen a better lead in Washington.

Scandal returns with new episodes Thursday, Jan. 10 @ 10/9c on ABC.

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  2. Nidavni

    Very good article , but I do not see the chemistry between Olivia and Edison. There is no chemistry at all

    1. Tina Charles

      I think there is some (although it’s not in the same league as the chemistry that exists between Fitz and Olivia). Also, Olivia and Edison are not going to last so it doesn’t really matter…

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