The ingenuity of Hollywood’s writers unmistakably favours the small screen, and has become fertile ground for female actors. And Kerry Washington can proudly lay claim to being a part of this transformation in her critically acclaimed role as Olivia Pope in The Fixer (aka Scandal in the US). Debashine Thangevelo explores how her spin doctor character is braving her biggest scandal yet – being outed as the president’s mistress – while Lisa Kudrow and Scott Foley’s characters reveal their own agendas in the brewing political storm…
THE movie realm was defi- nitely more generous to Kerry Washington during her “struggling actor” phase.
Her name circled around the Hollywood bigwigs as she bagged impressive projects like The Human Stain, Against the Ropes, Ray, Mr and Mrs Smith, Fantastic Four, The Last King of Scotland and For Colored Girls, while landing episodic parts in TV series (NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Guardian, Boston Legal and Psyche) – the latter being no slight on her acting aptitude.
The tide of small-screen obscurity faded when she landed the deliciously powerful role of Olivia “Liv” Pope in Shonda Rhimes’ surprising departure into the political thriller arena with The Fixer.
Although the first season endured a few wobbles, where she lacked the gravitas in her unassailable position, Washington, as she grew more comfortable in the skin of Olivia, fixed her slip-up as the series progressed.
Now The Fixer has become one of those dramatic staple diets of viewers, as they have become more invested in her personal and professional life and how it is intertwined with her past, the president and the White House.
The character’s tenacity, fearlessness, feisty edge, as well as fallibility when it comes to matters of the heart, endeared her further to viewers.
Season three picks up from what can best be described as a spin doctor’s nightmare – the president’s affair with Olivia is made public.
Although Olivia is known for being a maven when it comes to “fixing” scandals, this public blow has her seemingly trapped between a rock and a hard place.
But Olivia, as we know, isn’t without resourcefulness – even at such a damning time. The question is: How does Jake Ballard (Scott Foley)who still carries a torch for her, fit into her plans to dodge this bullet?
After all, his relationship with President Grant goes back to their military days and a secret assignment called Operation Remington.
With the re-election campaign in full swing this season, such information could mean the death knell for the president’s political career.
Let’s not forget about the threat posed by Democratic congresswoman Josephine Marcus (Lisa Kudrow), who, ironically enough, has some skeletons in her closet.
Viewers best brace themselves for a few inter- esting game changers this season, especially with the strained relationship between Olivia and Huck, not to men- tion her diminished clientele at Pope & Associates, her grudging tolerance of the First Lady, who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and the arrival of her mom (played by Khandi Alexander).
Amid the pervading mud- slinging, cover-ups and scape-goats, Olivia and President Grant’s relationship has become a double-edged sword between a touching romance and incalculable ruin for both.
• The Fixer airs on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Mondays at 8.30pm.