The drama centers on crisis manager Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington), a former White House communications director who runs her own PR firm in the capital.
According to ABC, “Olivia Pope is a fixer. The best in D.C. A title earned first by getting an underdog candidate elected president. What makes Olivia Pope the best is that she doesn’t fix problems. She fixes clients. She fixes people.”
The initial storyline has Pope’s former boss (and current client), the President of the U.S., Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), accused of having an affair with a White House aide.
Pope’s staff includes Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cuscisk), “who has dated his share of women but is trying to settle down and have a family”; Harrison Wright (Columbus Short), “a slick litigator”; Huck (Guillermo Diaz), “hacker extraordinaire”; investigator Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), and young staffer Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes).
Smith, a former deputy press secretary to President George H.W. Bush, runs Smith & Co. in D.C. and has repped parties in the Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick and BP oil spill crises, among others. She is a producer of the show, which is written by Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”) and is slated to run for seven episodes this season.
Smith has just written “Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets.” [Another PR power broker in D.C. was Hill & Knowlton's Bob Gray as documented by Susan Trento in 1992's “The Selling of Power and Influence in D.C.”]
This website wants feedback from readers who watch tonight’s debut of Scandal. Those comments will be posted tomorrow along with a poll about whether Scandal helps, hurts or has little impact on the reputation of PR.