September 26, 2017

Shonda Rhimes, TV Powerhouse

Chicago-born Shonda Rhimes lives in Shondaland and if you watch any of her television programs, you live there, too.

A stint as a hospital volunteer when a teenager may have started her off on the road to become the creator, executive producer and head writer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and its spin-off, “Private Practice.”

My favorite of her creations is “Scandal,” a political thriller starring the glamorous African-American actress Kerry Washington as political fixer Olivia Pope and her off-again/on-again presidential paramour, Fitzgerald Grant played by Tony Goldwyn.

As in most of Rhimes’ shows, the ensemble plays a big element in the production and “Scandal” is no different. Scott Foley (seen in “Felicity,” “Scrubs,” “The Unit,” “True Blood” and Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy”) is playing Pope’s current love interest at the beginning of Season 4. Jeff Perry from Chicago’s esteemed Steppenwolf Theater has the role of gay presidential chief-of-staff Cyrus Beane, a juicy part that allows him to be villainous and lovable at the same time. Joshua Malina (of “The West Wing” and “In Plain Sight”) plays Assistant U. S. Attorney David Rosen and a love interest for Quinn Perkins, a colleague of Pope’s played by Katie Lowes. Olivia Pope’s father, covert ops poobah Eli Pope is none other than the revered actor, Joe Morton. Bellamy Young who is Mellie Grant, the President’s ambitious and somewhat scorned wife gets to act looney-tunes this season in the grief ensuing from her young son’s death caused by none other than Olivia Pope’s mother, terrorist sympathizer Maya Lewis played by Khandi Alexander. You get the picture. The plot twists would rival a bag of pretzels and the shifting allegiances and romances make this a most entertaining fluff of a show.

If you look at a Shonda Rhimes cast list, you begin to see that she has a large stable of actors that she casts in regular and guest starring roles in many of her programs. Loyalty!

Her new legal show “How To Get Away With Murder” starring Viola Davis just debuted on ABC. Another trip to Shondaland may be in order.

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