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‘Scandal’ Will Return to its “Gladiating” Roots for Season 5, Says Shonda Rhimes

'Scandal' Will Return to its "Gladiating" Roots for Season 5, Says Shonda Rhimes

I’ll readily admit that I haven’t watched a single episode of “Scandal” since the start of the second season. I watched all of season one, which I actually mostly enjoyed, but the series lost its luster for me after a few episodes into season 2, and I never returned. There were some *changes* that I hoped Shonda Rhimes would make going into season 2 that I felt would strengthen the series (like the overdone, dull affair between Olivia Pope and the president, which I thought would die after the first season, but apparently went on to become the spine of the series), but it’s her show, and she obviously had specific plans for it. I had/have no say in the matter at all! In my not-so humble opinion, it just felt like a wasted opportunity to create a powerful drama that was more akin (in terms of tone especially) to something like “Damages” (the critically-acclaimed legal drama series that starred Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, which was nominated for, and won multiple awards – including the grandmother of them all, Emmys – during its 5-season run). But obviously that’s not the kind of show that Rhimes wanted to create. And that’s perfectly OK. After all, “Scandal” has been one of ABC’s largest primetime draws, so clearly many of you are big fans!

Although, over the last 2 seasons, I’ve noticed an increasing number of you who’ve expressed a declining interest in “Scandal” for one reason or another – folks who were once die-hard “Gladiators” who eventually started to feel that the show had lost its way; that what made them fall in love with it in the first place, was rapidly fading. Again, I can’t speak to the merits of those arguments, because I haven’t kept up with the series since the start of the second season. I’m just summarizing what others have said either to me, or that I’ve read in articles written by others for other websites, or tweets on Twitter, Facebook posts, etc. You folks can tell me whether the series became less interesting to you, or not.

Assuming for many of you, it was the former, it appears that Shonda Rhimes may have heard your cries. The “Scandal” creator and showrunner seems to admit in a TV Line piece published this afternoon, that the series strayed from its original procedural structure, and that the team (the remaining Gladiators) will come back together again as a unit to do what they do best – “Gladiate.”

Here’s a piece of the TV Line article: “Scandal is getting back to what it does best: Gladiating […] Acknowledging that the show’s central Gladiator conceit was sidelined a bit… because ‘we were busy healing Olivia,’ Rhimes says Season 5 will feature ‘the reconstitution’ of Team OPA. ‘The Gladiators DID gladiate,’ Rhimes adds… ‘But they gladiated on a different scale and a different level. And the Gladiators scattered.'”

And because the show’s “Gladiator” premise as original conceived, had been sidelined somewhat, Rhimes further notes “… that wasn’t the same dynamic.”

This “reconstitution” obviously won’t include all of the initial members of “Team OPA” since, as we already know, Columbus Short’s character, Harrison, is no more. Maybe new addition Cornelius Smith Jr. (who plays Marcus Walker on the series, and who was upgraded to series regular for next season) will fill Short’s shoes? Or maybe not: “I honestly don’t know,” Rhimes says.

It may come as a shock to fans of the series that “Scandal” will eventually end its run at some point. At least, I gather many of you would love for it to continue on for as long as possible.

But it won’t. And Rhimes knows that very well. 

Last year she shared that she already knew exactly how “Scandal” would end, and when it’ll end, although she didn’t give an exact date, only to say: “I think there’s only so much ‘Scandal’ you can tell satisfactorily. The Fitz-Liv thing can only be told so long and in such a way. It’s not a 10-season or eight-season show. I’ve already decided how long that is and what that’s going to be.”

So at least we know that “Scandal” will not run for as many as 8 seasons. So maybe 7 seasons, then? 6 perhaps? When it returns in the fall (about a month from now actually), it’ll be its 5th season – meaning, there’s a chance that this is where it ends; or, at most, it’ll have 1 or 2 more seasons. Unless she’s changed her mind since the 2014 interview in which she said it wasn’t an 8-season show.

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