Please note: Tuned In Journal blog has moved to a new platform that now allows commenting via Facebook. There are still some kinks to work out -- the index page is sorting posts out of order and redirects from old bookmarks remain a work in progress -- but the ease of commenting is a great improvement.
HOLLYWOOD -- ABC's "Scandal" (10 tonight, WTAE) continues to grow its ratings (it tied its series high last week) and its fan base. After dismissing the show in its first season, I rejoined its viewing ranks last month and now lots of fans are also coming out of the woodwork.
Last week's episode was promoted as a "game changer" and was plotted before the show received a back nine pick up. And indeed it was as the president (Tony Goldwyn) murdered an already-dying-from-cancer Supreme Court justice who had attempted to have him assassinated.
Tonight's episode evidently picks up 10 months later and offers a showcase for actor Joshua Malina as his character, U.S. Attorney David Rosen, works with Olivia Pope's team rather than against them.
Malina put in time on another White House-set prime-time drama, NBC's "The West Wing." But he didn't think that show was enough like "Scandal" so that he felt like he was repeating himself.
"I felt like the tone was different," Malina told me when I visited the "Scandal" set last month. "I also love Shonda, and she has been good to me. And I have done 'Private Practice' and I have done 'Grey's Anatomy.' And so she is one of those people -- a handful of people -- that I would've signed on without reading anything. Shonda Rimes wants you -- in fact I came in and actually auditioned -- but if she offered me anything, I would do it. And then once I read it, it really was just one episode, and then they picked it up, and they said they would like you to do the rest of the first season, and it took me a few episodes to even know what I was in. Every episode, it was like, oh, it's not a procedural. It's also a thriller. It's also political. It took me an entire season to figure out how many different things she was trying to do."
Read more after the jump. ...
Malina said the show's cast, who often Tweet through "Scandal" episodes, also text one another after getting each script, salivating over the juicy plot twists.
"There's a lot of Oh. My. God," he said. "And there's a lot of texting to each other. I get a lot of texts from other people where it's like, 'Oh my God, did you read that? Take a look at page 27!' And the truth is that crazy [stuff] happens. We sit at a table read, and I see that I've broken up with, or Abby and David have broken up, and there's this sweet little scene where they look at each other and you think what might have been, and will they talk? And they don't really know. And then they walk out. And then you get the re-write. And she walks in and slaps him in the face and puts her fingers in his mouth, and semi-rapes him. And I'm like, OK, all right. There's that. And it's a change."
But while "Scandal" can be crazy, it's also another Shonda Rhimes show with a super-diverse cast (like "Grey's") and an African-American, female lead but it rarely comments on race. For series star Kerry Washington, who played a slave named Broomhilda in the movie "Django Unchained," it's a polar opposite role from what she played recently on the big screen.
"I've heard [it said] that Olivia is the answer to Broomhilda's prayer," Washington said. "It's phenomenal for me to explore these two women. One woman who needs to be saved and another woman who does the saving every week. I feel lucky to live in a time when we can tell stories about so many different kinds of experiences."
In the show's first season, Malina wasn't a series regular. He was a recurring guest star who appeared in just about every episode.
"I remember Kerry asked me one day what's the difference between being a recurring and being in every episode and being a regular, and I said, you know how you get a lot of money? I'm getting a little money," he said. "That is the difference."
Photo of me interviewing Malina on set last month that I didn't know was taken until I went looking for a photo of him to run with this post on ABC's media site: