Shonda Rhimes’s Scandal is known to push the political envelope, constantly mimicking or predicting real-life events and trying “to extrapolate it to its most crazy degree,” Rhimes says. Most recently, the show’s writers pulled an upcoming storyline about the Russian government hacking the U.S. presidential election in an attempt to destabilize the Democratic Party.
Ultimately, Rhimes reconsidered after similarly disturbing events unfolded in the real world. She says, “It’s not just that we didn’t want to be bold and big in a show like this. That wasn’t necessarily our problem as much as, how dark do you want to be at a time when people aren’t feeling so happy? I think there are things that hit very close to home that I certainly never anticipated…things that I thought would be so far from what was gonna happen that felt like fantasy or felt like I could revel in them because they weren’t gonna be true. And they turned out to be a little bit too true.”
Scandal returns on Jan.19, with the big reveal of who won the show’s fictional presidential election.