Presidents on TV Are No Longer Above the Flaw

Eric McCandless / ABC
A presidential debate on “Scandal. (L-R) Samuel Reston (Tom Amandes), Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and Sally Langston (Kate Burton).

The president of the United States on ABC’s “Scandal” is a killer. But he’s not alone: the two people running against him in his bid for re-election also have committed murder.

It’s a fact not lost on crisis handler Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who in last week’s episode laughed maniacally at the prospect of a “murderer’s row” of political leaders vying for the nation’s highest office. Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) is a promiscuous president who was elected illegally and who killed a Supreme Court justice with his bare hands to keep that secret. His vice president, now running against him, stabbed her husband to death after he slept with another man. The third candidate, the Maryland governor, murdered his wife’s lover.

With its over-the-top take on life in Washington, “Scandal” is demonstrating “how dirty and dark it is behind the curtain of power,” as Olivia put it in the episode.