Shonda Rhimes On How ‘Scandal,’ Olivia Pope Have Changed Hollywood

By Sameer Rao Apr 18, 2018

Hollywood features many more nuanced depictions of women of color than it did in 2012, the year Shonda Rhimes introduced political fixer Olivia Pope to the world on her ABC show "Scandal." With one day until the series finale airs tomorrow (April 19), Rhimes discussed the series’ seven-season run and how "Scandal" moved the needle for characters of color in a press conference with Deadline today (April 18).

“I feel like she’s been a very three-dimensional independent woman who was, at a time when female characters really weren’t anti-heroes, an anti-hero,” Rhimes said about Pope, portrayed by Kerry Washington. “And now it feels very normal and obvious that female characters can be anti-heroes. It feels normal and obvious that women of color can lead the shows. So hopefully that is something that this show has done.”

Deadline noted that Washington was the first Black woman to lead a primetime network drama series since Teresa Graves starred in "Get Christie Love!" in the 1970s. Rhimes noted how much the industry has changed since 2012—in part through her own projects like "How to Get Away With Murder."

“We’ve created a world in which we’ve stopped seeing these characters on televisions and it’s a magical anomaly that they’re there,” she added about the last eight years. “Getting to be a three-dimensional character on television isn’t something that only happens to White people.”