Anatomy of a Scandal takes viewers through the heartbreaking story of the Whitehouse family. The family faces distraught when British Tory MP James Whitehouse’s affair with parliamentary researcher Olivia Lytton is released to the public. Matters only become worse when Olivia accuses James of rape, leaving it up to James’s wife Sophie to discover the truth.
If you like drama-filled relationship stories, Anatomy of a Scandal is the perfect Netflix miniseries for you. Anatomy of a Scandal is not your typical relationship drama story. Rape accusations, press and paparazzi attention, and family ties make for a very intricate and thrilling story.
Here is the scoop on what makes Anatomy of a Scandal one of our new favorite series!
Generational Trauma in Romantic Relationships
One highlight of Anatomy of a Scandal is that it demonstrates how relationship trauma can be passed down. Many viewers may not understand Sophie’s immediate choice to stay with her cheating husband at first. Staying to protect the children sounds absurd as they will receive negative press attention either way.
However, her actions start to make sense when we discover that Sophie came from a separated family. Her mother-in-law reveals to the audience that Sophie’s broken childhood home makes her determined to keep her family together. Thus, Sophie unconsciously repeats her parent’s toxic relationship.
Although she thinks she is trying to protect her children, she is actually setting a poor example. By staying with such a problematic husband, her children may seek out a toxic relationship when they grow up. Therefore, Anatomy of a Scandal excellently shows how relationship trauma can be generational.
Power of the “Me Too” Movement
Anatomy of a Scandal takes place sometime in 2018, which is right around when the “Me Too” Movement began. When an older sexual assault report about James comes up, it demonstrates the voice that the movement gave to victims.
An administrator at Oxford decides to report Holly’s case to the Queen’s Court upon hearing about Olivia’s accusations. This way, there is a higher chance that both women get the justice they deserve.
Furthermore, upon realizing that Holly’s case is true, Sophie asks her why this was not reported to the authorities. Nowadays, we know that people of power are no better than anyone else, and to hold them accountable. Thus, Anatomy of a Scandal shows the positive impact that the “Me Too” Movement has had around the world.
One of the best plot devices that Anatomy of a Scandal uses is flashbacks. Displaying younger versions of characters helps us understand what causes them to behave how they do. With James and Tom, we learn that they used to be a part of the Libertines at Oxford.
With Sophie, the viewer sees that she did not always put her best foot forward back in college. She does not always finish her portion of the work, leaving for her class partner Holly to do her work. With Holly, we get to see how driven and organized she is with her school work. These characteristics follow her into adulthood as it helps Sophie identify her over 20 years later.
One important place where flashbacks are constantly happening is in the courtroom. Olivia says that she was raped and Tom defines it as consensual. Therefore, someone is lying. Leaving it up to Sophie and the viewer to determine who is telling the truth.
In addition, Kate’s memories are finally added to the story in the middle of the series. This gives the case a whole new meaning and brings us closer to the core truth.
The Core Truth Prevails
Speaking of the truth, it is one of the most common themes in Anatomy of a Scandal. The show teaches that it will always prevail. While James may have won the court case against Olivia, there is a twist waiting for him at the end.
She sets out to make things right by leaving her husband and reporting him to the court. James’s case once again lands in Kate’s hands, making her believe that the truth will come out on top.
Anatomy of a Scandal displays the government in a brutally honest light. It is common for modern entertainment to show distrust in the government as people become more educated in politics.
Most of the Anatomy of a Scandal’s politicians have an untrustworthy past. For example, James and Tom were both Libertines during their time at Oxford, constantly partying, drinking heavily, doing illegal drugs, and getting with women. Although they express disapproval of their past and claim that they have changed, that is a lie.
James’s Libertine past carries with him into adulthood in the sense that he cheats on his wife. Furthermore, he tells his wife that the fact that he slept with Olivia means nothing as it was a mistake. This is very much Libertine behavior as these men often claim that their flings mean nothing to them.
Also, lying is like a game to the show’s politicians, especially James who cheats in Monopoly against his children. Later on in this series, the audience learns that his parents encourage this behavior throughout James’s childhood.
Considering that so many politicians come from privileged backgrounds, this character flaw tends to follow them into their careers. For this reason, James and the other politicians in Anatomy of a Scandal are often shown manipulating the truth in order to get what they want and save their precious images and positions of power.
Hope you enjoyed this review of Anatomy of a Scandal!
Watch Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix.
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