ABC’s “Scandal” Pushes Limit With Racially Charged Episode

Article by Sarah Gelbard | esPResso Committee Member

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, March 5, ABC’s TV show “Scandal” focused on the shooting of an unarmed black teen named Brandon Parker. In the episode, the boy’s father positions himself in front of his son’s body with a shotgun, refusing to leave the crime scene. This particular plot line was inspired by the issues of racism and police brutality that evolved from the Michael Brown case this past November, according to The Washington Post.

Some of the show’s viewers believe this was inappropriate to bring up again in a TV show while others think that it was extremely powerful that Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Scandal,” decided to use a similar situation to bring her audience’s attention to the traumatic event.

Rhimes is no stranger to getting a large amount of publicity with her controversial story lines taking over Thursday night primetime television. This racially charged storyline was a risk for Rhimes when she decided to echo the Ferguson events in her show, according to AdWeek.

Eilis Kennedy, a student at Marist College, expressed how “surprising it was to see how realistic and similar the events were.  I didn’t really know how to feel when I was watching the episode.” In addition to mixed reviews from viewers, representatives from media outlets seemed equally as torn between positive and negative reactions.

Put eloquently by the director of “Selma,” Ava DuVernay tweeted: “An episode like this isn’t easy. Isn’t easy to write. Isn’t easy to direct. Isn’t easy to get on air. I appreciate the effort.” In the end, the episode of “Scandal” served as a conversation piece.


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