A much-needed break from gritty crime series led me to give Anatomy Of A Scandal a chance. I jumped on the bandwagon relatively late, as the show was released in April 2022 and quickly made it onto Netflix’s most watched list.
The six-episode series tells the story of Conservative British MP James Whitehouse, played by Rupert Friend, and his wife Sophie – a fantastic Sienna Miller – who learns about her husband’s affair with an aide. The story quickly takes a turn for the worse when the MP is accused of rape.
The courtroom drama traps the viewer both intellectually and emotionally thanks to a carefully embroidered sequence of flashbacks that intersect with present events, creating a disturbing yet compelling overlap.
The main characters’ stories intertwine with those of marginal players. Eventually, however, seemingly blurred situations clear up uncovering murky and controversial secrets.
Anatomy Of A Scandal gives the viewer a sense of disorientation and claustrophobia, numbing the senses despite a rather, albeit convoluted, linear script.
What emerges, nevertheless, is a paradoxical judicial system in which the accused is both exposed to public ridicule and protected by a never-ending set of legal trifles.
The line between guilt and innocence gets more and more confusing, contributing to a narrative that, in essence, aims to show the viewer that the truth is not within easy reach of the justice system, but rather a gradual intimate and soul-destroying process.
What I found most interesting, however, is the struggle carried out by Kate Woodcroft, the granitic yet fragile lawyer in charge of the prosecution.
Despite knowing where the truth lies, she faces an almost unsurmountable amount of challenges to make it emerge, not to mention triumph.
Played by an in-form Michelle Dockery, her character is the real plot twist of the series, one that I cannot but mull over. Word of advice, watch Anatomy Of A Scandal, but don’t be surprised if the ending leads to more questions than answers.