Anatomy of a Scandal

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Anatomy of a Scandal
Promotional poster
Based onAnatomy of a Scandal
by Sarah Vaughan
Developed by
Directed byS. J. Clarkson
Music byJohan Söderqvist
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
ProducerMark Kinsella
CinematographyBalazs Bolygo
  • Liana Del Giudice
  • Mary Finlay
Running time43–48 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)

Anatomy of a Scandal is an American thriller drama television miniseries developed by David E. Kelley and Melissa James Gibson, based on the novel of the same name by Sarah Vaughan. The series consists of six episodes, and premiered on Netflix on April 15, 2022.[5]


Sophie Whitehouse, the wife of British Tory MP James Whitehouse, learns that her husband has been having an affair with his young aide, Olivia Lytton. The news goes public, blowing up their lives and forcing her to deal with the consequences of her husband's disastrous actions. To make matters worse, James is accused of raping Olivia and has to stand trial.

Cast and characters[edit]



  • Jonathan Firth as Richard, Kate's married former pupil master, with whom she is having an affair
  • Sebastian Selwood as Finn Whitehouse, Sophie and James's son
  • Amelie Bea Smith as Emily Whitehouse, Sophie and James's daughter
  • Geoffrey Streatfeild as Tom Southern MP, the Prime Minister
    • Jake Simmance portrays a young Tom Southern
  • Violet Verigo as Krystyna, the Whitehouses' Russian au pair
  • Liz White as Ali, a schoolteacher and Kate's best friend
  • Tom Turner as John Vestey
  • Jonathan Coy as Aled Luckhurst, the judge of James's rape case
  • Kudzai Sitima as Maggie, Kate's pupil



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Episode 1"S. J. ClarksonMelissa James Gibson & David E. KelleyApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
Beautiful and wealthy Sophie Whitehouse is called away from a party by her husband, Tory MP James Whitehouse, who confesses he had a five-month affair with one of his aides, Olivia Lytton, and the news is about to break publicly. Although upset, Sophie decides without question to forgive her husband as they have been together since university and have two children together. Despite some uncomfortable press, James manages to de-escalate the news. Just as the story seems likely to blow over, two police officers approach James, informing him that Olivia has accused him of rape.
2"Episode 2"S. J. ClarksonMelissa James GibsonApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
James is charged with rape, and a trial date is set. After being shut out from her social circle, Sophie reflects on her decisions to support James's career at her own expense. Sophie reluctantly attends James's trial, where Olivia is called on to give testimony and reveals that unlike the meaningless physical affair James claimed was happening, James respected Olivia's intelligence, and she was in love with him, prompting Sophie to leave the court in distress.
3"Episode 3"S. J. ClarksonMelissa James GibsonApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
James's trial continues, as Olivia details her version of events surrounding the subject sexual encounter, which James concedes occurred while alleging Olivia's consent to the intercourse in his defense. Despite her extreme discomfort with the details, Sophie stays in court. James feels like his defense lawyer adequately questions Olivia's testimony but learns at the last minute that a second woman has come forward claiming that James sexually assaulted a fellow student while at Oxford, a woman named Holly Berry, Sophie's first-year tutorial partner. The Prime Minister, Tom Southern, who has thus far stood beside James, faces a coup within his own party and threatens to cut James loose. James reminds him that Tom owes him. A flashback reveals that during a party, James helped Tom cover up the accidental death of their friend Alec Fisher, who fell from a rooftop after using the heroin supplied to him by Tom.
4"Episode 4"S. J. ClarksonMelissa James Gibson & David E. KelleyApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
Sophie takes the children to visit James's parents in the countryside. Olivia's friend Kitty Ledger takes the stand. Prosecuting counsel, Kate Woodcroft is off her game when questioning and later has a panic attack. Returning home, Sophie is deeply disturbed by the fact that James still has no memory of Holly. A flashback reveals that James raped Holly during his last week of university, with some of the event's details bearing a disturbing resemblance to Olivia's rape. Kate calls her mother and reveals she is Holly Berry, now going by a different name.
5"Episode 5"S. J. ClarksonMelissa James Gibson & David E. KelleyApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
James is called to give evidence and, on the stand, admits that he and Olivia were in love during their affair. During the trial, both Sophie and James seem to recognize Kate as Holly Berry independently; Sophie through Kate's distinct note-taking and James through Kate's line of questioning. Aware of who Kate is, James uses his testimony to deny he raped her in a way only Kate would recognize, but he loses control of his temper during the line of questioning. The trial shakes Sophie, and she later sneaks out to visit Kate in private.
6"Episode 6"S. J. ClarksonMelissa James Gibson & David E. KelleyApril 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
Though Kate denies knowing Sophie, Sophie leaves their meeting convinced she is Holly Berry. When Sophie returns home, James reveals that the night he and Tom were involved in Alec's accidental death, he had sex with a woman who he believes could have been Holly Berry and further admits that Tom supplied drugs to Alec while James disposed of the evidence. The trial concludes, and James is acquitted. James privately admits to Sophie that he called Olivia a "prick-tease," a piece of evidence he denied in court. Sophie decides to leave James. She has a final meeting with Kate, where Kate says that James raped her, and Sophie reveals that she leaked James and Tom's involvement in Alec's death to the press. As a result of this latest escalation of the scandal, Tom is forced to resign as Prime Minister while police arrest James. Sophie and her children begin new lives in the country, and Kate continue to practice the law as a prosecutor.



Netflix announced in May 2020 they had greenlit the series, which David E. Kelley and Melissa James Gibson adapted from the Sarah Vaughan novel of the same name. S. J. Clarkson was set to direct all episodes of the series.[6] In September, Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, and Rupert Friend were cast to star in the series.[7] Naomi Scott would be added in December,[8] with Ben Radcliffe cast in a recurring role in January 2021.[9]

Filming for the series began in October 2020 at Shepperton Studios.[10] Filming also took place at St. George's Hanover Square Primary School in Mayfair, London. Production took place in Oxford in February 2021.[11]


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 60% approval rating with an average rating of 5.9/10, based on 42 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Anatomy of a Scandal has the bones of a good David E. Kelley potboiler but lacks the connective tissue to really work, although the starry cast provides an intrigue all its own."[12] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 52 out of 100 based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13] Anatomy of a Scandal was in the Netflix Global Top 10 of most-watched English language series for five weeks, holding the number one position in its second week.[14]


  1. ^ Heritage, Stuart (April 20, 2022). "That Anatomy of a Scandal scene: is this the silliest TV moment ever?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  2. ^ VanArendonk, Kathryn (April 18, 2022). "Anatomy of a Scandal's Final Line Achieves Greatness (in the Category of 'Most Absurd Ending')". Vulture. Archived from the original on April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  3. ^ Parkinson, Hannah Jane (April 17, 2022). "The week in TV: Anatomy of a Scandal; Derry Girls; Killing Eve; Gentleman Jack". The Guardian. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  4. ^ Dacre, Karen (April 15, 2022). "How to create an Anatomy of a Scandal 'power woman' wardrobe". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  5. ^ Kinane, Ruth (January 31, 2022). "See first photos of Sienna Miller starring in David E. Kelly's Anatomy of a Scandal adaptation for Netflix". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 31, 2022. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  6. ^ Jones, Marcus (May 21, 2020). "David E. Kelley and Netflix are working on a 'Anatomy of a Scandal' TV adaptation". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 7, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  7. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (September 23, 2020). "'Anatomy Of A Scandal': Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery & Rupert Friend To Star In Netflix Series From 'Big Little Lies' Creator & Former 'House Of Cards' Showrunner". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 15, 2020). "Naomi Scott to Star in Netflix's 'Anatomy of a Scandal' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 4, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (January 5, 2021). "'Anatomy Of A Scandal': Ben Radcliffe Joins David E. Kelley's Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  10. ^ "'Anatomy of a Scandal' Netflix Anthology Series: Coming to Netflix in April 2022". What's on Netflix. February 22, 2022. Archived from the original on April 19, 2022. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  11. ^ "First look at Netflix film sets in Oxford city centre". Oxford Mail. March 26, 2021. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  12. ^ "Anatomy of a Scandal: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  13. ^ "Anatomy of a Scandal: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  14. ^ "Netflix Top 10 - Global". Archived from the original on April 26, 2022. Retrieved April 27, 2022.

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