Every Question You Have About Anatomy of a Scandal, Answered

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In a nutshell:

Sienna Miller is the star of Netflix’s tense new courtroom drama, which will be the first installment of a multi-season anthology series chronicling the personal and political scandals of Britain’s elite.

What is the plot of Anatomy of a Scandal?

An adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s gripping novel of the same name, the show is billed as a six-part psychological thriller set in the shadowy parliamentary offices of Westminster. At its heart are James and Sophie Whitehouse, a government minister and his doting wife whose lives are upended when the former is accused of rape. The pair are thrust into the spotlight, but Sophie is convinced of her husband’s innocence and determined to protect her family. Meanwhile, Kate Woodcroft, the barrister poised to prosecute the case, is equally certain of James’s guilt and hellbent on making him pay for his alleged crimes. It’s set to be a riveting examination of privilege and power which will also, according to the show’s creators David E. Kelley and Melissa James Gibson, tackle “entitlement, truth, and the boundaries of consent.”

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Who’s in the cast of Anatomy of a Scandal?

Miller will play Sophie, an Oxford graduate and mother of two whose idyllic existence slowly unravels. Taking on the role of her partner, James, an ambitious and charismatic operator who is close to the prime minister, is Rupert Friend, while Michelle Dockery is Kate, the lawyer who specializes in prosecuting sexual crimes and believes she’s been handed the case of a lifetime. Rounding out the cast is Naomi Scott as James’s accuser, Olivia Lytton—a bright young parliamentary researcher who previously had an affair with him—and Josette Simon as James’s lawyer Angela Regan.

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“It feels like an important and timely story to explore,” Miller said of the show in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2020. “What is rape? How are women complicit in the unfolding of their lives? And how well can anyone know anyone else? It’s deep and raw, and is being created by an amazing team of producers and writers, and I’m a huge fan of our director S.J. Clarkson.”

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Who’s behind the camera for Anatomy of a Scandal?

Clarkson—who is known for her work on Jessica Jones and The Defenders, and was recently announced as the director of the upcoming Dakota Johnson-led Spider-Man spinoff Madame Web*—*will take the helm for all six episodes. The showrunners are equally impressive: Melissa James Gibson, who has been Emmy-nominated for her work on House of Cards, and 11-time Emmy winner David E. Kelley. If the latter’s track record as the creator of Big Little Lies, The Undoing, and Nine Perfect Strangers is anything to go by, Anatomy of a Scandal should be as suspenseful as it is splashy.

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Is there a trailer for Anatomy of a Scandal?

Netflix released the hair-raising first trailer on March 17. It opens with Miller’s Sophie Whitehouse walking home as her husband, James, and his aide, Olivia, continue their affair. “Sometimes I think I’m partly to blame,” Sophie later muses. “I let things slide. I didn’t question little things when I should have.” We’re then taken back to James and Sophie’s university days, as the former runs riot as the member of an exclusive drinking society. She wonders what other secrets he could be hiding, but James insists that he’ll do whatever it takes to make things right. With Olivia, however, he seems to be a completely different person. “Won’t your wife be wondering where you are?” she asks him at one point. James gives her a steely glance and says, “She trusts me.” The effect is chilling.

What will future seasons of Anatomy of a Scandal cover?

Per Deadline, the series is being envisioned as an anthology, with the hope that each new season will focus on a different scandal. It’s already drawn comparisons to A Very English Scandal, which cast Hugh Grant as Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as his sometimes-lover Norman Josiffe, while the show’s second installment, A Very British Scandal, centered on Claire Foy and Paul Bettany as the warring Duke and Duchess of Argyll.

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How should I entertain myself until Anatomy of a Scandal arrives?

It’s worth rewatching both A Very English Scandal and A Very British Scandal, as well as The Undoing, another study of a seemingly perfect marriage falling to pieces. Make sure to read Sarah Vaughan’s source material too, and then order her follow-up, Little Disasters—an unsettling exploration of postnatal anxiety which is also set to be adapted for the screen.