Secrets of Scandal: "The Other Woman"

By Jess Brownell, Researcher | Oct 4th, 2012

Olivia and Harrison Welcome back, Scandal fans! I hope you enjoyed our second episode! Are you getting all your Quinn conspiracy questions answered? Or—let me guess—do you just have more questions? Ah, yes. Can’t help you there, but I can clear up some other Scandal mysteries... Let’s take another look at the facts, figures, and headlines that inspired our storylines!

In this week’s episode, prominent religious figure Marvin Drake has gone missing and wife Nancy hires Pope and Associates to find him. When the team finally tracks the Reverend down, he’s in a hotel room in a rather compromising position: half-naked on top of a handcuffed woman half his size, who happens to be his long-time mistress. Oh, also—dead. Did I mention dead? The Reverend’s had a heart attack due to...let’s just say... “heavy lifting.”

This wouldn’t be the first time a prominent person was alleged to have died in a compromising position. In 1979, the married former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller died of a heart attack, reportedly while with his alleged mistress. No one knows the exact circumstances surrounding Rockefeller’s death (it is thought that the panicked woman waited an hour before having a friend call 9-1-1), but many theorize his heart attack was brought on mid-lovemaking. Conspiracy theories of other scandalous deaths abound—that, in 1905, department store heir Marshall Field, Jr. was in fact shot by a prostitute while visiting a Chicago brothel, and not at his home where a self-inflected wound was allegedly staged for the official cause of death; that legendary The Doors singer Jim Morrison actually died in a Parisian nightclub, not at home in his bathtub, and that drug dealers at the club moved him to conceal their involvement in the death; and that Marilyn Monroe’s death by overdose was staged to hide her presumed involvement in an affair with JFK.

In all three (unconfirmed) conspiracy theories, the bodies were allegedly moved to cover up the real causes of death. And in that great tradition, Olivia Pope decides to do just that with Marvin Drake. Rather than chop him up per Huck’s original suggestion, the team relocates the body to his matrimonial bed, where they instruct Mrs. Drake to spin a story of a peaceful passing in his sleep. It’s a perfect cover-up.

Almost. That is until pesky US Attorney David Rosen gets involved and orders an autopsy on Marvin’s body. If the autopsy is carried out, Olivia’s screwed, because of a little something known as livor mortis. Livor mortis is the pooling of blood in the lower part of the body after the heart stops beating. This pooling creates discoloration in areas that are not in contact with the ground, and thus can indicate the way a body was positioned at the time of death. It’s the thing that could prove whether Marilyn Monroe and Jim Morrison’s bodies really were moved, and it’s the thing that will definitely prove Marvin Drake wasn’t with his wife at time of death, but in a hotel room playing a game of naughty cop with his mistress. Yikes.

So how does the queen of quick reflexes respond?

Fortunately, when your on-again-off-again lover is the President of the United States, you can occasionally pull some strings. And that’s just what Olivia does. She gets Fitz to call off the autopsy. Of course, it’s not all so easy; Olivia’s also busy handling the financial negotiations between Mrs. Drake and the mistress—who happens to have a love child from Marvin (!). Major complication, yes, but Olivia’s got it under control. At the end of the day, all the mistress really wants is closure for her son and a little recognition that she mattered to her man. Sound familiar? Olivia can relate. Mrs. Drake eventually agrees to let the mistress and her son walk with the outgoing funeral procession. Everyone gets what they want, and the secret scandal of the Reverend’s death remains just that—a secret.

Lesson of the day? Even in death, Olivia Pope can get you out of almost anything. Although who’s to say what kind of reckoning the Reverend will have to do at the Pearly Gates? Let’s hope he prayed for a Heavenly Fixer!

See you in two weeks, for an episode that will have you checking your cell phone—and not for text messages!


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