Welcome back, Scandal fans! After a short hiatus, we were very excited to share with you our fifth, second-season episode, “All Roads Lead to Fitz.” As per the name, all roads in this episode lead to Fitz. That is for everyone except this week’s client, Maryland Governor Reston, for whom all roads lead to scandal!
Our episode begins with Olivia and the team entering the scene of a murder that just took place – Governor Reston walked in on his wife being raped by the couple’s Fabio-look-alike contractor, and shot the man to death. (Note: keep the Fabio-like hair length in mind. Seriously.) The Governor is none too happy to see Olivia, and not only because he just shot a man. See, he and Olivia go way back to the last general election, when Olivia helped Fitz defeat Reston, then the Democratic candidate for President. So Reston and his team are not entirely cooperative with Olivia when she tells them to wait before going to the press to allow them time to get the story straight. Instead, Reston’s excitable spokesperson Alison runs to the media calling Reston’s actions heroic, conjuring up the right to bear arms and right to protect his family, all before the blood has even dried on the victim/rapist/hair model.
So, what’s the reality of this case? Is Reston really a hero? Was he just exercising his “right”? Sort of. He does, of course, have the right to bear arms. But as for the right to protect himself and his family from harm when inside his own home, this is not a specific right enumerated in the Constitution, but rather a well-accepted legal principle. Known as “Castle Law,” this is the idea that when an intruder enters your castle (or any of the MASH varieties: mansion, apartment, shack or house), you are entitled to use force, sometimes even deadly force, to protect you and your loved ones. The legal strength of Castle Law varies from state to state, but when a jury hears that Governor Reston walked in on his wife being raped in his own home, they’re likely to be pretty sympathetic to the fact that he reached for a gun. At least that’s what he and Alison are banking on.
Sometimes, Castle Law isn’t even needed to sway a jury in an emotional case. In a recent example, a Texas father allegedly found a man molesting his young daughter, and, perhaps accidentally, beat the man to death. Although the killing was investigated as a homicide, a grand jury decided not to indict the father given the circumstances. Similarly, in Louisiana in 1985, a father who had shot and killed the man accused of abducting and sexually abusing his son was sentenced to just five years of probation.
But in Governor Reston’s case, the emotional story turns out to be just that – a story. After Abby discovers – you guessed it – long hairs (!!) all over the Reston’s house, the team realizes Mrs. Reston was actually having an affair with the contractor, not being raped by him. The fact that she cried rape, which caused her husband to shoot the man, means that she is culpable in her lover’s death. And unfortunately, David (our very own “you meddling kids,” in the form of one very sarcastic US Attorney) is also on to the affair. Mrs. Reston is taken off to be booked while her cuckolded husband looks on. But it’s not the end of the story. Because just as Reston is delivering a speech about the whole incident to the press, Olivia discovers photos that indicate the Governor knew about the affair all along. When Olivia confronts Reston, she learns that he was planning on killing the contractor, then his wife, and then himself, but because his wife cried rape, he knew he could get away with just killing the contractor. And Olivia can never say anything because of attorney-client privileges. So rabid-eyed Reston gets to chill in his country estate for a while. Not every case can be a win.
Our storyline ends with Olivia and Cyrus remarking that they “owe [Reston] one.” What that means exactly, maybe we’ll never know. But I can tell you this much: we’d have a very different show if Olivia had been brought in to work with Reston and not Fitz in the last election. Can you imagine?
Check in next week for more facts, figures, and headlines behind the scandals!