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What Would Judy Do?: Any Questions?

  • By Judy A. Smith

Scandal - Any Questions? - Olivia Pope, Quinn PerkinsThe real excitement this week is in the long awaited reveal of the mole but I want to focus on Olivia’s plight. It is natural that Olivia’s instinct to handle her own crisis if she should be identified as the president’s mistress. I wouldn’t recommend that. When you are the focus of a crisis, no matter how adept you are in handling such a situation you need to have outside help. You will be too close to the situation to evaluate what’s best for you. You may weigh in on strategy but you have to hand over the reins to someone else. Your role changes and to occupy both that of client and of “fixer” is like a therapist talking to himself.

It’s not easy giving up control for someone like Olivia and she resists with Harrison. By the end of the episode her name is not revealed and for the time being she does not have to deal directly with it. However, we do see her yielding her desire to jump into the fray at Fitz’s request. He wants not to be taken care of but to handle it himself. Because it is personally important to him she pulls back.  In this episode she makes an even greater sacrifice when she gives up the relationship she so desperately wants because she fears the reasons for it might taint it. She doesn’t want to be the excuse or to be responsible for Fitz not believing in himself. And she pleads with him to run again and win on his terms rather than give in to his fears even should it mean not having the future she dreams of.

Olivia is a giver. She cares about people and is drawn to helping them when they are at their lowest. These traits are probably what led her to be a “fixer” in the first place. I know, for me, as long as I can remember I was always trying to help people with their problems. It’s empathy for those in trouble that most likely led me to the path I have taken. And you see this in Olivia, not only in her relationship with the man she loves but witness her staff and the role she’s played in their rehabilitation. Although a crisis manager has to present an unruffled, cool demeanor, he or she ultimately has to be passionate about the cause.


Judy A. Smith is the founder and President of Smith and Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles as well as a Co-Executive Producer of ABC's Scandal. You can follow her on Twitter (@JudySmith_) or "Like" her on Facebook, and you can get more information about managing personal and professional crisis situations by visiting her site, judysmith.com.


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