In case you hadn’t heard, Grey's Anatomy creator and general television mastermind Shonda Rhimes has a new drama on ABC called Scandal. With the season premiere debuting this Thursday, April 5, we thought we’d summarize five key points to consider going into the amazing (we’ve seen the pilot and we love it) first episode.

Kerry Washington kicks ass. Kerry’s last major TV role was as Chelina Hall on Boston Legal, and, even though she was a courtroom killer back then, Chelina’s ballsiness is nothing compared to Kerry’s character on Scandal. As Olivia Pope, Kerry plays a stern, serious, tough, frighteningly competent, powerfully intimidating former press secretary of the White House who has gone rogue in a very dangerous way. It’s difficult to pull off playing a tough woman while also remaining likeable, and Kerry Washington is definitely the woman for the job.

Another President on TV! We love our TV presidents. They always seem to be so much better at their jobs than real-life politicians, don’t they? Well, on Scandal, the POTUS is definitely not the loveable family man like David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) on 24, nor is he the liberal, cool-as-a-cucumber Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) on The West Wing. Tony Goldwyn (who we’ll always associate with creepy Carl in Ghost) plays President Fitzgerald Grant. And beginning with the series premiere, it quickly becomes clear that this commander-in-chief is not your typically wholesome leader of the free world. 

Not your usual co-stars. Since this is a Shonda Rhimes show set in a very different universe, Olivia Pope is not given stereotypical characters as her surrounding peers. There is no obvious hot guy that she works alongside and has sexual chemistry with (a la Derek Shepherd). There’s Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick playing a confused playboy who needs her advice on a pending engagement. There is no hot novice girl who comes to work all confused with a secret talent (a la Lexie Grey). There is Katie Lowes, who may be confused, but will not be catching the eye of the token hot guy anytime soon. The list goes on. 

Welcome to Shondaland, no scrubs in sight. Shonda has more than proven her worth when it comes to creating successful medical dramas for primetime. Well, as long as the doctors work in a hospital. (Off the Map, which was a sort of Grey’s Anatomy-meets-Tarzanwasn’t long for this world.) But no one would say that Shonda doesn’t have a magical touch with creating believable, if melodramatic, personal relationships for the small screen. We’re overjoyed that Shonda is taking that magic touch to the sleazy world of dirty D.C. politics. 

Speaking of dirty politics... As dark as Grey’s Anatomy can get (mutilated body parts and feelings), Scandal deals with dramas of the international variety. Halfway into Scandal’s first episode, you might feel more like you’re watching the latest film adaptation of a John Grisham novel instead of a network TV show. And Scandal is not afraid to shy away from, well, the dirtiest political scandals our generation has seen. Let’s just say that Monica Lewinsky’s name is tossed into the dialogue at least twice in the first episode. 

Will you be watching Scandal this Thursday?

Scandal premieres on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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