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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Anatomy of a Scandal


The brains behind Ally McBeal and, more recently, Big Little Lies and The Undoing, David E. Kelley knows just how to handle massive houses, lush ocean views, obnoxious rich people, and P.T.A. alphas. Kelley has now landed in the U.K., having adapted the best-selling novel Anatomy of a Scandal, written by the former political journalist Sarah Vaughan, into a six-part series for Netflix. (Vaughan serves as a writer and executive producer on the project.) It is fiction, but Vaughan hasn’t been shy about her source material, telling The Times of London how Boris Johnson inspired the show’s lead character, a married MP played by Rupert Friend. “What really struck me was that he didn’t have any compunction about lying,” she said of Johnson. “It was very clear that he had a very different moral compass, that he was playing by different rules.” The series has all the ingredients of today’s Westminster—affairs, champagne-fueled trysts, arrogant Etonians. Then the corridors of power unravel further, rocked by an allegation of rape. Sienna Miller plays the shiny, compliant wife and Michelle Dockery the accuser in this fast-paced, big-budget thriller. —Bridget Arsenault

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