First, there was A Very English Scandal. Then there was A Very British Scandal. Now comes a second anthology series, Anatomy of a Scandal, which also focuses on the misbehaviors of the elite upper classes in the U.K. that keep the tabloids' sales in the black. The new series, exclusive to Netflix here in the states, was developed by David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) and Melissa James Gibson (House of Cards). Season 1 adapts the Sarah Vaughan novel Anatomy of a Scandal (which gives the program its name), with plans to tell different close-ended stories should Netflix greenlight future seasons.
The series was first announced in May 2020 as planned for a six-episode miniseries, then expanded to a multiseason anthology. In September 2020, the main cast was announced, with Rupert Friend (Homeland) and Sienna Miller (The Lost City of Z) cast to play the book's leading married couple, James and Sophie Whitehouse. Their perfect lives and marriage are ripped apart when a sex scandal from James' past suddenly comes back to haunt him, even as his wife remains by his side, convinced of his innocence. Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) will play Kate Woodcroft, QC, the steely criminal barrister prosecuting James for his alleged crimes, as convinced he is guilty as Sophie is of his innocence.
Miller is quoted in the press release as saying, "I was a huge fan of the book and of my character Sophie. She is multi-faceted and facing the consequences of the decisions she has made in her life of privilege that are catching up with her. I loved the arc and journey she embarks on and was thrilled to be part of such a talented cast and crew."
The series has been announced as arriving in April 2022, and Netflix has released the first images from the courtroom set drama.
Here's the show's synopsis:
A psychological thriller and gripping courtroom drama, the series infiltrates Britain's elite through personal and political scandal, where the truth lies between justice and privilege. James and Sophie Whitehouse live in a blissful and rarified world. A Minister in Parliament, a loving family at home, James' trajectory appears without limits. Until a scandalous secret suddenly comes to light. Barrister Kate Woodcroft has a trajectory of her own, and her prosecution threatens to tear into Westminster, the Whitehouse marriage, and her own personal esteem.
Along with Miller, Dockery, and Friend, the cast also includes Naomi Scott (Aladdin), Josette Simon (The Witches), Geoffrey Streatfeild (The Other Boleyn Girl), Ben Radcliffe (Pandora), and Joshua McGuire (Lovesick). S.J. Clarkson, best known for her work on Jessica Jones and The Defenders, directed all six episodes. Quoting co-creators Kelley and Gibson: "Sex. Power. Privilege. Based on Sarah's addictive book, the show tackles entitlement, truth, and the boundaries of consent. It's been a joy to partner with Netflix on this and see S.J. bring it to such a rich and nuanced life."
Anatomy of a Scandal premieres with all six episodes on Friday, April 15, 2022.