The Female Stars of ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ on David E. Kelley’s Latest Conversation-Starting Thriller

It’s the first genuinely warm spring morning at London’s Soho Hotel, and the stars of Netflix’s Anatomy of a Scandal are unusually thrilled to be staring down hours of press interviews in its warren of rooms. Naomi Scott—the last to arrive in the particular suite chosen for our meeting— joyfully wraps her arms around Michelle Dockery, then reaches down to pinch the erstwhile Lady Mary Crawley’s bum, as Sienna Miller jumps up and envelopes them both in a warm hug—all three shrieking with delight at being reunited in person for the first time since early 2021. After a discussion of Scott’s newly cut bangs (“Gorgeous!”), the trio squash together on a couch—ignoring the various free chairs available—ready to chat seriously about the new TV series, albeit with occasional hilarious conversational detours. A question on their favorite David E. Kelley characters prompts much gushing about Laura Dern’s Renata Klein (and a reenactment of her “I will not not be rich” monologue from Dockery), while a query from Scott about the meaning of the word “flagellation” elicits some comedy guidance from Miller (“it means whipping—not flatulence”).

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

It’s this camaraderie that got them through months of occasionally brutal filming for Anatomy, out April 15 and destined to top Netflix’s Top 10 list for the foreseeable. The series is, of course, based on Sarah Vaughan’s 2018 bestseller probing the nature of consent via a Westminster scandal, which fortuitously came out precisely three months after the #MeToo movement first exploded. It belongs to that class of thriller whose plot must remain largely a mystery, but it centers on James Whitehouse (Rupert Friend), a Conservative member of Parliament who’s known the prime minister since their days together at Oxford, when the two doused each other with Bollinger at gatherings of the Libertines (a thinly veiled nod to the Bullingdon Club, which counts Prime Minister Boris Johnson among its former members). Then James’s affair with a young parliamentary researcher, Olivia (Scott), is splashed across the front page of the Daily Mail, followed by an allegation of rape from Olivia herself. Standing by him throughout the ensuing trial: his wife of 12 years, Sophie (Miller), a fellow Oxford grad who’s now a stay-at-home mother to two children. Even her blind loyalty, though, will be tested by the ferocious prosecution, spearheaded by barrister Kate Woodcroft (Dockery), who, it turns out, has her own axe to grind.

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