Sarah Vaughan’s bestselling thriller, Anatomy Of A Scandal, has been adapted for the new Netflix series starring Sienna Miller, but the ending could have looked very different.
If you’re a fan of TV adaptations of beloved novels, then you’ll no doubt be aware that there are some seriously exciting projects in the works. From Showtime’s series based on Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women and Hulu’s domestic drama Fleishman Is In Trouble to Apple TV+’s epic love story Pachinko, the trend for turning unputdownable books into equally compulsive programmes shows no sign of slowing.
One of the biggest releases that we’ve been talking about this spring, though, is Anatomy Of A Scandal. Based on the international bestselling novel of the same name by Sarah Vaughan, the six-episode psychological thriller explores issues of entitlement, truth and the boundaries of consent through the story of a privileged couple living in London.
It’s swept over Netflix and social media, not least because it aptly confronts the way rape survivors are treated within the justice system. But the series also delivers one particular badass female character – Kate Woodcroft, played by Michelle Dockery – who puts misogyny and privilege on trial in the best possible way.
If, like us, you’ve binge-watched it all, you may be left wondering what became of some of the characters. Well, speaking to RadioTimes, Naomi Scott (who plays Olivia Lytton in the series) has revealed that the finale could’ve looked very different for her character.
She said: “We did actually shoot something, Olivia after everything, but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like it did the character justice, to tie it off with a bow.
“I actually think it’s more powerful to just allow people to go, ‘Wow, what happened to her?’ And a lot of the time these types of victims are forgotten, so I think it’s really fitting.”
Speaking about playing the role of a rape survivor, she also commented: “I can’t imagine how it must feel for someone who actually has to retell their trauma to a bunch of people who aren’t necessarily supporting them, but actually judging whether they’re lying or not.
“It really did open my mind and my eyes and I just thought, ‘Wow, how brave it is to come forward.’ But also, I completely understand why someone wouldn’t want to go through that.”
There’s been plenty of chatter about the series, of course, because of the star-studded cast.
We’re not exaggerating. It stars Sienna Miller (American Sniper, The Loudest Voice) as Sophie, Michelle Dockery (The Gentlemen, Downton Abbey) as Kate, Rupert Friend (Homeland, The French Dispatch) as James and Naomi Scott (Aladdin, Charlie’s Angels) as Olivia.
And now, we finally have our first look at the drama as a new (and very tense) trailer has just been released. Coming from the same creator of The Undoing and Big Little Lies, we knew that this series was going to be a stellar one but seriously, the two-minute-long trailer really does give you a taste of the scandal, politics and deep-rooted issues at the heart of this Netflix drama.
“Sometimes I think I’m partly to blame,” Sophie (Miller) says. “I let things slide, didn’t question little things when I should have. But little things add up – don’t they?”
As well as exploring Sophie’s perspective, we also get a sense of the determination of QC Kate Woodcraft (Dockery), the barrister who’s intent on exposing the truth around the alleged rape. In a particularly poignant moment, she tells the court: “James Whitehouse’s privilege does not extend to rape.”
Whitehouse (Friend) is visibly seething as he shouts back: “The word ‘rape’ and my name have nothing to do with each other.” It’s a reaction that only warrants a knowing smirk from Kate and a simple response of: “I have no further questions for this witness.” Talk about brilliant, right?
Watch the trailer for yourself here:
What is Anatomy of a Scandal about?
The novel follows the story of James (Friend), a high-flying Home Office minister whose marriage to Sophie (Miller) is plunged into crisis after the aide that he has an affair with, Olivia, accuses him of rape.
The plot also revolves around the character of Kate (Dockery), an ambitious young barrister who is well-versed in prosecuting some of the UK’s worst cases of sexual assault.
Themes of consent, trust and privilege are woven into the taut domestic thriller, that – like all the best in its genre – keeps readers on the edge right to the very last word.
The new series, which is described as both a psychological thriller and a gripping courtroom drama, looks set to faithfully follow the original plot of the novel.
According to an official synopsis, 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,” the synopsis continues. “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.”
“I was a huge fan of the book and of my character Sophie,” said Miller in a statement. “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.”
When is Anatomy of a Scandal released?
The series is available to stream on Netflix now.
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…