How 'Scandal' Brought TV to Its Tipping Point With Ferguson-Inspired Episode

by Raphael Chestang 6:06 PM PST, March 06, 2015
Playing How 'Scandal' Brought TV to Its Tipping Point With Ferguson-Inspired Episode

Last night's Scandal caused quite a stir on Twitter after airing a Ferguson-inspired police shooting episode and ET is with the man everyone is talking about: Courtney B. Vance.

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"This is television at its best," Vance told ET. "Every now and then we come together in a situation that forces us to see we are completely far apart."

In the episode, Vance plays the father of an unarmed young man slain by police -- a situation that stirred up memories of the tragedy in Ferguson, Miss.

The storyline, which was kept tightly under wraps, attracted 9.6 million viewers, making it the No. 1 drama of the night.

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"They made the choice, or whomever made the choice, not to let it out at all and maybe people will do discussions which is what we're doing now afterwards," Vance said.

After the show, Scandal star Kerry Washington tweeted: "This episode takes my breath away."

While Scandal's story ends with the shooting officer being arrested, Darren Wilson -- the officer who fired at Michael Brown in Ferguson -- was never charged. Vance believes that the TV ending is the way that executive producer Shonda Rhimes would have wanted the Ferguson tragedy to have been resolved.

"All I'll say is this: just go to trial," Vance said. "If he's exonerated, he's exonerated. But don't not go to trial."

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On Thursday, lawyers for Michael Brown's family announced that they plan to file a civil suit against Darren Wilson and the city of Ferguson after Wilson was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Justice Department.

"It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson but around the country," Brown's parents said in a written statement. "If that change happens, our son's death will not have been in vain."

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.