Since Hank Schrader was all but blown to pieces in Breaking Bad's final episode and Debra Morgan became the last victim of her brother Dexter, death has stalked the 2013-2014 TV season with bodies falling in places both expected (Sons of Anarchy, Homeland) and unexpected (Nashville, Community). Up until last week, the death that has probably haunted me the most was that of Richard Harrow, Boardwalk Empire's sniper turned bootlegger-gangster, a complex character who on a show filled with darkness may have had the most ethical code of anyone on that series.
Then, in the space of 72 hours, broadcast TV demonstrated it can still play with the big boys, with two of the most shocking deaths so far this season, one only a mild surprise, the other the biggest shock on what has been a masterful season--- reporter James Novak on ABC's Scandal and Will Gardner on CBS' The Good Wife.
As I have made clear on more than one occasion, I am not Scandal's biggest partisan. I find it's portrayal of politics cold and cynical, the majority of the characters barely human beings, and the pacing and twists so ludicrous, it would make Howard Gordon say to show creator Shonda Rhimes, "Lady, this is getting little contrived." Yet, despite all these flaws--- maybe even because of them--- the show remains hard to look away from, especially when the latest plot twist hit so close to home.
In a series where every major characters seems to have his or her moral compass completely compromised, and where love is nothing but sex misspelled, Novack was one of the more fascinating characters. Despite the fact that his husband, White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) is arguably the most corrupt and soulless man on a show filled with them, James' remained devoted to him, deciding at the last minute not to testify that his husband was at the center of a scheme to rig the last Presidential election. As this season has progressed, James was horribly manipulated and abused into having an encounter with the Vice-President's deeply closeted husband (don't ask) which lead, indirectly, to the husband's death. He seemed to sell his soul for a job as press secretary, only to reveal that he had done so because intended to expose his husband's wrongdoings. Despite all that, he again seemed about to forgive and forget, but by now it was clear his days were numbered, and he was assassinated by a conspirator.
How this will effect a show that barely pauses to take a breath between plot twists is hard to say, but it is clear that it will inevitably affect Cyrus, a man who inadvertently may have set the plot for his death in motion. In past episodes, he has shown moments of repentance at the levels of deception he has had to maintain; will learning about this finally cause him to alter his course? All I know for certain is that, with the last group of episode's, Perry has moved to the front of contenders for Best Supporting Actor in the Emmys.