Anatomy of a Scandal season 1, episode 5 recap – the episode explained

By Marc Miller
Published: April 15, 2022 (Last updated: November 4, 2023)
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Anatomy of a Scandal season 1, episode 5 recap – the episode explained


Michelle Dockery and Rupert Friend light up on the screen in Anatomy of a Scandal‘s fifth episode. You cannot take your eyes off the screen.

This recap of the Netflix series Anatomy of a Scandal season 1, episode 5, contains spoilers.

Read the season 1 review of Anatomy of a Scandal.

Anatomy of a Scandal season 1, episode 5 recap

James has no scruples when throwing his wife under the bus and humiliating her. Take, for instance, his testimony in Anatomy of a Scandal‘s fifth episode. When James takes the stand and starts answering softball questions from his barrister, Angela, he has no qualms about embarrassing poor Sophie. For instance, to make himself look like a good guy and not a sex-crazed rapist, he tells the jury that he was also in love with her. James even mentions how they related on an intellectual level, just not physical. Sophie sits in the rafters, looking horrified. She even has a flashback where James told her he had to work late when in fact he was sleeping with the accuser, Olivia.

James then feigns understanding while also almost pitying his accuser. He admittingly tells the court that he, under no circumstances, heard the “no” or even the words “not here.” He weaves a tale of how he was upset about the article calling out his arrogance, but how Olivia told him to get in the elevator. (And in a nice touch, he shows a bit of chivalry by holding the door for her and allowing her to enter first). James says she initiated the kiss by grabbing the back of his head. It was, in fact, Olivia, who “wrenched” her blouse open, and the victim pulled down her underwear. He even goes one step further when Angela seeks an answer on why the panties ripped. Olivia, uh, likes the insubstantial variety, you see.

This garners an eye roll and smirks from Kate. She begins to try and swiftly break apart his priggish testimony. He tells the court he again did not wrench Olivia’s blouse and underwear. Kate attacks his testimony, accusing him of hearing Olivia’s words, and Kate utters the phrase, “Don’t be such a prick tease.” Instantly, James knows where he has seen Kate from. She is, in fact, Holly, the woman he raped without consent at Oxford. For that matter, Sophie notices how Kate takes notes from the rafters. Just like Holly did at the university.

The verbal jabs begin to fly between James and Kate, as they both now know her identity. James implies that destroying his career was her goal. However, Kate points out this ruins her career when telling his wife would have done the trick. James then goes off on an arrogant speech, talking about his service to his community, and, get this, refers to his youthful sexual drive as robust and spontaneous and unbridled (arrogant, indeed). The verbal joust keeps going as if they have a secret coded language they only know and the others do not understand. Kate then takes the opportunity to accuse him one more time before she is finished. His reaction is this:

“The word rape and my name have nothing to do with each other!” James screams.

James is dismissed, and the Whitehouses leave. They arrive at their home, where their children and Nanny surprise them for their anniversary. Sophie has a panic attack and leaves, but Kate Woodcroft’s office is her destination. When she arrives, Kate tries to play it cool, but he sees that spoiled, lazy, beautiful blonde coed all those years prior.

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