2022 Anatomy of a Scandal Review: charts a twisty courtroom mystery around privilege and politics

An old-fashioned courtroom miniseries with a somewhat more modern backdrop of sexual politics, "Anatomy of a Scandal" is a crisply told, nicely binge-able mystery that doesn't overstay its welcome

Adapted from a novel, the material certainly doesn't break any ground but proves watchable enough for its various twists, some admittedly more strained than others

While it's a famous man who's on trial (hence the "scandal" part), the six-episode project is defined by two women: The lawyer prosecuting the case, and the wife who wants to stand by her husband but is given reason to doubt him

Infused with a very British flavor despite the involvement of writer/producers David E. Kelley (raising echoes of "Big Little Lies") and Melissa James Gibson ("House of Cards"), the Netflix project focuses on Parliament minister James Whitehouse

("Homeland's" Rupert Friend), whose political and personal status are threatened when he's charged with raping an aide ("Aladdin's" Naomi Scott), a scenario complicated by the fact that the two had been having an affair

The allegation and related revelations come as an understandable shock to Whitehouse's wife Sophie (Sienna Miller), who is plagued by images of the consensual liaison while finding it difficult to believe that her husband could perpetrate an act of violence

As for proving that, the task falls to barrister Kate Woodcroft ("Downton Abbey's" Michelle Dockery), who is taking a considerable professional risk by mounting such a high-profile prosecution, one that has implications for the governing party

Directed by S.J. Clarkson, "Anatomy of a Scandal" does reasonably well in keeping the audience guessing, and fares less so in its liberal use of flashbacks regarding the elite private school that Whitehouse attended along with the Prime Minister (Geoffrey Streatfeild), hinting at a "Boys will be boys" attitude that prevailed at the time and that might have contributed to the bond between them

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