How Does Season 1 of 'Anatomy of a Scandal' End? Here's the Ending Explained

Leila Kozma - Author

Apr. 19 2022, Published 9:43 a.m. ET

A scene in 'Anatomy of a Scandal'
Source: Netflix

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 1 of Anatomy of a Scandal.

Content warning: This article mentions allegations of sexual violence and rape.

In six episodes, Anatomy of a Scandal offers a glimpse into the strange workings of privilege. Based on Sarah Vaughan's bestseller, the anthology drama chronicles the outfall following an act of gross misconduct. Starring Sienna Miller, Rupert Friend, and Michelle Dockery in the lead roles, it charts the public and private reckoning after a rape. How does Anatomy of a Scandal end? Here's the ending explained.

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'Anatomy of a Scandal' charts a court trial in which a politician is found not guilty of rape. Here's the ending explained.

Unlike Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. and The Tinder Swindler, which deal with psychological and financial abuse and dating fraud, Anatomy of a Scandal charts the aftermath of something much more serious — a workplace rape. At the focal point are James Whitehouse (Rupert Friend), a politician and a member of the one percent, and his committed wife, Sophie (Sienna Miller), who is reluctant to recognize her husband's flaws. Anatomy of a Scandal aims to raise questions about status and power.

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Season 1, Episode 6 of Anatomy of a Scandal kicks off with a scene portraying Sophie's brief encounter with Kate Woodcroft (Michelle Dockery), the barrister handling James's case. Soon enough, we jump ahead to a scene between Kate and an acquaintance — as part of which Kate gives voice to the increasing amount of guilt and concern she feels because she decided to take on the case despite knowing that there's a conflict of interest. An Oxford graduate, Kate is one of James's victims.

Sophie and James then have a brief conversation about Kate, who used the name Holly Berry during her university years. Sophie and James move on to discuss the death of Alec, a man faintly acquainted with James's group, the Libertines.

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The Cinemaholic draws a parallel between the fictive student group and The Bullingdon (According to an urban legend, former U.K. prime minister David Cameron may have put his genitals into the mouth of a pig during an initiation ceremony for the Piers Gaveston Society).

Michelle Dockery in 'Anatomy of a Scandal'
Source: Netflix
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We then flash forward to James's court hearing. As it is emphasized, he was pursuing an affair with parliamentary researcher and his former aid, Olivia Lytton (Naomi Scott), which casts doubt on the rape accusations. James's wife, Sophie, starts to question her husband's motives in the same episode.

James's wife, Sophie, makes a few discoveries of her own in Season 1 of 'Anatomy of a Scandal.'

James gets through the court case just fine. Later at home, Sophie asks James about what he said to Olivia. She confronts him again in one of the last scenes. Anatomy of a Scandal ends with Kate continuing her work as a barrister. Sophie and the kids head to the countryside.

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Season 1 of Anatomy of a Scandal garnered varied reviews. "Watching Anatomy of a Scandal and thinking that I would never put a dishwasher in a kitchen island," tweeted @rhymerrigby.

"Anatomy of a Scandal truly shows you that there are scores of men walking around thinking they’ve never raped a woman, when in fact they have, but they just weren’t raised to look out for unambiguous consent, so they don’t know that they are rapists," tweeted @salmabenson.

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