Last night’s episode of Scandal tackled police brutality in a way only Scandal could.

The episode in short: The dead teen, Brandon, supposedly had a knife. Officer Newton claims he was just following protocol. Olivia is hired to control the optics for the DC police. The Ferguson like shooting in Southeast, DC  led to a stand-off between the police and Brandon’s father. In real life, a gun-toting grieving father would have been shot dead, but this is Scandal where anything is possible.

Is Olivia on the side of the police or the people? It’s questionable at first, but Olivia ends up on the side of the truth, which, unsurprisingly, is on the side of the people.

The episode was frustrating, sad, and at times, seemed to take excruciating painful steps to explore the issue from all perspectives. But Shonda tackled this issue in a way not seen on network television. Which is to say, she did it at all, and didn’t rely on the anti-black tropes that often underline plots in series that have covered similar situations. For that, I applaud her.

Photo: Screenshot/ABC