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Kerry Washington Stars in Shonda Rhimes's New Drama, Scandal

02/01/2012 AT 03:25 PM EST

When it comes to crisis management, nobody does it better than Olivia Pope and her team. No problem – whether it's politics, sports, business or show business – is too big for her Washington, D.C.-based firm to handle.

"When you can't go to a publicist, when you can't go to a lawyer, when you can't go to the cops, you come to us and we fix it," explains Kerry Washington, who plays Pope on the new ABC drama Scandal. (Watch a clip above.)

The show is created by Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice) – so you can expect sexy as well as scandalous – and is inspired by real-life crisis management expert Judy Smith (a former George H.W. Bush administration aide).

"Olivia is so full of contradictions," Washington says of her character. "In her professional life she is always the smartest woman in the room. In her personal life she's a total mess."

Scandal premieres April 5 (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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