Stars: Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Joshua Malina, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young

There are no innocents. Nowhere was this more evident than on ABC's gonzo-political thriller Scandal this past season.

Kerry Washington plays the never-not-fierce Olivia Pope. She's Washington's best PR fixer and a woman madly in love with the leader of the free world. But Pope's on-again, off-again romance with the president is just a small piece of the puzzle that shapes Shonda Rhimes' D.C. I've written before about the show's refusal to recognize race-perhaps its greatest triumph, but equally its Achilles heel.

At Scandal's nucleus—really, what makes it a must-watch—is its absence of heroism. You'd be hard-pressed to find a character that hasn't lied to, cheated on, or framed someone else. There are no good guys in this D.C.—everyone plays the villain. Like clockwork, every week the show unraveled in dramatic, often unrealistic, fashion: the president murders a Supreme Court justice, a friend frames the love-interest of another friend, the White House chief of staff takes out an assassination attempt on a lobbyist.

We tuned in religiously, wondering what backdoor deal, murder attempt or life-altering lie would play out next. That's the hallmark of a great show: Amid all the chaos and deception, we somehow find ourselves rooting for the deeply-flawed, deeply-human characters who'd probably cross us to get ahead. —JP