Within the current torrent of TV series that guarantee provocative plot, ample backstabbing, a sexy cast of well-to-do characters, and sleeves just full of secrets, Betrayal has joined the ranks in ABC’s scandal dramas. The show premiered September 29 but its 10 p.m. Sunday night slot didn’t cause a lot of stir in the ratings. The show that was inspired by Dutch drama Overspel has been suffering to stay afloat with other shows of the same vein, like Revenge.
But despite TV Guide premonitions that Betrayal just might be the next show to be cut from the fall lineup, Sapphic viewers should know that there’s one good reason to watch—and despite critics’ huffs over the first few episodes, consider this girl very intrigued.
Let’s begin with the most important reason you should watch. Remember when that certain UK show that brought us our favorite couple Naomi and Emily was turned into an MTV spinoff? You may recall the U.S. version of Skins was given the boot, but not before we got our kicks swooning over Sofia Black D’Elia’s character Tea. Sure, she might have gotten it on with Tony but that scene when her grandmother talks to her about secret lavender feelings was tear-dropping. I’m still getting over the cancelation of the show, and the loss of tell-it-like-it-is lez Tea.
The now 21-year-old Sofia plays character Jules Whitman, a witty assistant with serious hacking skills who’s working for Jack McAllister (Stuart Townshend), a legal counsel for prominent Chicago family, the Karstens. The head patriarch Thatcher Karsten is played by James Cromwell, who’s been on everything from Six Feet Under to the role of that creepy doctor on American Horror Story: Asylum, is Jack’s wife Elaine’s father. Jack and Elaine have twin children Valerie (Elizabeth Mclaughlin) and Victor (Braeden Lemasters). Jules and Valerie meet when the kids visit their dad at his office and Jules shows off her tech-savvy ways while simultaneously managing to get Valerie’s number and flirt.
Valerie seems highly intrigued by Jules’ confidence and outward flirtations. It’s clear she’s showing mutual interest. Why be timid when you have Sofia Black D’Elia calling all the shots? Perhaps it has a little to do with feeling overshadowed by the roller coaster of her family’s rocky foundation.
After all, the carafe of Betrayal fills quickly with Jack meeting photographer Sara Hanley (Hannah Ware) and the two become entranced in a torrid affair. Unbeknownst to both, a scandal is underway. At the same time, a murder and its cover-up occur, leaving the Karsten family scrambling and Jack playing damage control. Meanwhile, we discover that Sara’s husband Drew Stafford (Chris Johnson), an ambitious Assistant State’s Attorney with political pipe dreams has been appointed the murder case and is ready to nail Jack’s defense, and up his reputation. Needless to say, Sara is totally devastated and the question of whether this affair will or can continue is left to unravel.
But let’s get back to Jules and Valerie, shall we? It’s unclear how far their subplot will develop, but I think I speak for SBD fans everywhere when I say: This could be really good. Just a few days ago, GLAAD released a report on the representation of LGBTQ characters on TV. Not a signle network received an “excellent” rating, but ABC was a frontrunner for a solid “good rating.”
Hey, ABC—here’s your chance to up the ante and show up all the other networks that keep everything status quo. In between Skins and Betrayal, Sofia starred in nine episodes of the final season of Gossip Girl as Sage, once again proving her dynamic onscreen talent, so we’d really hate to see her and the blooming relationship between Jules and Valerie go.
Not one to hold anything back, we can all appreciate Sofia’s outward cleverness on and off screen. Back in 2011 when a member of the Westboro Baptist Church targeted MTV star Liz Lee from My Life as Liz, Sofia came to her defense via Twitter and what ensued was a total win for the lesbian community when Sofia tweeted: “Listen, you really don’t wanna start with me. I’m a Jew that plays a lesbian on TV.” Hell, yeah! But then, dispatching from the Westboro clan, someone tweeted back, “You’re a whore who plays a whore on TV.” Oh, no she didn’t. Sofia shot back: “And you’re a dumb piece of shit who was raised to hate more than you love, so I guess we’re even.”
Moral of the story: Sofia take pride in our community, will stand up against homophobia—and for that, we’d love nothing more than to continue rooting for her on Betrayal.
So, here’s the deal: Betrayal is not to be missed. I mean it. Between the money, power, sex, and Jules and Valerie brewing one captivating subplot to an otherwise adult-filled show, us lezzies have to feed the fire and keep characters like this burning as long as we can. Hey, there’s already fan-made videos approving their relationship on YouTube. Enough said.
Tune in to Betrayal, Sunday nights at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. Catch up on the first three episodes on ABC.com. Should we recap this budding relationship? Let us know!