McNamara’s Picks: ‘Scandal,’ ‘Family Tree,’ ‘Elementary’

Los Angeles Times Television Critic

“Scandal”: Shonda Rhimes’ whacked-out buzzfest of a political drama comes to a much-fanticipated close after its first full season (it debuted as a mid-season replacement.) As super-sleuth and super-stylin’ D.C. power-fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) continues her on-again/off-again (currently very much on) affair with the perpetually lovesick President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) -- your tax dollars at work! -- she and her fellow gladiators are also desperate to reveal the traitor passing state secrets out of the White House directly to terrorists. And the right one this time, please--when they previously, and wrongly, accused the CIA director, he wound up dead.

GRAPHIC: Critics’ Picks

Eager to please its Twitter-lovin’ audience, “Scandal” prides itself on U-turn plot twists and shocking reveals and Rhimes has built up high expectations for the season finale. Is chief of staff and Olivia pal Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) the mole? Will Fitz finally divorce Mellie (Bellamy Young)? Will Huck (Guillermo Díaz) finally make use of his assassin skills? Will someone explain to me why Olivia is carrying long white gloves but not wearing them? Prepare to be shocked and most likely cliffhung, gladiators! ABC, Thursday, 10 p.m.

“Family Tree”: We never dared hope that Christopher Guest would bring his mockumentary talents to television, but he did and it’s wonderful. Sorting through a trunk full of family detritus left him by a distant aunt, Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd in full sad-sack-seductive) begins a quest for his roots. Aided by his father Keith (Michael McKean), his sister Bea (Nina Conti) and her talking monkey puppet and his adorably absurd friend Pete (Tom Bennett), Tom makes a Guestian hero journey throughout England and eventually to Los Angeles, encountering all manner of odd and insightful folk along the way. Sweet, sad, very British (it’s co-written by U.K. actor Jim Piddock) and utterly hilarious. HBO, Sunday, 10:30 p.m.


“Elementary”: In the two-hour season finale of the modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes, we meet the iconic Irene Adler (“Game of Thrones” and “The Tudors’” Nathalie Dormer), glimpse the cause of Holmes’ (Jonny Lee Miller) fall into addiction, continue the education of Lucy Liu’s Watson and play more cat and mouse with the mysterious Moriarity. Benedict Cumberbatch had better be careful; soon we won’t care if “Sherlock” comes back or not. CBS, Thursday, 10 p.m.