Why Did Sophie Expose Her Husband James in Anatomy of a Scandal?

A sub-plot of ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ is the gradual dissolution of the marriage between James (Rupert Friend) and Sophie (Sienna Miller). They met when they were studying at Oxford. Both were incredibly good-looking young people belonging to the upper tier of British society, and the connection was instantaneous. When the story opens, they have been married for over a decade and have two children.

However, their lives are rocked when James is accused of raping his political aide, Olivia. Even after that, Sophie supports her husband. But, toward the end of the series, she reveals to Kate Woodcroft that she has reached out to her contacts in the press and told them about certain things that happened on the very night James raped Kate. If you are wondering why Sophie exposed her husband, this is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Why Did Sophie Expose Her Husband James?

To some, Sophie’s actions at the end of the season don’t match how her character has been built up until that point. And it is admittedly a legitimate issue with the show. However, the narrative does provide some explanations for why her character has undergone such a drastic transition, even if they were not executed well. Like her husband, Sophie is a product of privilege and affluence and has her share of entitlement issues, though she is on a completely different level from James. At Oxford, she befriends Holly Berry to exploit the other girl and make her do her classwork.

When James admits his infidelity, Sophie is very much willing to put it all behind her. Even after Olivia levels her rape accusations at James, Sophie stands firmly behind her husband. She criticizes Olivia, agreeing with her husband that his former mistress is out for revenge for ending the relationship. She is there at the court on most days to show solidarity. When an Oxford administrator accuses her husband of raping a fellow student when he was studying at the university, she is initially ready to disregard it as an attempt to jump on the allegation bandwagon against her husband.

However, Sophie then learns the student in question is none other than Holly, and doubts begin to creep into her mind. Unlike Olivia, her opinion of Holly wasn’t framed by what James thought of her.  This is a girl she actually knew. When she realizes that Holly is Kate Woodcroft, her suspicion about her husband grows further. She is forced to acknowledge that James is entitled enough to think that he can take anything he wants.

After James is found not guilty, Sophie leaves him. She has finally realized who he truly is. When James asks what Sophie will tell their children, she responds simply, “The core truth.” This seems to terrify James. His children will not remain young forever. They will be curious about their father. When they come to know what he has done, they might come to despise him.

However, this is not going to be enough of a punishment. Soon after the acquittal, the Prime Minister informs James that he will be back soon in the cabinet, and they can put the scandal in the rear-view mirror. What Sophie does not only upturns their plans but also puts a permanent stop to James’ ambition. It is heavily implied that she has told the press about what happened to Alec, a Libertine member who fell to his death under the influence of smack, which the future Prime Minister Tom Southern provided.

This means that the Prime Minister of England can be implicated in a man’s death, and James can be prosecuted for hiding the fact. He might have gotten away even after sexually assaulting two women, but his career will likely end for good this time. He might even end up in jail. Sophie dubs her actions as “course correction.” For the first time in a long while, she is free to correct her past biases and errors. She has truly come to her own.

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