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‘For the People’ Cast on TV Workplace Romance in Post-Weinstein Era: It’s ‘Still Okay to Fall in Love’

TCA 2018: “I don’t think sexual abuse of power in the workplace is a tricky territory,” Shonda Rhimes says

Shows in the Shondaland universe like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” are known for their themes of female empowerment and strong female bosses–and a good dose of sexy drama. But in a post-Harvey Weinstein world, some are questioning whether or not it’s appropriate to portray romance in the workplace.

During ABC’s Television Critics Association press tour panel Monday in Pasadena, CA, the cast and producers of the new ABC legal drama “For the People” defended the choice to depict romance between coworkers on screen.

It’s “still ok to fall in love,” said actress Hope Davis, who plays public defender Jill Carlan on the show. “That’s not the same as a boss abusing their power.”

Regé-Jean Page, who plays Leonard Knox, chimed in, “if there’s confusion about romance and abuse, we should show more romance.”

I don’t think sexual abuse of power in the workplace is a tricky territory,” said executive producer Shonda Rhimes. “I think it’s very clear what’s okay and what’s not.” 

“And I don’t think it’s a tricky territory on our shows,” she continued. “When it happens, we talk about it.”

Rhimes added that her shows are works of fiction: “I think work isn’t the place to shoot people in the face either,” she said. “I think a lot goes on in these shows not appropriate in the real world.” 

Creator Paul William Davies added that while there is romance and sex on “For the People,” it wasn’t a priority for him. “It doesn’t come out of the gate right away,” he said. 

“For the People” premieres Tuesday, March 13 at 10 p.m.