What does libertine mean in Anatomy of a Scandal?

Anatomy of a Scandal: Netflix releases trailer for new series

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Anatomy of a Scandal has gone down a huge hit on Netflix as it kept viewers wondering who was telling the truth. Minister James Whitehouse (played by Rupert Friend) had been accused of raping his colleague Olivia Litton (Naomi Scott). A newspaper article described James as a libertine, but what does it mean?


What does libertine mean in Anatomy of a Scandal?

The courtroom drama is based on the book of the same name and it follows the breakdown in the relationship between James and his wife Sophie (Sienna Miller).

Viewers discover how James is accused by his colleague Olivia of raping her in a lift whilst at work.

The pair had been having an affair and after the relationship ended, Olivia claimed James turned violent.

Prosecution barrister Kate Woodcroft (Michelle Dockery) was adamant Olivia was telling the truth.

She was in fact known as Holly Berry in her university years and was sexually assaulted by James in the same way.

Olivia’s claims against James soon hit headlines and tore his family apart.

James’ daughter Emily (Amelie Bea Smith) found an old newspaper cutting which was about her father.

She asked her mother what the word libertine meant as it was plastered on the page.

The dictionary definition is “a person, especially a man, who freely indulges in sensual pleasures without regard to moral principles”.

The word can also be used as an adjective meaning “characterized by free indulgence in sensual pleasures”.

Sophie was desperate for her husband to be proven innocent, but she has insight into his past.

The pair met at university and Sophie had seen the kind of young boy James was.

He was considered a ‘player’ and his friends had a similar reputation.

During the trial, a second rape allegation was made against James.

Viewers discovered how the claim had been made by Holly Berry, who was one of Sophie’s old friends.

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Nobody had seen Holly for years and there was no way of contacting her to question her about the claim.

Yet through Kate’s perspective, fans learned how she was in fact Holly Berry.

She had changed her name and her appearance, having never reported the incident at the time.

This is why she was so adamant James was guilty of raping Olivia.

Flashbacks showed how a young James (Ben Radcliffe) had forced himself upon her after a university party.

He realised she was a virgin and took advantage of her, and they had both been drinking.

Overcome with fear and confusion, Holly (Nancy Farino) had no idea how to react.

She closed off from her friends and started a new life in the hope she would forget.

Yet the case between James and Olivia brought everything back.

Anatomy of a Scandal is airing on Netflix now.

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