Seeking Revenge


I began watching a television series last year that I believe exemplifies our discussion of business, government, and society.  The television series Revenge exemplifies wrongdoing and poor business choices within a global company. The show’s main character, Emily Thorne, has moved into a summer home in The Hamptons. She is renting the home from The Grayson family, infamous for their ownership of Grayson Global. It is quickly revealed that Emily Thorne is in fact, Amanda Clarke, the daughter of the hated David Clarke. While working for Grayson Global years ago, David Clarke was arrested for laundering money to a terrorist group  responsible for the hijack of Flight 197. David Clarke was sent to prison for life, where he was eventually murdered.

The audience then finds out that the Grayson family was responsible for the terrorist attack. They were laundering the money and pinned it on David. Amanda Clarke has returned to the Hamptons after years of self searching and combat training, ready to seek “revenge” on her father’s wrongful persecution. She is now hell bent on destroying the Graysons, crafting ways to take down each employee or friend that shared responsibility in David Clark’s demise. Emily intends to take down each of the players that worked with the Graysons, and then the Graysons themselves. Throughout the first season, the Grayon family is put under constant media scrutiny for tips received from Emily regarding their business practices.

In attempt to get closer to the Grayson family, Emily Thorne dates the son and heir to Grayson Global, Daniel Grayson. This picture represents the media attention that the Grayson family faces when under corporate scrutiny.

The plot of the show is unique in that the writers have turned unethical business choices into a teen thriller. They accurately portray the running of a business, how the key players of the business must make difficult choices to stay in power, and how it has ultimately lead to others seeking revenge on them. The case of the Lehman Brothers comes to mind when discussing this show. The Lehman Brothers made unethical choices and had to pay the ultimate price because of it; bankruptcy. Although the Lehman Brothers never faced any type of “revenge” from a specific person (that we know of), Emily Thorne is the metaphorical presence of karma and a company receiving the payback in which they were owed.

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6 responses to “Seeking Revenge

  1. I too watch this show and think the portrayal of Grayson Global is very similar to the ways that some big corporations are run today. The business choices, relationships and issues that are brought to light connect very well with our class cases. I think another interesting point about the show that relates to our class is the fact that the company’s executives pinned the attacks on David Clarke rather then owning up to their mistakes. I think this also goes along with my post for the week which is about putting the blame on someone else. After an incident or issue companies are quick to put the blame on someone else and coverup their mistakes.

  2. I love Revenge and I think this show is a great example of corporate corruption and how unethical business practices can be made by a company’s top executives, in this case by Conrad Grayson and others at the top of Grayson Global. The fact that Grayson Global is responsible for the terrorist attacks of Flight 197 is clearly unethical, and then to frame an innocent David Clarke and have him take the blame is morally unsound. The Grayson’s have done wrong, and Conrad defends his choice by saying that he was protecting his family, their name, and their reputation. At the same time, Emily is now seeking revenge for the same reasons that Conrad is defending the choices he made, and she often does so in an unethical behavior. When you look at it that way, I think it is hard to say who’s decisions are more unethical than the others (and it probably just depends on who’s side you are on at the end of season 1! )

  3. This seems like an interesting show. I haven’t seen it, but after reading your post I might watch a few episodes. What really caught my eye in this was that a few months ago I was reading an article on why we have unethical business practices, and one of the main reasons was that our society as a whole perpetuates the idea that businessmen should be unethical people. A big part of this, is that image being portrayed in the media. This show seems to be a prime example of how the steriotype of an unethical businessman is spread, and I am curious as to what extent this show, and shows like it actually contribute to unethical behavior in the business world.

  4. So, I must first admit that I am completely obsessed with this show. The whole premise of the storyline has a root in ethics. As Emily Thorne, the main character, fights for what she thinks is right, she is ruining people’s lives. Every inch of this storyline leaves the viewers wondering what is right and which characters to root for. Grayson Global, the company responsible for the death of the main character’s father, is clearly an unethical organization. Their involvement in terrorist attacks clearly demonstrates their emphasis on money making. However, people still want to work for them. Daniel Grayson opts to run the company and other supplementary characters are fighting for positions within the Grayson family and company. Even though they behave so horribly, people are still dying to work for them… sometimes literally. What kind of message does that send?

  5. I am also huge fan of the show and am anxiously awaiting the new season premiere tonight. I thought you perfectly captured Emily’s character when you said “Emily Thorne is the metaphorical presence of karma and a company receiving the payback in which they were owed”. I have never really thought of her as the presence of karma,
    I have always just thought she was a loyal daughter trying to seek revenge on the Grayson’s who wrongfully pinned the terrorist attacks on her father and ultimately killed him. Now that you have put her character into perspective, I can easily see how her character reveals the dark side of big businesses and she can be seen as a hero trying to put an end to this greedy and toxic industry.

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