The ABC drama showed why #BlackLivesMatter on Thursday

If Scandal‘s latest episode left you feeling completely gutted, you’re not alone.

On Thursday night, the addictive ABC series known for its outlandish twists – rigged elections! government conspiracies! an online bidding war for the president’s mistress! – grounded the drama in something very real: racism.

Titled "The Lawn Chair," the episode took on the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer: an allusion to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. When the boy’s father, played beautifully by Courtney B. Vance, rushed to the crime scene, guarding his son’s body with a shotgun, it became a tragedy that even the great Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) struggled to fix as she was forced to reconcile her job with her identity.

The episode exploded on Twitter, with Pope’s real-life inspiration Judy Smith and Selma director Ava DuVernay thanking the cast and crew.

Creator Shonda Rhimes, director Tom Verica and the show’s stars shared the process of shooting such an emotionally raw but important episode.

Scandal airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.