In most American productions that use the continuity editing system (unobtrusive cuts), fragmentary imagery is perceived as a verisimilar place and is thus not usually questioned. Rarely is there a noticeable glitch in the cinematic layout. Perhaps when this does occur, it is noticeable because one has grown familiar with a particular spatial imaginary that is now breached. An example of such spatial discontinuity recently materialized in the American television show Scandal. The political drama, currently in its fourth season, centers around Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, who is a former White House Communications Director now running her own crisis management firm. In episode 10 of season 4, “Run,” Olivia Pope is abducted from her apartment and taken to an undisclosed location. In the following brief discussion of the opening sequence, I pay particular attention to the plausibility of the layout of Olivia’s apartment and the floor it is on.
In over 60 episodes throughout 4 seasons, the viewer has never seen a particular corner of the entrance hall to the two apartments on Olivia’s floor. Only three out of four sides that make up the square of this space are known: (1) the elevator, (2) Olivia’s apartment entrance door, and (3) her neighbor’s apartment entrance door. Number (4) is presumably a wall between this entrance hall and Olivia’s hallway to her bedroom.
The sequence seamlessly sutures together unconnected spaces through unobtrusive cuts and a soundtrack fusing all fragments to create a wholeness of this specific place. Thus the spatial discontinuity is masked through the urgency of the situation created by this key plot event (narrative development), Olivia and Jake’s reactions (performance), and musical motifs signaling danger (sound). In this sequence, the question of spatial verisimilitude is moved to the background to create viewing pleasure. Spectators are encouraged to feel emotional involvement towards their heroine’s predicament rather than question the invented physical world.
If one does consider the layout of Olivia’s apartment, one realizes that the fire-escape door is impossibly placed: the door would in reality lead straight into her hallway. If one were to further question the spatial layout of the entire floor, it would become clear that the neighbor’s living room also overlaps with Olivia’s bedroom. Nevertheless, this sequence entertains by creating an imaginary wholeness the spectator is discouraged to assess. Instead, the narrative is foregrounded to disregard spatial coherence. This brief example shows that the perception of space in film and television requires the suspension of disbelief not merely regarding plot or characters but also in terms of spatial integration in the construction of its physical world.
 For a discussion of set design in film, particularly 1930s European cinema, see: Sue Harris, Tim Bergfelder, and Sarah Street, eds., Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema, (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2014).
 See, for example, John Gibbs, Mise-en-Scène: Film Style and Interpretation (London: Columbia University Press, 2002); or David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 10th ed. (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2012).