MIAMI -

Every Thursday night the hit ABC show "Scandal" has viewers on the edge of the seats.

The plot has murder, intrigue, romance and action -- lots of it.

Creator Shonda Rhimes gets her inspiration from real-life crisis manager Judy Smith.

Smith, based in Washington and Los Angeles, has been managing crises for decades. She worked for former President George H.W. Bush, the family of Monica Lewinsky and many more.

She visited South Florida a few weeks ago to headline a fundraiser for the Greater Miami Links Inc.

"I think Shonda has done an amazing job of dramatizing what I do for television," Smith told Local 10.

Smith is thrilled with the role actress Kerry Washington plays on television and said her life can be just as dramatic.

"I am never, ever bored," Smith said. "You know, 9 o'clock there could be a CEO in a crisis, about to get fired. Ten o'clock it's an athlete in trouble. Twelve o'clock it's a celebrity, and I haven't had lunch yet."

Fans love it. Attorney Tarlisha Smith was one of the guests at the Links luncheon.

"The last two episodes have killed me," she said.

Judy Smith is co-executive producer on the show with Rhimes.

"She will say, 'Judy, do you have any ideas? I need something bad to happen. I want something to crash,'" Smith said.

This season, no plot line is predictable, gladiators become villains and all secrets are exposed. At Olivia Pope and Associates, no job is too dangerous or dirty. Local 10 asked Smith if that was how Washington really worked.

"I don't encourage them to beat people to death," Smith said.

Smith recently put all her best crisis management tips in a book entitled, "Good Self, Bad Self."

Her No. 1 piece of advice to people in crisis?

"Tell the truth," Smith said. "It always works."

The show has also opened up the world of crisis management to its audience. When Smith speaks at colleges, she is proud to see that she has inspired a new generation of gladiators.

 "When I go out and talk to young people, they say they had no idea that someone did this for a living," Smith said. "I think this has opened up a whole new world for people and what they want to do with their lives."