All Roads Lead to Olivia Pope! Scandal Cast Tease Tumultuous Season 3
They say all roads lead to Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), but when Scandalreturns for its third season on Thursday (10/9c, ABC), all roads lead to Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). That's because she was named as the President's mistress in the Season 2 finale. How will the professional fixer handle being the focus of a scandal? More importantly, how will Fitz and the White House deal with it? TVGuide.com hit the set of the ABC drama to get the scoop from the cast:
Olivia Pope is the First Mistress! An as yet unknown person released her name to the press, who bombarded her in the closing minutes of the Season 2 finale. Kerry Washington: We pick up minutes after the season finale. So we see her immediately in the car with her dad (Joe Morton). That's what the first episode is about. It's about who told and why, and it's shocking. I think it's good because it's a real test of her resilience. It's a test of how well the people around her are able to support her or not, and whether everybody's able to do that in concert.
With Olivia Pope now being the most infamous name in the world, OPA — Quinn (Katie Lowes), Abby (Darby Stanchfield), Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and Harrison (Columbus Short) — will face some backlash as they attempt to help their fearless leader through this scandal. Katie Lowes: She is the mistress of the free world. We got [the script for the] first episode back for Season 3 and we realized, "Oh my gosh, we don't know anything about Olivia Pope and her past! Who she is?"This is the biggest thing ever. You think about election rigging and you can't get any bigger, right? But it comes out that she's sleeping with the President and everyone knows and now she's like Monica-freaking-Lewinski. Guillermo Diaz: They're just thinking, "Protect her. We got to make this OK for Olivia. We got to make this OK no matter what." Especially for Huck, he's got this protective stray dog instinct. Washington: It makes it hard, because they go from being people who manage other people's crises to people who have to manage their own crisis in a big way. It's one thing when it's Quinn's crisis or any other Gladiator, but when Olivia herself is at the center of it, it challenges things. It's hard for everybody to figure out their roles. If she's the client, how can she be the boss? Lowes: It becomes a huge conflict of how we do our jobs. All of a sudden our boss is the biggest scandal. How do we get clients? How is anyone ever going to trust us? How are we going to have Olivia Pope fix other people's problems when she's the biggest problem? How do we survive as a business? Darby Stanchfield: There arehuge consequences, even just keeping the lights on. It affects all of us on a very deep level and affects our livelihood. The Gladiators really get back to Gladiating. It really comes back to them fixing things right and left and they're also super loyal. It's an incredibly complicated situation, so it's not as simple as us throwing her photo up on the board and doing steps A-B-C and it's done in an episode. Quite simply, the fans are going to love it because it's the Gladiators at their best.
But OPA won't be the only ones dealing with this scandal since it has direct ties to the White House and President Grant. Tony Goldwyn: It's like a tsunami. It's like a Pandora's box being opened up. It's a disaster. Suddenly the White House is in crisis mode. They need to find out who the hell did this. Who leaked this information? Why? Fitz gets really calm while Cyrus is running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Mellie's freaking out. So you're coming into this season and it's like the house is on fire Jeff Perry: Cyrus gave himself a heart attack trying to make all his colleagues behave in a way that he would like, and he's been unsuccessful. Bellamy Young: Well, Olivia's the client now, right? So Mellie then assumes she is the fixer and Mellie's deciding heads need to roll and which heads will roll. Mellie knows exactly who she wants to throw under the bus. She will manage the situation and get us all back on track and into reelection, because we're staring down the barrel of reelection now. This cannot happen. This cannot be going on right now, so Mellie knows how to fix it. Perry: Mellie and I find ourselves on lockstep on how we fix this. Find the source. Destroy the source. That's what we intend to do, [but] something happens. Then Cyrus is on an almost kind of lone wolf [mission] and is about as conflicted as we've seen him — in someone who can be pretty ruthless — about the necessary agenda for the presidency. For the republic, am I going to have to compromise Olivia? Am I going to have to go after her? Young: Mellie had very particular ideas on how to manage Olivia's name out there and they will likely be at odds with everyone else's idea, because that just seems to happen when Mellie has an idea. I know Mellie has so much respect for Olivia and definitely sees her as an equal as she's a strong, capable, flawed woman who's being held back by her love for one man in particular, so we have a lot in common. But primary in her focus is Fitz and their second term.
Now that Olivia has been named Fitz's mistress, it seems likely that one of the steamiest couples on TV are done for, especially since Fitz went crawling back to Mellie in the finale. Washington: I only have an idea what [their relationship] looks like in the first few episodes, and it continues to be really complicated, but they continue to be two people who care for each other very deeply and continue to navigate that in a complicated world. Goldwyn: Fitz still has Olivia very much under his skin. His return to Mellie is very complex and you find out more about that early in Season 3. Mellie and I continue to have this very bizarre partnership where she's an extremely effective business partner and strategist. There's this love-hate relationship — not really love-hate — he has compassion for Mellie, but at the same time, he's repulsed by her and her impulses. Fitz and Olivia can't get each other out of their systems at all. Washington: I think they go through periods of really trying. Especially Olivia really tries to let it go. I think we'll see her struggle with that.
Olivia's dad may be happy to hear that, but Rowan will also be the source of a lot of Olivia's problems early on this season. Washington: It's really complicated. There's a lot of history there. It doesn't all get explained in that premiere episode. It gets explained over a few episodes in a way that is enlightening and confusing at the same time.
Scandal returns Thursday at 10/9c on ABC. Will you be watching?
‘Scandal’ may be TV’s most exhilarating drama. It also may be its most confusing. To get ready for Thursday’s season three premiere, here are the five biggest plot points from season two.
Sometimes you finish an episode ofScandaland need a nap.
ABC’s political-drama-soap-opera-romantic-thriller is absolutely bonkers. In a given episode, a sex tape will be revealed, a main character will have a heart attack, the President and the First Lady will break up and get back together, and someone will try to kill Kerry Washington. The screen cuts to black. You breathe a sigh of relief. Then you have the realization that this isn’t the end of the episode, but just the first commercial break.
To call Scandal TV’s wildest series would be true, but also a gross understatement of the level of transfixing craziness the drama serves up week after week. Starring Kerry Washington as D.C. crisis manager Olivia Pope, wearer of the District’s most immaculate wardrobe, each episode of Scandal merges a weekly case—the “scandal” of the week, if you will—with the torrid tale of Pope’s hot-and-cold-and-then-scalding-and-then-frigid love affair with the (very married) President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn). There’s also an election-rigging cover-up, a mole in the White House, and a top-secret government organization that’s attempting to assassinate the show’s lead, to name a few of the high-octane plot lines.
Thanks to a massive following of Gladiators (the name adopted by Scandal fans) who tweet about each episode with a ferocity that rivals the show’s own pacing, the series was one of network TV’s biggest breakout hits last season. With season three set to begin Thursday night, and so many cliffhangers and plot lines to resolve, here’s a cheat sheet of everything you need to remember before tuning in.
1. Olivia Chooses Work Over Love
Tracking the ups and downs of Olivia’s affair with President Grant (better known as “Fitz”) is a ride that requires copious amounts of Dramamine. But when the finale begins, they are very much together. First Lady Mellie Grant has moved out of the White House, rejected by Fitz. He’s so committed to Olivia that he tells her he’s going to win a second term and move her into the White House as his girlfriend, maybe even his new wife.
The President’s chief of staff—and Olivia’s close friend—Cyrus is unhappy with this plan, convinced that Fitz can never be re-elected without Mellie by his side. Olivia tells Cyrus about the attempt on her life, telling him, “I know who it was and I know why and I don’t care. Fitz and I are going to be together.” Cyrus, however, has other plans—and has other secrets to reveal. He shows Fitz a sex tape that Olivia had (unknowingly) made with Jake (Scott Foley), a man the president had hired to keep her safe. He reveals to Olivia that Fitz killed her close friend Verna (Debra Mooney), a co-conspirator in the election rigging, after Verna, on her deathbed, told him that she was going to go public confessing the fraud.
In the final minutes of the finale episode, Olivia makes the decision to leave Fitz. She realizes everything is out of control: her relationship and the lengths she’s forced her co-workers to go to cover up the scandals. She rules that she can’t abandon her co-workers: “They need me. I’m their Gladiator.” She tells Fitz to run for president again with Mellie on his arm.
2. Someone Is Trying to Have Olivia Killed
Jake (remember him, the one from the sex tape?) is a Navy buddy of Fitz’s who he hires to spy on Olivia—as well as protect her—while they’re broken up. Jake also, it turns out, is a member of a top-secret killer CIA division named B-613, which hired him to sway Olivia away from Fitz. Part of that mission included wooing her, and the two eventually have sex, the proof of which is captured on surveillance cameras Jake sets up around Olivia’s apartment. Jake ends up genuinely falling for Olivia. So when B-613’s head honchos order a hit on her, Jake puts himself at risk with the dangerous organization to save her. When we last see Jake, he’s being thrown into a holding cell by Rowan, the B-613 commander.
3. The Election-Rigging Scandal Is ‘Handled’
David Rosen (Josh Malina) was the attorney hell-bent on uncovering the Grant administration’s election-rigging scandal. In a nutshell (though nothing on Scandaleasily fits in a nutshell), through a series of flashbacks throughout the season, we learn that Grant’s core campaign team—which included Olivia, Cyrus, Mellie, Verna, and a skeezy Texas power player named Hollis (Gregg Henry)—rigged election-voting machines to ensure Grant’s victory, because they were nervous that he was slipping in the polls. All of the information about their plan is kept on a chip called the Cytron card, which is locked up in Olivia’s office.
Olivia and her Gladiators craftily shut Rosen down early on in the season, effectively ruining his career. But he comes back into their lives after being framed for murder and ends up living in their office while they try to keep him out of harm’s way. While there, he gamely helps the team “handle” a series of cases, including tracking down the person who ends up, by the end of the season, stealing the Cytron card in order to bring down the Grant presidency.
It turns out, though, that it’s actually Rosen who steals the card. He’s in cahoots with Billy Chambers, the government mole responsible for multiple murders and the leaking of government secrets, and who wants the Cytron card to finally get Grant out of office for good. While meeting Chambers to hand over the Cytron card, Rosen gets him to confess to all of these crimes. As it turns out, he was wearing a wire the whole time and the card he gives him is a fake. In return for outing the mole and handing back the Cytron card, Rosen gets Grant to appoint him District Attorney.
4. The Affair Is Leaked
Olivia and Fitz’s affair was an open secret to almost everyone who worked in the White House and on Olivia’s team. And though Mellie, in an attempt to blackmail Fitz into getting back together, revealed in a TV interview that the president had a mistress, she never actually named Olivia. In the finale’s dramatic final moments, and the morning after breaking up with Fitz, Olivia leaves her apartment to go for a run only to be greeted by a throng of reporters asking her about her affair with the president. Someone outed her. She can’t breathe (and neither can we).
As she stands dumbstruck while the swarm of reporters fire questions at her, two thugs in suits grab her and drag her through the crowd into a limo. Sitting across from her is Rowan, the B-613 commander who ordered her assassination. She sees him and says the absolute, unequivocal, without a doubt last thing any viewer of the show would ever expect her to say: “Dad?”
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