Scandal (TV series)

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For the South Korean drama series, see Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident.
Scandal
Scandal Intertitle.png
Also known as 'The Fixer (South Africa)
Genre Political thriller
Political drama
Created by Shonda Rhimes
Starring Kerry Washington
Tony Goldwyn
Bellamy Young
Scott Foley
Katie Lowes
Darby Stanchfield
Guillermo Díaz
Jeff Perry
Joshua Malina
Portia de Rossi
Cornelius Smith Jr.
Joe Morton
Columbus Short
Henry Ian Cusick
Theme music composer Chad Fischer
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 90 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Shonda Rhimes
Betsy Beers
Mark Wilding
Producer(s) Merri D. Howard
Scott Collins
Matt Byrne
Heather Mitchell
Cinematography Oliver Bokelberg
Michael Wojciechowski
Editor(s) Karen Castaneda
Matthew Ramsey
Gregory T. Evans
Julia Grove
Christal Khatib
Matthew Pevic
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 43 minutes
Production company(s) ABC Studios
ShondaLand
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release April 5, 2012 (2012-04-05) – present
External links
Official website
Production website

Scandal is an American political thriller television series starring Kerry Washington. Created by Shonda Rhimes, it debuted on ABC on April 5, 2012.[1] Kerry Washington's character, Olivia Pope, is partially based on former George H.W. Bush administration press aide Judy Smith, who serves as a co-executive producer.[2]

The show takes place in Washington, D.C. and focuses on Olivia Pope's crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates, and its staff, as well as staff at the White House and surrounding political scene, which includes President Fitzgerald Grant III, White House Chief of Staff Abigail Whelan, Attorney General David Rosen, Vice President Susan Ross, the Vice President's Chief of Staff Elizabeth North, ex-First Lady and Virginia senator Mellie Grant, NSA Director Jake Ballard, and ex-White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene. In addition to Kerry Washington, the show features Guillermo Diaz and Katie Lowes as assistants at O.P.A.; Tony Goldwyn as the President; Bellamy Young as the ex-First Lady and senator; Jeff Perry as the former White House Chief of Staff; Darby Stanchfield as the White House Press Secretary and current Chief of Staff; Joshua Malina as the Attorney General; Scott Foley as the Director of the NSA; Portia de Rossi as the Vice President's Chief of Staff; Cornelius Smith Jr. as a civil rights activist and associate at O.P.A.; and Joe Morton as Olivia's father and the former head of a spy agency called B613.

The show was named a Television Program of the Year by the American Film Institute, received the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television and was honored as Outstanding Drama Series at the Image Awards. Washington has won the Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series.

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings
First aired Last aired Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 7 April 5, 2012 (2012-04-05) May 17, 2012 (2012-05-17) 62 8.21[3]
2 22 September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27) May 16, 2013 (2013-05-16) 47 8.46[4]
3 18 October 3, 2013 (2013-10-03) April 17, 2014 (2014-04-17) 13 12.00[5]
4 22 September 25, 2014 (2014-09-25) May 14, 2015 (2015-05-14) 8 12.66[6]
5 21 September 24, 2015 (2015-09-24) May 12, 2016 (2016-05-12) 29 10.68[7]
6 16[8] January 19, 2017 (2017-01-19)[9] TBA N/A N/A

Season 1[edit]

Main article: Scandal (season 1)

Season 1 introduced Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and the various members of her firm, as well as President of the United States Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn) and his chief of staff Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry). Season 1 focused on the lives of the team members, the relationship between Olivia and the President (her former employer), and the mystery surrounding Amanda Tanner's (Liza Weil) involvement with the White House, among other cases the team solved.

Season 2[edit]

Main article: Scandal (season 2)

An assassination attempt is made on Fitz's life, which almost kills him. As a result, Sally takes over as President, much to Cyrus' dismay. After surviving, Fitz decides to get a divorce, which Mellie tries to avoid by somehow convincing her OB/GYN to induce her labour 4 weeks early. Huck is arrested for the attempted assassination after being framed by his girlfriend Becky. After David helps Huck go free, Huck, Olivia and her team trick Becky to show up at the hospital where she is arrested. Fitz finds out that Verna was behind the assassination and kills her. At the funeral, he reveals to Olivia that he doesn't want a divorce as he is devastated after learning about the rigging from Verna.

The second arc focuses on finding the mole who is leaking classified information from the White House. Olivia and the team investigate the case after figuring out that the CIA Director's suicide was actually a murder. Olivia gets to know Captain Jake Ballard, who works with the leader of B613, Rowan, who orders Jake to get close to Olivia. At the end of the season, Mellie gives Fitz an ultimatum, either he becomes loyal to her, or she goes on national television and reveals Fitz's affair with Olivia. Fitz chooses Olivia, which makes Mellie reveal the affair. Fitz announces his re-election campaign. As Olivia and the team continue to investigate who the mole is, Huck manages to capture Charlie, who reveals the mole's identity: Billy Chambers. They figure out that Billy is working with David, who steals the Cytron card, but frames Billy and gives Cyrus the card in exchange for being reinstated as US Attorney. At the end, Olivia's name is leaked to the press as being Fitz's mistress, and it is revealed that Rowan is Olivia's father.

Season 3[edit]

Main article: Scandal (season 3)

After Olivia's name is leaked to the press as Fitz's mistress, Olivia Pope & Associates faces financial troubles when all their clients fire them. The firm accepts "new" clients in order to pay the bills. Rowan becomes more involved with Olivia's life, which begins to affect her, and leads Huck and Jake to investigate B613. They discover during a military action code named "Operation Remington", Fitz shot down a civilian aircraft over Iceland and Olivia's mother was one of over 300 casualties. Determined to find out the truth about Operation Remington, the firm investigates Rowan and learns that a passenger was removed from the flight by a Federal Marshall just prior to take off. Quinn starts to hang out with Charlie, who sets her up to kill a security guard who was an eye-witness to the Federal Marshall's removal of the passenger. As a result of Quinn's inadvertent murder, Huck tortures her and she leaves the firm.

Meanwhile, Fitz faces problems when Congresswoman Josephine "Josie" Marcus is in the running to win the Democratic Party primary against Senator Samuel Reston and become the first female president of the United States. Cyrus tries his best to find dirt on Marcus in order to ruin her campaign, but fails. After Olivia finds out that Fitz shot down the plane which killed her mother, she declines the offer of being the campaign manager for Fitz's re-election and becomes the manager for Josephine Marcus'. After an incident with Marcus' sister, Josephine backs out of her campaign. The second part of the season focuses more on the re-election campaign as Olivia has taken over as the campaign manager. At the same time, Sally announces that she is running for President by being an Independent. As a result, Fitz chooses the Governor of California, Andrew Nichols, as his new Vice Presidential running-mate. Nichols develops a relationship with the First Lady, Mellie. The campaign faces problems when Sally, stricken with guilt over murdering Daniel, almost reveals the truth at a debate. Cyrus asks Jake to help protect the secret, which he does by killing James to prevent exposing Cyrus's involvement in the cover up. The president's eldest children, Jerry and Karen Grant, come to the White House for an interview, but Olivia soon figures out that they aren't pleased with their parents.

Season 4[edit]

Main article: Scandal (season 4)

The first half of the season focuses on Jake's arrest for the death of Gerry Grant after Rowan forces Tom to name Jake as the operator. Rowan continues to try to make everyone believe Jake is guilty, which inspires Olivia to find out the truth for herself. After forcing Tom to reveal Rowan as his operator, Fitz, Jake, and Olivia make a plan to arrest Rowan. Unfortunately, the plan fails, causing Rowan to shut down B613 and start eliminating B613 agents. Olivia tries to kill Rowan when she confronts him, but he manages to flee. Abby is now the White House Press Secretary, and is struggling with gaining the respect of Cyrus and Fitz, because they choose to demean her by calling her "Red" instead of Abby. Later in the season, Abby finds herself stressed even more by the presence of her abusive ex-husband, who has been nominated for Virginia State Senator, and she enlists Leo Bergen to help ruin his campaign. Quinn has stayed in contact with both Abby and Huck, in addition to trying to find Olivia.

Mellie struggles with the death of her son, Gerry. She finally comes to terms with her loss after finding out that Gerry was murdered due to being deliberately exposed to bacterial meningitis rather than contracting the disease naturally, and she chooses to form an alliance with Elizabeth North. Later, after having an affair with him, Mellie discovers the true nature of Nichols, who threatens to tell the press about their affair. In the season finale, members of a grand jury gathered by David for the B613 case were killed after the initial hearing. OPA and David begin investing the scene, and realized that Rowan was responsible. He also blackmailed Mellie into giving the names of the members, causing her to feel responsible. Cyrus later finds out the truth, but decides not to tell Fitz. After seeking advice from Maya, Olivia and Jake decides to reveal B613 to the CIA, but it backfires. They later came up with a plan to frame Rowan for embezzlement of the funds at the museum he is working at, having him imprisoned. Later, Fitz finds out the truth about what Mellie and Cyrus had done; he orders them to leave the White House. Elizabeth then takes Cyrus' place as the chief of staff. In the last scene, he reunites with Olivia.

Season 5[edit]

Main article: Scandal (season 5)

On May 7, 2015, ABC renewed Scandal for a fifth season.[10] The show will stay in the 9:00 p.m. time slot. All of the series regulars will return.[11] After the season finale, it was announced that Portia de Rossi has been promoted to a series regular for season five.[12] It was later announced that Cornelius Smith Jr., who had a guest role in season four, would return as a series regular for the fifth season.[13] The writers began working on the fifth season on May 21, 2015 and it premiered on September 24, 2015.[14]

Season 6[edit]

Main article: Scandal (season 6)

On March 3, 2016, ABC renewed Scandal for a sixth season.[15]

Cast and characters[edit]

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6
Kerry Washington Olivia Pope Main
Henry Ian Cusick Stephen Finch Main Guest
Columbus Short Harrison Wright Main
Darby Stanchfield Abby Whelan Main
Katie Lowes Quinn Perkins Main
Guillermo Diaz Diego "Huck" Muñoz Main
Jeff Perry Cyrus Beene Main
Tony Goldwyn Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III Main
Bellamy Young Mellie Grant Recurring Main
Joshua Malina David Rosen Recurring Main
Scott Foley Jake Ballard Recurring Main
Joe Morton Eli Pope Recurring Main
Portia de Rossi Elizabeth North Recurring Main
Cornelius Smith Jr. Marcus Walker Guest Main
  • Kerry Washington as Olivia "Liv" Carolyn Pope, a former White House Director of Communications who is widely regarded as the best "fixer" in Washington. Olivia worked on the presidential campaign of the then-Governor Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, with whom she began an affair. After the election, the affair ended and Olivia started her own crisis-management firm called "Olivia Pope & Associates".
  • Darby Stanchfield as Abigail "Abby" Whelan, who worked as an investigator in Olivia's firm. After Olivia ran away with Jake Ballard after the section presidential election, Abby was hired as the White House Press Secretary. She later managed to remove Cyrus Beene and took over his job as the White House Chief of Staff.
  • Katie Lowes as Quinn Perkins (née Lindsay Dwyer), whom works at "Olivia Pope & Associates. She got involved with Charlie, who turned her away from OPA to B613, but she later returned to Olivia.
  • Guillermo Diaz as Huck (née Diego Muñoz), a previously assassin for B613, who lost his family because of the job. He later began working as a tech guy for Olivia and her firm and is extremely loyal to her.
  • Jeff Perry as Cyrus Rutherford Beene, former White House Chief of Staff and is currently the running-mate in the presidential election with Governor Fransisco Vargas.
  • Tony Goldwyn as Fitzgerald "Fitz" Thomas Grant III, the President of the United States, a Republican former Governor of California from Santa Barbara.
  • Columbus Short as Harrison Wright, a litigator who worked with Olivia. He hired Quinn for the firm, calling them "gladiators in suits". He is murdered by B613 at the end of season three.
  • Henry Ian Cusick as Stephen Finch, a litigator who worked with Olivia and is one of her good friends. He left Washington D.C. to be with his fiancée Georgia and is currently living in St. Petersburg and working for the Russian oligarchy.
  • Joshua Malina as David Rosen, the United States Attorney General for the Grant administration. Through the first two seasons, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, however in the third season he was promoted to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In the fourth season, President Fitzgerald Grant nominated him for Attorney General, in which he was granted.
  • Bellamy Young as First Lady/Senator Melody "Mellie" Grant. Being married to Fitz, she was the First Lady of the United States before Fitz demanded a divorce after her election to become Senator of Virginia. In the fifth season, she runs for President and is nominated as the Republican Presidential Candidate.
  • Scott Foley as Captain Jacob "Jake" Ballard (née Pete Harris), a U.S. Navy intelligence officer attached to the Joint Chiefs of Staff who spies on Olivia Pope at the personal request of President Grant, with whom he served in the Navy during the first Gulf War. Jake was named the director of the National Security Agency in the fifth season.
  • Portia de Rossi as Elizabeth North, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and a political advisor to the First Lady during her senate campaign; she became the Chief of Staff when Cyrus Beene was fired by the president and was later the Vice President's Chief of Staff.
  • Cornelius Smith Jr. as Marcus Walker, a civil rights activist and a former client of Olivia's firm.
  • Joe Morton as Elijah "Eli/Rowan" Pope, Olivia Pope's father, 'Command' of the elite black ops program, B613.

Production[edit]

Conception and development[edit]

Gabrielle Union (left) and Taraji P. Henson (right), both were considered for the role of Olivia Pope.

In early 2011, it was announced that Shonda Rhimes was developing a new pilot. In February, Kerry Washington was cast in a leading role.[16] Actress Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson auditioned for this role alongside Washington before she was officially chosen. Henry Ian Cusick also landed a role in the series.[17] On February 28, 2011, it was announced that Tony Goldwyn landed the role as the president.[18] In May 2011, ABC picked up the pilot as a mid-season replacement.[19] During the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour, it was announced that the show would premiere April 5, 2012 after Grey's Anatomy, relocating Private Practice to Tuesday nights.[20]

The program was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2012, in the same Thursday timeslot, while Private Practice remained in the new Tuesday evening timeslot to finish its final season.[21] Rhimes had stated at the time that the second season would likely be thirteen episodes or less,[22][23] but the renewal of the series after the fall meant that the second season would have two arcs through the season; the first covering the main 13-episode order, with the second arc taking place during the "back nine" order.

Scandal was renewed for a third season on May 10, 2013.[24] Along with other ABC dramas, this season was split into two runs of uninterrupted episodes, the first consisting of ten episodes. The second run, initially set to consist of 12 uninterrupted episodes, began on February 27, 2014.[25] On December 7, 2013, ABC Studios, announced that due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy, the overall episode order would be trimmed from 22 to 18,[26] which led the season finale to air four weeks earlier on April 17, 2014.

Shonda Rhimes is the creator, writer and executive producer of Scandal.

The show was renewed for a fourth season by ABC on May 9, 2014.[27] On May 13, 2014, ABC announced their new schedule, as well as a new time slot for Scandal. The show remained on Thursday night, but it was moved to 9:00 PM E.T. to make room for ShondaLand Production Company's new TV series, How to Get Away with Murder.[28] In August 2014, ABC programmed its entire Thursday primetime lineup with ShondaLand dramas Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, then branded the night as "Thank God It's Thursday" (or "TGIT").[29] This echoes ABC's former TGIF branding of its Friday night family sitcoms and even NBC's Must See TV promotion of formidable Thursday night television hits in the 1990s.[30]

The remaining fall schedule for ABC was announced on October 30, 2014, where it was announced that Scandal would air nine episodes in the fall with the fall finale to air on November 20, 2014, just like the rest of ABC's primetime lineup "TGIT" Grey's Anatomy and How To Get Away with Murder.[31] The remaining 13 episodes aired after the winter break, beginning on January 29, 2015,[32] and ending with the season finale on May 14, 2015.[33]

Scandal was renewed for a fifth season on May 7, 2015, by ABC. The series will continue to air at Thursdays in the timeslot 9:00 p.m. E.T. like the previous season, as it was moved to the timeslot to make room for ShondaLand Production Company's new TV series, How to Get Away with Murder. Production began on May 21, 2015, when Rhimes announced on Twitter that the writers were in full swing mapping the fifth season.[34]

The series was renewed for a sixth season on March 3, 2016, by ABC.[35] Production is scheduled to begin in July, confirmed by executive-producer Tom Verica.[36] After Kerry Washington announced that she was pregnant again, TVLine reported that ABC is considering moving the show's premiere to midseason.[37] In addition, the episode order for the sixth season was reduced from 22 to 16 episodes.[38] During ABC's annual upfront presentation in May, it was announced that Scandal will premiere during midseason, following a fall run of the new series Notorious.[39] Production began on July 13, 2016, with director and executive producer Tom Verica announcing that the crew was scouting for filming locations.[40] The table read for the premiere was on July 26, 2016, with filming starting soon after.[41]

Crew[edit]

Producers Writers Directors
Judy Smith, Jenna Bans, Mark, Fish, Tom Verica, Peter Nowalk, Allan Heinberg, Mark Driscoll, Noah Evslin, Chris Van Dusen, Holden Chang, Peter Noah, Roxann Dawson Jenna Bans, Matt Byrne, Severiano Canales, Mark Fish, Zahir McGhee, Heather Mitchell, Raamla Mohamed, Peter Noah, Miguel Nolla, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, Richard Robbins, Chris Van Dusen, Mark Wilding Tom Verica, Oliver Bokelberg, Steve Robin, Allison Liddi-Brown, Russell Robertson, Mark Tinker, Jeannot Szwarc, Randall Zisk, Stephen Cragg, Michael Katleman, Ron Underwood, Roxann Dawson, Tony Goldwyn, Paul McGuigan, Bethany Rooney, Jessica Yu, Ava DuVernay, Julie Anne Robinson, Debbie Allen, Paul McCrane

Writing[edit]

In an interview with showrunner Shonda Rhimes, she revealed that the fourth season would highlight Darby Stanchfield's character, Abby Whelan. She said "Season 4 is Abby's season. That was by design. A lot of what we know about Abby happens this season."[42] Rhimes also confirmed the speculation about the fate of the character Harrison Wright, who she confirmed was killed.[42] She said that all the people at OPA will cope in different ways to Harrison's death, Olivia the hardest. Rhimes said "It will be very devastating for Abby in a surprising way. You'll see how she's coping with it in a very different way than you would expect."[43] Olivia will deal with her betrayal to everyone she left behind, when she hears about the fate of Harrison. The betrayals changed everyone permanently, and Olivia will have to deal with it.[43]

The series focuses on the story of Olivia Pope, portrayed by Kerry Washington.

Shonda Rhimes stated that the fourth season will focus more on the core characters, as opposed to the third season where more characters were introduced. Rhimes explained why: "Kerry Washington couldn't work 14 hours a day, so we had to tell our story in a different way, and that necessitated other people both picking up the slack in beautiful ways".[43]

Shonda Rhimes said in an interview that the fifth season will begin only a few days after the events in the fourth season finale. She stated that the fifth season will see Olivia and Fitz the only people standing in a single piece, as she said "The world had been fairly blown apart for everybody except Olivia and Fitz. Everybody else was in a fairly blown apart place ... We pick up right there in that environment and we see what happens next." Rhimes continued talking about Cyrus and Mellie and their situation of not being in the White House anymore.[44] Rhimes also confirmed that "the reconstitution" of Team OPA would happen in the fifth season, as Rhimes revealed in an interview with TVLine, as she explained that the Gladiator conceit was sidelined a bit in the fourth season to instead "healing" Olivia. She noted that "a lot of times it was just Huck and Quinn gladiating by themselves. And that wasn’t the same dynamic."[45]

When talking about the presidential campaign storyline in the show, showrunner Shonda Rhimes talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the character Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III not being president anymore. She said "I can't tell you any of that — but there is a plan. Tony is not going anywhere; where would he go?!". Other cast members spoke their opinion about Grant's next arc without the presidency. Tony Goldwyn, the actor playing Fitz, commented "He'll be much happier as the post-president than as the president." Jeff Perry, playing Cyrus Beene, said that "I'd love our show to invent a great role for a president after he's out out office that would reverberate back to the real world." Executive producer Betsy Beers voiced her excitement about the character doing "anything he wanted". Other cast members compared Fitz's next move with former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.[46]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rhimes talked about the presidential election and its factor into the sixth season. She said that it would in both ways, adding that “We are basically going to start our season on election night. Yes, it is going to play into our season, but we’re not going to spend our time playing an election.”[47]

Casting[edit]

The first season had nine roles receiving star billing. Kerry Washington with her role as protagonist of the series, Olivia Pope, a former White House Director of Communications with her own crisis management firm. Columbus Short played the character Harrison Wright, while Darby Stanchfield played Abby Whelan, who begins a relationship with David Rosen. Katie Lowes acted as Quinn Perkins, and Guillermo Diaz played the character Huck, the troubled tech guy who works for Olivia. Jeff Perry played Cyrus Beene, the Chief of Staff at the White House. Joshua Malina played David Rosen, the U.S. Attorney who develops a relationship with Abby. Bellamy Young as First Lady Melody "Mellie" Grant, and Fitz's Vice President nominee, while Tony Goldwyn portrayed President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Thomas Grant III.

Henry Ian Cusick did not return for the second season. In Season 4 he returned to the series as Stephen Finch after leaving the show after the first season.

Several casting changes occurred for the second season. Henry Ian Cusick exited the show and did not return as his character Stephen Finch for the second season as the actor and showrunner Shonda Rhimes came to the mutual decision for him not to come back for the second year.[48] Both Bellamy Young, as First Lady of the United States, and Joshua Malina, as David Rosen, were bumped up to series regulars.[49][50]

On June 14, 2013, Scott Foley was promoted to regular as of the third season.[51] Casting for Lisa Kudrow was announced on August 28,[52] and was revealed to be playing Congresswoman Josephine Marcus for multiple episodes.[53] Private Practice alum Paul Adelstein was announced to join the cast as Leo Bergen, however at the time of the announcement, details on who he would play were kept under wraps.[54] On September 23, 2013, it was announced that Sally Pressman would be playing a recurring role on the show, which turned out to be the sister of Congresswoman Josephine Marcus, played by Lisa Kudrow.[55] Jack Coleman joined the cast in a recurring role as Daniel Douglas, the husband to Vice President Sally Langston.[56]

On November 5, 2013, Khandi Alexander was cast in a recurring role as Olivia's mother for a multiple episode arc.[57][58][59] On December 3, 2013, it was announced that the show was casting for a new role as a handsome, charismatic fella named Andrew, who would be a love interest for Bellamy Young's character, Mellie.[60] A few days later, on December 6, 2013, actor Jon Tenney was announced to have landed the role of Andrew.[61] On January 28, 2014, it was announced that Scandal was casting the guest-starring roles of Jerry Grant and Karen Grant, Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young's characters' children[62] A week later, on February 6, 2014, it was reported that the guest-starring roles of Jerry and Karen had been landed by Dylan Minnette and Madeline Carroll. The duo appeared in the fifteenth episode in addition to the season finale.[63]

On April 25, 2014, it was announced that Columbus Short would not return for the fourth season due to personal reasons.[64] In an interview with the show's creator Shonda Rhimes, she revealed that Short's character Harrison Wright would be killed off.[42] Television host Ellen DeGeneres revealed on Twitter that her wife, Portia de Rossi, was cast in a multiple-episode "top secret arc".[65]

Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres smiling at an event.
Ellen DeGeneres (right) announced on Twitter that her wife Portia de Rossi (left) was cast for the show.

Several guest stars were announced to be cast. On July 30, 2014, Kelen Coleman was reported to appear in the season four premiere.[66] On August 12, 2014, Mary McCormack and Josh Randall were announced to appear on the show as a couple, which aired as part of the season's second episode.[67] Lost alum Sonya Walger was announced to appear on the show in a recurring role, on August 18, 2014.[68] On August 22, 2014, Entertainment Weekly announced that Matthew Del Negro will play a recurring role.[69] It was announced that the role of Karen Grant, one of the Grant family's children, would be recast. On September 5, 2014, Mary Mouser was reported to take over the role.[70] The actress Jasika Nicole was announced to return as Huck's estranged wife for the fourth season on October 17, 2014, appearing first in the fifth episode of the season.[71] Stephen Collins announced on Twitter that he would be returning to Scandal for an episode.[72] However, after a news scandal about sexual abuse allegations towards Collins, the actor was cut out of the episode per ABC's request.[73]

Two alums from the Shondaland produced television show Private Practice were announced to appear in the season. Brian Benben was announced on September 16, 2014, to have landed a guest-starring role for the season.[74] Paul Adelstein was announced to return as Leo Bergen on the show in an episode which would air in November.[71]

It was reported on October 21, 2014, that Michael Trucco was cast as Charles Putney, Abby's abusive ex-husband. Information about his character was that he is the youngest son of former Virginia Gov. James Putney and the ex-husband of Abby Whelan after he physically assaulted her in a drunken rage. He will appear in at least one episode of the fourth season.[75][76] On November 4, 2014, it was announced that Khandi Alexander is going to return as Maya Lewis in the winter finale. Alexander's role was initially meant for only one episode as a guest star, but was upgraded to recurring on November 14, 2014.[77] Jason Butler Harner was cast for the show in a recurring role, and first appeared in the winter premiere, playing Ian Woods.[78] On February 20, 2015, it was reported that comedian Lena Dunham had been cast in an unknown guest role,[79] and will appear in the sixteenth episode.[80] She ultimately portrayed Susanne Thomas, a young woman who writes a scandalous memoir about some of D.C.'s top politicians.

It was announced on February 4, 2016, that Ricardo Chavira would join the show in a recurring role, and would first appear in the eleventh episode.[81] Annabeth Gish was announced on February 8, 2016, to have been cast in a recurring role.[82] The Hollywood Reporter announced on February 18, 2016, that Joe Morton who plays Rowan "Eli" Pope had been promoted to a series regular, and was credited as a regular cast member for the first time in the twelfth episode.[83] TVLine announced on August 6, 2016, that Glee-alum Jessalyn Gilsig will replace Joelle Carter as Vanessa Moss, Jake Ballard's wife.[84]

Filming[edit]

Production started at the beginning of July, as Rhimes tweeted that the writers were hard at work collaborating ideas and mapping out the fourth season.[85][86] Scouting for the season began a few days later.[87] The table read for the first episode was on July 24, 2014,[88] and Rhimes revealed the title of the premiere the same day.[89][90] Filming for the fourth season began on July 28, 2014,[91] and ended on April 28, 2015.[92]

Scouting began in the beginning of July.[93] The table read for the first episode was announced on occur on July 14, 2015 by Kerry Washington.[94] The title of the season premiere, "Heavy is the Head" was revealed on August 8, 2015, by its director Tom Verica on Twitter.[95] Filming for the season began on July 16, 2015.[96]

Several actors working on ShondaLand-produced shows directed an episode for the fifth season. Tony Goldwyn from Scandal directed the second and 17th episode, making it the fourth and fifth episode he has directed on the show. Chandra Wilson who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy directed her first Scandal episode, which was the sixth episode "Get Out of Jail, Free". Scott Foley from Scandal also directed his first Scandal episode, the 16th named "The Miseducation of Susan Ross". Foley's director-debut was announced on Twitter by Foley himself and executive producer Tom Verica.[97]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes ratings per season
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5
Rating 89[98] 89[99] 100[100] 100[101] 92[102]

The show has been met with generally favorable reviews, with a collective score of 64/100 based on 28 critics from Metacritic.[103] Based on advanced screeners sent before the show's premiere, Alan Sepinwall of HitFix stated:

To be perfectly honest, after watching four episodes of "Scandal", I'm not 100 percent clear on what it is that Olivia and her team (most of them fellow lawyers who don't practice law) do, nor on exactly what the show is. I'm also not entirely sure that it matters. "Scandal" is a good example of what a show is about being far less important than how it's about it.[104]

IndieWire, a daily news site reviewed the first season of Scandal, comparing it to the FX show Damages. Stating that the premise was similar and that "Damages" is a hell of a show, and worthy of all the accolades; but it's what Scandal could be, if the envelope was pushed a bit more, and if the show took more risks."[105]

Newsday's Verne Gay called the series "fun", but added:

All the tropes, cliches and (especially) soap conventions series creator Shonda Rhimes has poured so generously into "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" over the years have been poured right back into this Beltway potboiler. The hairpin plot twists. The whiplash character reveals. The bumptious moralizing. The Strong Woman/Wronged Woman character type, and its direct corollary, Weak, Middle-Aged, Married Man Who Secretly Likes Hookers. It's all here![106]

The show however received many more positive reviews during its second season. AV Club's Ryan McGee compared to the show to House of Cards

But Scandal has quite a bit to say about how people in general operate. By extension, it also has a lot to say about the type of television people respond to in this ever-splintered viewing environment. In a year in which almost all ratings are down, Scandal has gone up. Its insane storytelling really isn’t insane at all. Many want to dub House Of Cards the future of television as a whole. In terms of distribution, this may be true. But by giving audiences what they want, and then giving them so much more than they ever expected, Scandal is the show those looking toward the future of television should be aiming to actually produce, regardless of the medium in which it is viewed.[107]

Alan Sepinwall of HitFix also changed his stance:

When "Scandal" debuted last spring, I wasn't sure what to make of it, beyond recognizing that Kerry Washington had the goods to carry a series and Shonda Rhimes had fashioned an excellent role for her. This season, though, Rhimes has kicked the show up to another level by ditching the Crisis of the Week procedural format in favor of reinventing "Scandal" as a gonzo hybrid of conspiracy thriller and high-stakes soap opera, involving election rigging, a presidential assassination attempt, a failed internal White House coup, and all sorts of other crazy shenanigans. It's ludicrous on virtually every level; it's also an enormous amount of fun, thanks to the writing and the performances.[108]

Ratings[edit]

Ratings grew significantly over the second season, reaching a series high with the season finale which increased 25% in Total Viewers and 39% in Adult 18-49 compared to the first season's finale.[109]

The season 3 premiere had 10.5 million total viewers, up 71 percent from last season's start in September 2012.[110][111] The season finale had 10.5 million total viewers, up 15% from last season's finale in May 2013.[112] The third season had an average of 11.5 million in Total Viewers, up 39% from the second season which had a total of 8.3 million. It also went up in Adults 18-49 with 43% with an average of 4.0/12, while the previous season had a 2.8/8. This qualifies Scandal as TV’s fastest growing returning series.[112]

The fourth season premiere also scored a series high in Total Viewers with 11.96 millions and in Adults 18-49 with a 3.8/11.[113]The series was its ratings increase from week to week compared to its broadcasting last year.[114][115][116] The mid-season premiere "Run" was equaled the series's 2nd-highest-ever rating in adults 18-49.[117] The fourth season saw a decrease in the 18-49 key demographic by 5.4 percent to a 2.9, but an increase in total viewers by .86 percent with an average of 9.19 million viewers.[118]

Season Timeslot (EST) Number of Episodes Premiere Finale TV Season Overall rank Overall viewership
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1
Thursdays
10:00 p.m.
7
April 5, 2012
7.33[119]
May 17, 2012
7.33[120] 2012 62[121] 8.21[121]
2 22
September 27, 2012
6.74[122]
May 16, 2013
9.12[123] 2012–13 47[124] 8.46[124]
3 18
October 3, 2013
10.52[125]
April 17, 2014
10.57[126] 2013–14 13[127] 12.00[127]
4
Thursdays
9:00 p.m.
22
September 25, 2014
11.96[128]
May 14, 2015
8.08[129] 2014–15 8[130] 12.66[130]
5 22
September 24, 2015
10.25[131]
May 12, 2016
6.65[132] 2015–16 29[133] 10.68[133]
6 16
January 2017
N/A N/A N/A 2017 TBA TBA

Social media[edit]

Scandal is one of the most popular shows on social media. The cast tweets with their fans when the show is airing on television.[134] During the season three premiere, the show topped Nielsen's Twitter TV Ratings Top 10,[135] with 713,000 tweets that mentioned the show and were seen by an audience of 3.7 million users. The show has also the most loyal Twitter followers according to Nielsen Social.[136]

Accolades[edit]

Scandal has been acknowledged by the ALMA Awards, Image Awards, BET Awards, Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Critics' Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards and People's Choice Awards as well as honored by the American Film Institute and the Peabody Awards.

Kerry Washington, Columbus Short, Guillermo Díaz, Bellamy Young, and Tony Goldwyn have been recognized for their performances. The production team has been honored by the Costume Designers Guild, Society of Camera Operators, BMI Awards and the California on Location (COLA) Awards.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee Result Ref.
2012 13th ALMA Awards Favorite TV Actor – Supporting Role in a Drama Guillermo Díaz Nominated [137]
2013 BET Awards Best Actress Kerry Washington Won [138]
Imagen Awards Best Actor/Television Guillermo Díaz Nominated [139]
44th NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Drama Series Won [140]
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Won
Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series Shonda Rhimes
("Sweet Baby")
Nominated
65th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated [141]
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Dan Bucatinsky Won
TV Guide Awards Favorite Drama Series Won
Favorite Actress Kerry Washington Won
Favorite Ensemble Kerry Washington, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Jeff Perry, Tony Goldwyn, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley Nominated
Vision Awards Best Drama Nominated
2014 BET Awards BET Award for Best Actor & Actress Kerry Washington Nominated [142]
4th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Bellamy Young Won [143]
Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series Joe Morton Nominated
Dorian Awards TV Performance of the Year – Actress Kerry Washington Nominated [144]
71st Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Television Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated [145]
Gracie Awards Outstanding Drama Won [146]
45th NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Drama Series Won [140]
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Joe Morton Won
Columbus Short Nominated
Guillermo Diaz Nominated
66th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated [147]
Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series Joe Morton Won
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series Kate Burton Nominated
Prism Award Drama Series Episode – Substance Use
("Snake in the Garden")
Won
Performance in a Drama Series Episode Tony Goldwyn Nominated
20th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated [148]
TV Guide Awards Favorite Drama Series Nominated
Favorite Actress Kerry Washington Nominated
Vision Awards Best Drama Won
2015 BET Awards Best Actress Kerry Washington Nominated [149]
46th NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Drama Series Nominated [150]
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Guillermo Diaz Nominated
Joe Morton Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Khandi Alexander Won
Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series Zahir McGhee
("Mama Said Knock You Out")
Nominated
OFTA Television Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated [151]
Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Khandi Alexander Nominated
41st People's Choice Awards Favorite Network TV Drama Nominated [152][153]
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress Kerry Washington Nominated
67th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series Khandi Alexander Nominated [154]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress – Drama Kerry Washington Nominated [155]
2016 47th NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Drama Series Nominated [156]
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Guillermo Diaz Nominated
Joe Morton Won
42nd People's Choice Awards Favorite Network TV Drama Nominated [157]
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress Kerry Washington Nominated
Favorite Dramatic TV Actor Scott Foley Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress – Drama Kerry Washington Nominated [158]
Recognition for Scandal
Year Result Award Category Recipients
2013 Won AFI Award Television Program of the Year Scandal
2014 Won Peabody Award Area of Excellence (Television) Scandal

Critics' top ten lists[edit]

Broadcasts[edit]

In the United States Scandal airs on ABC on Thursday nights at 9pm/8pm CT. The program airs at the same time in Canada through the City television system with simsubbing of the ABC feed.

The series airs in Australia on the Seven Network with reruns airing on SoHo, Canal Sony in Latin America, ZFB-TV in Bermuda, Miami's WPLG in the Bahamas (via cable from the United States mainland), and on TVB Pearl in Hong Kong. The first two season originally aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.[162] In 2014 the show was picked up by rival broadcaster Sky Living who will continue from season three onwards.[163] In New Zealand it first aired on TV One but now airs on TV2.

It airs in South Africa on multiple television channels; first run episodes are aired on DStv premium channel M-net which airs the latest episodes weeks after its US airing followed by episodes on rival satellite channel StarSat and Free TV channel; SABC3 since May 2014. On both M-net, and SABC3 the show is re-titled as The Fixer due to a locally originated soap named Scandal! already carrying the show's title on another television channel as to not confuse viewers across rival channels.[164]

In Jamaica, Scandal airs on CVM TV.

Cable syndication[edit]

On July 15, 2013, BET and ABC announced an early syndication agreement, which saw BET carrying a marathon of the first two seasons on August 10 and 17, 2013, then in two-hour blocks on Wednesdays before the show's season three premiere on October 3.[165] BET airs new episodes after an eight-day delay.[166][167]

DVD releases and online availability[edit]

The series's DVD releases currently consist of the first, second seasons and third seasons, and were released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment under the ABC Studios label. Additionally, Netflix currently streams seasons one, two, three, four and five in the U.S and Canada. The fifth season is also streaming on Hulu with new episodes airing every Friday. The show is available via traditional by-episode purchase by most online video retailers, including iTunes.

Season 1
The Complete First Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 7 Episodes
  • 2-Disc Set
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles
  • Scandal: Setting The Pace
  • Gladiators in Suits: Casting a Series
  • Scripting Scandal
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
June 12, 2012 October 7, 2013
Season 2
The Complete Second Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 22 Episodes
  • 5-Disc Set
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles
  • A Closer Look
  • Hanging with Huck
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes/Bloopers
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
September 3, 2013 February 17, 2014
Season 3
The Complete Third Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 18 Episodes
  • 4-Disc Set
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles
  • Extended Finale Episode
  • See the Locations at Set
  • Spotlight Cast Piece: Jeff Perry
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bloopers
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
September 23, 2014 January 19, 2015
Season 4
The Complete Fourth Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 22 Episodes
  • 5-Disc Set
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles
  • Extended Episodes
  • The Fixer – A Day With Kerry Washington
  • Outtakes
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
August 11, 2015 November 23, 2015
Season 5
The Complete Fifth Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 21 Episodes
  • 5-Disc Set
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
August 23, 2016 TBA

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