Scandal Information

Scandal is an American political thriller television series starring Kerry Washington. Created by Shonda Rhimes, it debuted on ABC on April 5, 2012. Kerry Washington's character, Olivia Pope, is partially based on former George Bush administration press aide Judy Smith, who serves as a co-executive producer. The show takes place in Washington, D.C. and focuses on Olivia Pope's crisis management firm, Pope & Associates, and its staff, as well as staff at the White House.


Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) dedicates her life to protecting the public images of the nation's elite and making sure their secrets never get out. Olivia is a former White House Communications Director for the president, but has left to start her own crisis management firm, Olivia Pope and Associates. She is hoping to begin a new chapter of her life, but is finding out that she cannot leave parts of her past behind without having a definite soft side.

Olivia Pope and Associates staff includes Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cusick), a womanizer considering settling down, Harrison Wright (Columbus Short), a smooth and efficient litigator, Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), the firm's investigator, Huck Finn (Guillermo Diaz), a hacker with a CIA past, and recent recruit Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), a fresh faced lawyer with a world-shattering secret.

Series overview

See List of Scandal episodes for more information

Season One: 2012

The first season of the show introduced Olivia Pope and the various members of her firm, as well as President of the United States Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), his chief of staff. Season one focused on the lives of all the team members, the relationship between Olivia and her former employer, the president, and the mystery surrounding Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil) and her involvement with the White House, among other cases the team solves.

Season Two: 2012"2013

Several cast changes occurred including Henry Ian Cusick's exit as Stephen Finch and Bellamy Young and Joshua Malina being bumped up to series regulars. Season Two began airing in September in the same time slot.

Cast and characters

Main cast

  • Kerry Washington as Olivia Carolyn Pope, who runs a crisis management firm. She is shown to be very dedicated to her work and to the people she helps. Her staff is very loyal to her because she has saved each of them from a problem in their past. Cyrus was her mentor and she worked on the Grant presidential campaign, during which she and then-Governor Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III began an affair. After becoming President, Fitz pressures Olivia, then the White House Press Secretary, to continue the affair. Although she still has feelings for him, Olivia knows that's impossible, leading to her resignation. It was Olivia and the president on the recording that Billy Chambers had. She was going to reveal to the world that it was her in order to save the President, but didn't because he convinced her not to. At the beginning of season 2, it is revealed that Olivia had something to do with Quinn Perkins's past and that she made a call that eventually got Quinn's case thrown out, saving her from the death penalty. Olivia is shown to have a contentious relationship with Mellie, the First Lady; the two women cannot stand each other. Olivia is now not speaking to Fitz because it is hard for her to accept that their relationship is not going to have a happy ending.
  • Columbus Short as Harrison Wright, a lawyer who works with Olivia. He is very bright and very loyal to her. It is revealed that he used to work in Takoma Park before he started working for a man named Adnan Salif, making himself a lot of money. When Adnan went down for insider trading, he managed to get six months in jail because Olivia defended him pro bono. Harrison is shown to have a very brotherly relationship with Quinn and he looks out for her. He has called Olivia's team "gladiators in suits". In the season 2 premiere, it is shown that he is working on Quinn's case, and even though he knows that it will be hard to win, he believes in her innocence. He is shocked when the judge rules in their favor and the case is dismissed. He's becoming closer to Quinn and the two are shown to be pretty good friends, having drinks together in the office.
  • Darby Stanchfield as Abby Whelan, who works as an investigator in Olivia's firm. Abby was married to a man named Charles Putney, the youngest son of former Virginia governor James Putney. She left him when he beat her in a drunken rage. Olivia got a tire iron and broke Charles's kneecap. She also helped Abby get the best divorce attorney in the state to help her get out of her marriage. Abby is extremely loyal to Olivia because she helped her get her life back together, but she gets angry with her when she doesn't act like the Olivia who helps people. In the season 2 premiere, it is shown that she is helping Olivia with Quinn's case, even though she believes that she is guilty. Abby was sleeping with David Rosen after she found his wall that has pictures of Quinn and Olivia all over it when she broke into his house. However, after Olivia found out about their relationship, she asked Harrison to end it. Harrison planted false information, painting David as a girlfriend abuser and paid off his former girlfriend to lie to Abby about it. Abby broke up with him after discovering this information, even after David denied it.
  • Katie Lowes as Quinn Perkins/Lindsay Dwyer is revealed in the season 2 premiere to be Lindsay Dwyer, on trial for murder because she is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend and six other people in a drunken rage. She called her boyfriend, threatening him after she found out that he cheated on her. A mysterious package shows up at her ex-boyfriend's workplace, killing him and six other people. It is revealed that Quinn ran away to a hotel room, frightened by what happened, and that someone broke in and injected her with a needle; she woke up in Washington, D.C., with a new identity. She is acquitted of all charges after Olivia makes a phone call. It is also shown that Olivia and Huck have something to do with her past, because Huck is shown in front of Quinn's hotel, then getting into Olivia's car and driving away. Quinn is extremely caring and she has a brotherly relationship with Harrison Wright. She was dating reporter Gideon Wallace, but he was murdered by Billy Chambers.
  • Guillermo Diaz as Huck. He was recruited by the C.I.A. fresh out of college and was in Black Ops. He is now working as the tech guy in Olivia's firm and is extremely loyal to Olivia, willing to do anything she asks of him. He takes pleasure in hurting people and tries to avoid doing so. Olivia knows this and asks him to use what he knows only in desperate situations. When she asks him to find Amanda Tanner's body to give to her father, Huck tortures the man who trained him until he reveals the whereabouts of Amanda's body. It is shown that Olivia found Huck when he was a homeless man on the street. When she worked on the Grant campaign, she brought him coffee every day. In the season 2 premiere, it is revealed that it was Huck and Olivia who left the new identity for Quinn. Huck recently told his AA group that he has begun "drinking whiskey" again, meaning that he has started killing again, and he says at the meeting that he really enjoys it, doesn't feel bad about it, and doesn't know if he can stop drinking again.
  • Joshua Malina as David Rosen, U.S. Attorney (recurring, Season 1; regular, Season 2) He is shown to be a stickler for the law, believing that it is his job to uphold it. He often says that he wears "the white hat". He and Olivia have a friendly rivalry going on when she gets involved in the cases he prosecutes. He is shown to be a good guy, willing to help Olivia -- within the law. In season 1, it is finally revealed that he knows who Quinn really is and that he intends to send her to jail. In the season 2 premiere, he is prosecuting Quinn, even recommending the death penalty. When the judge rules in favor of the defense, David is shocked, because he has a solid case against her. When he spots Olivia and asks what she did, she just smiles and walks away. David was sleeping with Abby Whelan to gain more information on the case he lost against Olivia, though he was actually starting to like her. This ended when Abby left him due to false evidence of girlfriend abuse. When David finally gathered enough information, he realized that the bombing in Cytron was a cover to the fact that the president campaign was rigged. He decided to dig deeper into the conspiracy that was covering this up, even using James Novak to help him gather evidence and be his witness in court. However, when James is brought to the witness stand and lies about finding anything, David loses his chance to go forward with his prosecution. 10 months later, David loses his position as U.S. Attorney and is reduced to teaching an intro course at a D.C school. He hates Olivia and her team for ruining his life, but turns to them for help when he is framed for murder.
  • Jeff Perry as Cyrus Rutherford Beene, White House Chief of Staff. He is a quiet man but is revealed to be extremely ambitious, calculating, and extremely loyal to the President, even willing to kill to protect him. He was Olivia Pope's mentor and is a good friend to her. Cyrus worked on Fitz's campaign and brought Olivia on after they lost Iowa in the primaries. He is shocked when he learns about the affair between Olivia and Fitz. He is extremely upset when he learns about Amanda Tanner and that Olivia is representing her, and he goes so far as to wage war with Olivia. It is revealed that he hired the contractor to kill Amanda Tanner so she would not come forward. When Cyrus tells Olivia that the president is giving up his seat in the White House for her, he tells her some men can't be normal, changing her mind and helping her get Fitz and Mellie back together. Cyrus is revealed to be gay and to have a husband. Cyrus and Olivia are on good terms toward the end of season 1, working together to save Grant's presidency, although Olivia makes it clear that she knows what Cyrus is capable of when the president "lets him off his leash." Throughout season 2, Cyrus is struggling with keeping Defiance from coming to light, helping Fitz with his decision-making, and keeping his husband James from finding out the truth. He even adopts a baby girl for James, knowing that it is what he wants for their relationship. When Cyrus believes Hollis was responsible for Fitz's attempted assassination, he hire his own assassin to "end the problem", showing that he is willing to go to great lengths to protect everything Defiance worked for. He even goes as far as to nearly kill James for being David's witness to their conspiracy, but calls it off at the last minute. 10 months after Verna's funeral, he is shut out by Fitz for his involvement in the rigging, no longer able to give advice and influence the president's decisions.
  • Bellamy Young as First Lady Mellie Grant (recurring, Season 1; regular, Season 2) She is shown to be a strong but cold and calculating woman willing to do anything to stay in the White House. It is shown that she and her husband have no relationship and stay together purely for political reasons. Mellie was a lawyer and gave up her career to support her husband. Olivia is shocked to learn that Mellie not only knew about Fitz's affair with her, but encouraged it, and in fact, blames Olivia for the entire Amanda Tanner situation (reasoning that if Olivia had "played her part" as Fitz's mistress, Tanner would never have gotten involved at all). At the end of season 1, she is planning to leave her husband after he tells her that he doesn't care about the presidency any more and just wants to live a normal life. Olivia stops Mellie and brings her back to Washington D.C. to help Olivia save Fitz's presidency and his marriage. In season 2, Fitz and Mellie hate each other more than ever, with Mellie beginning to overstep the bounds of her position. She now wants to be included in security meetings and is threatening Cyrus to get what she wants, but he's not buying it. After Fitz is nearly assassinated and demands a divorce from her, Mellie induces her pregnancy in a last ditch effort to keep them together as well as maintain her position as First Lady. After Fitz finds out about Defiance and stays with Mellie, she tries to side with him and keep him from overworking, even putting all the blame on Cyrus for the rigging.
  • Tony Goldwyn as Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, is the President of the United States, a Republican former Governor of California from Santa Barbara. He is in love with Olivia Pope and wants to divorce his wife to be with her. Fitz and his wife don't love each other anymore, but stay together because it helps their image. He started his affair with Olivia on his campaign trail and has been seeing her ever since, even though their relationship is hard to manage. He sleeps with Amanda Tanner when he became upset that Olivia won't see him. He started to lie about it to Olivia at first, but then reveals the truth. They are caught together by Cyrus, who tells him Amanda Tanner is blackmailing him and Olivia Pope is now representing her. When Olivia won't talk to him, he goes to her house and they sit together on the couch holding each other. When the news breaks about what Billy did, Fitz is happy because he views this as a chance to get out of his marriage and be a normal man with the woman he loves, but Olivia stops this and helps him get back with his wife, upsetting and confusing him. In some ways, Fitz is more obsessed in his love for Olivia. While Olivia has tried moving on and tried keeping a professional relationship, Fitz constantly tries to put affections on her and even snuck away to be at her house. In season 2, he is troubled by whether to invade East Sudan, and his wife Mellie's pregnancy. Fitz and Olivia are at a standstill in their relationship because she wants to move on, to do the right thing, and he won't let her because he loves her. When Olivia stops taking his calls, he is shown to not be handling it well, Cyrus saying that he is "ticking". Fitz finally tells Olivia that he is ending their relationship when he invites her to a restaurant, saying that he is not being responsible to Mellie, Olivia, and America and that he needs to be a better man. After being nearly assassinated on his birthday, Fitz was left in a coma for a short period of time before returning to office. The near-death experience left him a changed man, with some minor brain damage and cause him to lose his fear of doing what he wants for himself. He demanded a divorce from Mellie to be with Olivia, not caring if he loses his position as president and being loathed by the American people. This changed, though, when Verna reveals everything about Defiance and her part in his assassination attempt, all to preserve her legacy. He kills her to preserve his own legacy, and shut out everyone involved with Defiance. 10 months later, Fitz begins to drink excessively and becomes more forceful and rash with his decisions, believing that he does not have anyone he can trust.
  • Henry Ian Cusick as Stephen Finch (season 1). He was a litigator who worked with Olivia and one of her good friends. He is Scottish-born and became a U.S citizen in 1995 shortly after graduating first in his class from Yale Law School. He was a top litigator for a firm called Chase and Howard, but suffered a nervous breakdown in the middle of defending a client in a class action lawsuit against Bromquest, a chemical manufacturer that poisoned kids in West Virginia. He spent two months recovering in a facility in Florida before quitting the firm and then began working with Olivia. He is shown to be a womanizer, even though he gets engaged to his girlfriend Georgia in the first season. By the second season he left the firm, married Georgia, and is living a normal life.

Recurring cast

  • Dan Bucatinsky as James Novak, Cyrus's husband. He was a journalist once nominated for the Pulitzer, but he gave up his career to become a house-spouse. He appears to be a Democrat, and he makes no secret of his dislike for Olivia for taking Cyrus away from their garden. In season 2, James is pressuring Cyrus to adopt a baby, though Cyrus is reluctant. He goes back to work at the Washington Post, angering Cyrus, as James's White House coverage complicates Cyrus's position. Given information from David, James begins an investigation that uncovers that voting machines were rigged to give the election to Fitz. Cyrus and James often leverage their professions against each other in their personal relationship.
  • Norm Lewis as Senator Edison Davis, who had a relationship with Olivia years before the series. They rekindle their relationship in Season 2, inciting jealousy in President Grant. With a bit of pro bono assistance from Olivia (and Fitz), he eventually becomes Senate Majority Leader. Throughout season 2, he struggles in his relationship with Olivia, due to the fact that she keeps things from him and dealing with the idea that she was sleeping with Fitz. When he proposes to Olivia again, he is heartbroken that she turns him down again, telling her that it was the last time he would try to work things out with her.
  • Debra Mooney as Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton (season 2). A renowned liberal on the bench, she is also a member of the Defiance election scandal group for which her participation earned her that judicial appointment. Her private plane was used to transport Quinn from California after the explosion. It was revealed that right before she was going to be appointed to the supreme court justice position, she learned that she has terminal cancer. Throughout season 2, Verna struggles with her terminal illness while trying to preserve the legacy she wanted to leave behind. To that end, she attempted to have Fitz killed and place the blame on Hollis Doyle. She planned on providing everything about Defiance and the presidential rigging to David Rossen, but was killed by Fitz after she revealed the info of Defiance and her involvement in his assassination plot to him first.
  • Gregg Henry as Hollis Doyle, an oil man who made a major contribution to President Grant's campaign, expecting favors in return. He has been revealed to be responsible for the Cytron bombing and may be behind the attempt on Grant's life.
  • Kate Burton as Sally Langston, the Vice President of the United States, shown to be significantly more conservative than Fitz. Langston was vying for the Republican nomination prior to the series, but eventually accepted Fitz's offer to be his VP. Fitz and Langston have a tenuous relationship, since he only recruited her to appeal to the religious right and she only accepted in the hopes of an endorsement for a future campaign. Cyrus openly loathes her, and Olivia dislikes her as well. After Fitz is shot and is left incapacitated, she tries to push her way to the president's office, using whatever she could to take the seat from Fitz. However, after Fitz returns, Langston is left back in her VP position, though waiting for the next opportunity to come by.
  • Brenda Song as Alissa, David Rosen's assistant. She is a law student herself, but is apparently neglecting her studies for the bar exam. She is shown to be helping David find out everything he needs to know about Quinn and Olivia. She is also shown calling David "007" because he is sleeping with Abby Whelan, and she guesses that he actually likes her and advises David to not let Abby see his wall.
  • Matt Letscher as Billy Chambers (season 1), former Chief of Staff to the Vice President. It is revealed that Billy was Sally Langston's campaign manager and was upset when she lost the nomination. Billy had then-Governor Fitzgerald recorded while he was having sex with Olivia for the first time. He was going to use it against him, but Langston had accepted the position of V.P. before he could release it. Chambers was the architect of the Amanda Tanner scandal (she had been a staffer on Sally's campaign and his own girlfriend). Billy tipped Gideon Wallace off about "The Amanda Tanner Story", but Gideon eventually worked out the truth, and Billy killed him in a fit of rage. Chambers's sanity began to crack at that point, and he eventually interrupted a press conference, revealing to the world about the president and Amanda's affair. He was eventually outsmarted by Olivia and her team; he was last seen in an elevator with the contractor who killed Amanda.
  • Liza Weil as Amanda Tanner (season 1), a former White House intern who asserted she had an affair with the President of the United States. It was eventually revealed that she was pregnant. She was going to reveal to the world that she had an affair with the president, before Cyrus had her killed. It was revealed that she used to work on Sally Langston's campaign for president, where she met Billy Chambers, and the two began secretly dating. She was working with Billy to take down the president, but got cold feet when she began to like Olivia and her friends. Her body was later found in the Potomac River near the 14th Street Bridge. When Olivia asked if she suffered, Huck said "she had a good death", meaning it was painless.
  • Brendan Hines as Gideon Wallace (season 1), a reporter for the tabloid newspaper The D.C. Sun, who looks to expose the details of the Amanda Tanner story. When Amanda Tanner was murdered, he kept digging and eventually found out that Billy Chambers had an affair with Amanda to frame the president. He was eventually murdered by Billy in his apartment.


Conception and development

In early 2011 it was announced that Shonda Rhimes was developing a new pilot. In February, Kerry Washington was cast in a leading role. Henry Ian Cusick also landed a role with Washington. On February 28, 2011 it was announced that Tony Goldwyn landed the role as the president. In May 2011, ABC picked up the pilot as a mid-season replacement, 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.

The program was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2012, in the same Thursday timeslot, while Private Practice remains in the new Tuesday evening timeslot to finish its final season. Rhimes has stated that the second season will likely be thirteen episodes or less.

Critical reception

The show has been met with "generally favorable" reviews, with a collective score of 64/100 based on 28 critics from Metacritic. 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.
Newsdays 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!


Year Result Award Category Recipients
2012 ALMA Award Favorite TV Actor - Supporting Role in a Drama Guillermo Díaz
2013 Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Kerry Washington
2013 Image Award Outstanding Drama Series Scandal
2013 Image Award Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series Shonda Rhimes (for episode "Sweet Baby")


In the United States Scandal airs on ABC on Thursday nights at 10pm/9pm CT. The program airs at the same time in Canada through the CityTV television system with simsubbing of the ABC feed.


Country Network
Australia Seven Network
Bulgaria FOX Life
Canada City
Chile Canal Sony
Colombia Sony Entertainment Television
France [[Canal +|Canal +]],M6
Italy FOX Life
Israel HOT 3
Hungary Universal Channel
Poland FOX Life
Portugal FOX
Romania Universal Channel
Russia FOX Life
South Africa M-net, called The Fixer
Southeast Asia

STAR World
Sweden Kanal 5
Turkey DiziMax
United Kingdom More4 / Channel 4


U.S. television ratings for Scandal
Season Timeslot (EST) Number of Episodes Premiere Finale TV Season Overall rank 18"49 rank Overall viewership
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
Thursdays 10:00 pm
7.33 2011"12 #62 #73 8.21
2 22
September 27, 2012
On January 10, 2013, Scandal acheived a series-high 2.8 18-49 rating, and 8.37 million viewers.

Home Release

The first season DVD was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment under the ABC Studios label.

Season 1

Scandal: 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
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Scandal: Setting The Pace
  • Gladiators in Suits: Casting a Series
  • Scripting Scandal
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
June 12, 2012 TBA

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