In just six episodes, "Scandal" has become a must-see, nail-biter of a drama from Shonda Rhimes. But the most insane, edge-of-your-seat episode is this week's Season 1 finale, titled "Grant: For the People" (Thurs., May 17, 10 p.m. ET on ABC).
It's the culmination of all of the Olivia-Fitz sexual tension (seriously, how great have Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn been together?), the group dynamic shift and that big cliffhanger ending between reporter Gideon (Brendan Hines) and the vice president's chief of staff, Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher), from last week's episode.
I caught up with "Scandal" star Kerry Washington, who promises that the finale will answer at least one big question, but says there'll still be an "exciting, juicy question mark" left in the end to keep fans wanting more.
Keep reading to find out the future of Olivia and the president, which two players are really bringing it "in a huge way" in the finale, plus some ideas about what clients they can take on next.
Congrats on Season 2! I'm so happy ...
We are too! We're really excited to get back to work. This cast is a little bit obsessed with each other. [Laughs.] ... We're so looking forward to getting back to work for you guys.
My first question when I heard about the renewal was whether or not it'll be another shortened, mini-series-style season? Do you know?
I'm not sure how much of that I'm supposed to share ... when I'm doing press about the show, I feel like I have to be sort of Judy Smith/Olivia Pope about it. I'm managing the information around the show, in my own crisis way. [Laughs.] We've been picked up for the maximum number of episodes that a midseason can be picked up for, which is less than a full season, but I think there's the possibility for that to be more [than six episodes]. There are still a lot of questions around it.
[Editor's note: ABC announced that the show will air in the fall, in its same timeslot, though no exact premiere date or episode order has been set just yet.]
This week's finale is insane. Literally everyone has a secret!
I know, it's really fun! There is a big reveal ... a question mark that gets answered in a huge way, and it's sort of shocking. Like, "Whoa, really? Wow, OK." It's a nice answer to a big question. Then there's another big question mark that remains an exciting, juicy question mark.
It's an interesting episode for Olivia and Fitz as well. What can you tease about that?
For me, one of the most interesting things about doing this show has been how invested people have become in that relationship. But one of the most fascinating things is it hasn't been with the same response -- people are very impassioned, but at opposite ends of the spectrum and everything in between. Some people, particularly after last week's episode, really, really want them to be together, and believe that it's true love, and some people are angrier than ever. I just love that. I will say that the complexity will continue. It's like life in a way -- there's definitely a shift in their dynamic in this episode, but it doesn't suddenly become easy in any way.
My parents were visiting me in New Orleans this weekend, and even my mom and dad were arguing about the state of Olivia and Fitz. [Laughs.] They haven’t even seen the finale yet, and I won't tease it to them because I don't trust my parents -- they'll tell everybody. So my mom and dad are sitting in the back seat as we're driving through Louisiana, arguing about Olivia and Fitz. It's awesome.
You also have some amazing scenes in this finale with the First Lady, played by Bellamy Young. We've seen glimpses of how scary she can be, but wow ...
Oh yeah. One of the things I love about this show is, because the world of crisis management is such a high-stakes world, the show allows for actors to really flex their muscles. You're getting to see really powerful work from really great actors because they're in such heightened situations. Whether it's Liza Weil playing Amanda Tanner or Guillermo Diaz playing Huck, you really see profound performances. And I think that two of the performances that will really sort of rock people's world are both Matt Letscher and Bellamy Young, who I think just really brings the heat in a huge way this week. It's great for me because I feel like every day that I go to work, I'm constantly inspired by my fellow castmates -- everybody's bringing it.
Has there been a particular story that Judy Smith, the woman Olivia is based on, has shared with you guys that you'd love to tackle next season?
You know, not really ... one of the things I really love is that Judy never knows who's going to walk into her office, and that's one of the things I look forward to, week to week. But I know Columbus Short is a big football fan, and loves that Judy has that history of working with some really powerful sports personalities. The show never does ripped-from-the-headlines, even when things seem like they're related to what she's done ... we take that and twist it on its head. So I'm open to anything!
Tell us: Are you excited for the "Scandal" finale? How do you think it'll go down?
Also, when you're freaking out after the finale airs, we'll post a few more thoughts about the big cliffhanger from Kerry Washington, so check back here.
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