11/20/2013 02:56 pm ET

Khandi Alexander Kept Her 'Scandal' Role A Secret From EVERYBODY

Tiffany Rose via Getty Images

Khandi Alexander is the best secret keeper ... maybe ever. The "Treme" actress kept her "Scandal" role -- she's playing Maya Lewis, Olivia Pope's mother -- a secret from basically everybody.

"I was surprised that it broke at all because I know everyone on the show respects the audience so much that we don't want to take away from the excitement of finding something out; they're very particular," Alexander told ET Online. "I didn't even tell my agent or my manager about the part! [Laughs.] I didn't tell my guy, I didn't tell anyone. So everyone was shocked I had kept this information to myself for so long. But we do it out of respect for the audience because the fans deserve to have the thrill of that moment, which is taken away when it's leaked."

News of Alexander's casting came out two days before she made her first "Scandal" appearance.

At the end of the the Thursday, Nov. 14 episode of "Scandal," viewers learned Maya was still alive and being held by her husband, Rowan (Joe Morton).

Viewers will learn more about Maya and Remington. “There are even more surprises to come, without a doubt," Alexander told TVLine. “Come on, it’s 'Scandal'! The plot will thicken."

"Scandal" airs Thursdays, 10 p.m. EST on ABC.