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Scandal Burning Questions: Shonda Rhimes on Fitz's Fate, Mellie's Wordplay, Mole Twist and More

Will Scandal‘s First Lady have the last word?

ABC’s always buzzy sophomore drama once again “went there” — playing a big card, abruptly, by having Mellie follow through on her threat to air President Grant’s adulterous laundry for all the world to see. But what are we to make of what she didn’t say during her TV tattle session? And will Cyrus strike back with his promised “mutually assured destruction”? And what had the show’s cast exclaiming, “Holy mole-y” at the finale’s table read? Here, series creator Shonda Rhimes fielded some burning questions about the latest jawdroppers and what’s to come in Season 2′s final two hours.

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TVLINE | If I have one quibble coming out of the “run-out-the-clock” scene: Didn’t Olivia once take the stance that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one…? Something along the lines of how she can’t rob American of a great president on behalf of own love life?
Yes, but she wasn’t doing anything [in that clock scene]. She didn’t do anything. That was all Fitz.

TVLINE | Yes, but she let him sit there. She didn’t say, “No, you can’t do this. You must go.”
Well, she did. She said, “I’m going to call Cyrus…. Maybe you can call Mellie and get an extension….” He’s a grown man and he made a choice, and I think she understood for the first time that he was in fact making a choice for himself.

TVLINE | Now that Mellie has announced Fitz’s infidelity to the world, will Cyrus follow through on the smear campaign? Is there any reason he wouldn’t?
I think all kinds of things are going to happen next. One of the things I always like to say about this show is that when the episode ends, I always get all these questions about the next episode that I can’t really answer because they don’t really have anything to do with the next episode, because we move at such a quick pace that by the time we hit the ground we’re going in a completely different direction than you thought we were going in. But I do think some really complex things happen in the next episode that are pretty interesting. Cyrus really finds himself busy defending the White House, serving the needs of the president. He’s got a job to do.

TVLINE | Should we now be wondering if Olivia’s name will be dragged into this scandal? Is that a next big question?
We’ve got bigger fish to fry before we get there. We should be wondering why Mellie did not name Olivia Pope by name in the [TV] interview. We should be wondering that. That’s the big question of the next episode.

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TVLINE | Have you considered an iteration of this show where Fitz is not in office? Because that now seems a stronger possibility.
We’ve definitely considered that. Definitely.

TVLINE | Or does that change the feel of show too much for your comfort level?
We’ve considered every option. It would change the show a lot, but the show has to change from season to season anyway. We’ve considered a lot of things.

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TVLINE | Is the eventual mole reveal something you are especially proud of? Kerry Washington told me it’s “so, so shocking.”
What I love is that our mole reveal is not just a mole reveal. I love that we reveal who the mole is — which is pretty darn shocking, and the cast had a fit when they found out, which was great. But even better is our “Who’s hanging out with the mole” reveal. The cast went crazy when they found out who the mole was, and then they lost their minds when they found out who’s with the mole, which is even better. That twist on the twist is even more satisfying for me.

TVLINE | Does the finale plant a seed for an all-new arc a la “Who is Quinn?” Or does it play a significant beat in a current storyline?
Both. When the finale ends, we sort of leave you wondering — because it left me wondering -– “What the hell are we going to do next?” Not because “Oh my god, that was so great,” but really like, “What the hell can they possibly do next, because I think they just exploded the entire premise of their show.” But I’m glad we did that. It feels really good.

TVLINE | And for the purpose of TVLine’s May sweeps scorecard, are there any fatalities or possible fatalities?
There are possible fatalities in the Scandal finale.

Want more scoop on Scandal, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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