'Scandal' Case Study: Shonda Rhimes on Season 3, Olivia and Fitz's Future
'Scandal's' Kerry Washington, Dan Bucatinsky on Their Emmy Surprise
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's "White Hats Back On" episode of Scandal.]
Olivia Pope is the daughter of … B613's boss?!
That's right, during Thursday's season two finale of ABC's Scandal, Rowan -- the mysterious man behind the terrifying black-ops organization -- was revealed to be the father of the head Gladiator herself, Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope.
It was a development that only Luke Skywalker could really comprehend, and came after Rowan (Joe Morton) successfully found a way to break up Olivia's rekindled relationship with President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn).
"I knew all along," Morton revealed Thursday night during a live reading of the episode at the Television Academy in North Hollywood. During the event, the cast watched as the sold-out crowed gasped with surprise at the stunning turn of events -- something star Kerry Washington noted mirrored the actors' response during their table read when they first learned of Olivia and Rowan's relationship.
"Every week I would say to Joe, 'Oh I really hope we have some scenes together,' and he would smile and go, 'Do we? Do you think we do?' " Washington says of her new on-screen father. Adds showrunner Shonda Rhimes: "I've been toying with [Rowan being Olivia's father] a lot since the beginning of the second season. A lot of it was about revealing some of Olivia's past and about revealing who Olivia's father was in general, what that meant and who her mother was."
The reveal, like many things on ABC's breakout drama, also opens up an entirely new mystery about the Popes: namely, did Rowan really put a hit out on his own flesh and blood?
"B613 did seem to be trying to kill her, kind of," Rhimes told reporters after the reading. "At the very least, Rowan was trying to get Jake to have sex with her and then make a tape of it, which seems creepy on many levels, right? At the very least that's a little disturbing on many, many levels. I don't know if they were trying to kill her, that's up to interpretation."
While Rhimes is remaining mum on the nature of Olivia and Rowan's relationship until the political thriller returns in the fall, she noted that the writers are considering starting season three without a time jump at all. "It's not fair to drop that kind of bomb and then be like, 'Now we're going to jump ahead in time!' We actually are talking about starting next time with no time jump at all. Starting maybe 25 minutes after we leave the last season."
Also expect to see the immediate fallout after the public learns that Olivia is indeed the president's mistress, with the writer/exec producer warning that there are a lot of people who could have leaked the news.
"I was really adamant about the fact that if we were going to end the season with the idea that Liv has been somehow outed by some unknown force and we meet her dad, we couldn't then just say we're going to jump ahead and cheat the audience of what all that meant," Rhimes says, adding that there's a "search to be had" for who leaked Olivia's news. "We had to have a solution to that and we had to own that story. We're not going to put that away and just tidy that up and move on. We're going to have to live in that."