Scandal's Tony Goldwyn: Flashback Episode Shows Soulmates In an Impossible Situation

TVLine’s Times Square office this week was paid a visit by no less than the President of the United States — or, at least, Tony Goldwyn of ABC’s Scandal, who previewed Season 1’s penultimate episode (airing tonight at 10/9c), in which we learn through much-anticipated flashbacks how White House hopeful Fitzgerald Grant’s path first crossed with that of Olivia Pope. (Let’s just say the young fixer’s opening line is a real winner.)

Goldwyn also weighs in on his chemistry with series lead Kerry Washington, hails his chief of staff and hints at a surprise or two still to come.

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TVLINE | Was reading this week’s flashback script your first exposure to Fitz’s backstory?
As I’m sure you’ve heard, [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] didn’t tell any of us much, so I created a whole biography for Fitz, and it was partially correct. For example, I decided that I had been the governor of Pennsylvania. [Laughs] But then there was the limousine scene where Mellie says, “I’ll take the kids back to Santa Barbara,” and that was the first time I went, “Whoa! California.” And in terms of the backstory with Olivia, in my original thinking I had us meeting before my campaign, but… Cyrus hiring her because the campaign was in terrible trouble came from reading the script.

TVLINE | How might the flashbacks shape people’s opinions of Fitz, whom some might be writing off as a philanderer?
Well, that’s the first judgment people make. I had friends come up to me after seeing the pilot – “Oh, you’re a sleazy president. You’re a bad guy, yuck.” And by the third or fourth they’re going, “Aww, he’s in love with her. We want them to find a way to be together!” So I think the flashback episode will [reveal] a man who is in what you could call a successful marriage, but a troubled marriage, someone who ends up by happenstance falling in love with a colleague, in a once-in-a-lifetime kind of way. The audience — unless someone has a profound moral judgment, and I respect that – will identify with Fitz and Olivia, understand the transgression they made and, more than that, want them to be together since they’re soulmates. And yet [their situation] is impossible.

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TVLINE | Did you see any of the other twists coming – like, for example, what’s still to come with the blackmail tape?
No. In fact, when I read the script where Cyrus says, “Listen to this…,” I went to Mark Wilding, who is one of Shonda’s writing partners, and said, “Are you guys going to write me out? You’re going to kill Fitz off? Am I getting assassinated, impeached or what?” I said there’s no way you can paint me out of this corner. He said, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be really interesting.” So yeah, I didn’t see that coming at all.

TVLINE | The chemistry between you and Kerry Washington is significant. Did they read the two of you together before casting Fitz? Because if they got this wrong, the show doesn’t work.
No. Kerry was already cast at the time, and I was just offered the part. Shonda is brilliant at casting, as is Linda Lowy our casting director. Shonda has an ability to pair people up. And another thing, which is slightly unrelated, is Shonda gets people in a deep way. She sees things in actors that others don’t see. For example, Bellamy Young, who plays my wife Mellie, ends up being this fascinating, complicated, really kind of extreme character. When you saw the pilot, yeah, my wife seemed like a very typical First Lady. You could do something with her or not. And Bellamy has this look — a Southern girl, all sweet and nice and straight-laced — but Shonda saw something in her and went for it. And she did it with me. I’ve mostly been known for playing villainous characters, so just as the audience thinks, “Yeah, Fitz is scum — I’ve seen that actor in those parts before,” she goes in a whole other direction where Fitz is more like me as a person. She’s a genius that way.

TVLINE | Talk about working with Jeff Perry (Cyrus), King of the Three-Minute Monologue.
Jeff’s another perfect example of what I was saying. Yes, he was on Grey’s and Shonda is so loyal to her people, but Jeff started the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Jeff is someone who, for 25 years, those of us who worked in the theater have regarded as one of the greatest American actors. And he’s been in lots of television, but no one’s really given Jeff something that really challenged his abilities, unless there’s something I haven’t seen, in a big, mainstream way like this. But Shonda’s doing it. We were sitting at the table read and that monologue just goes on and on and on…. [Laughs] Jeff was like [Buries face in hands], “My god, what am I going to do?” But he just started jamming and sure enough, he got it in a couple of takes.

TVLINE | Think this turn as president will erase any bad juju leftover from Ghost?
Oh, I’ve moved beyond worrying about that sort of thing. I’ve had such a varied career, and I have learned that in this business… those things that come to you come to you when and where they want to. When I was younger I worried a lot about that, especially after Ghost when I went from obscurity to being kinda famous, as this villain – I thought, “No, I can’t play anymore villains!” But my job is to do good work, and I cannot control the universe. I just keep putting it out there until something interesting happens.

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  1. MGL says:

    They really do have chemistry. Hope the show gets a second season.

    • kim says:

      I love there chemistry and hope they have season 2, and more than 7 episodes

    • G. M. Crowther says:

      Tony Goldwyn resonates a lot of passion, tenderness, and powerful communication without saying a word. He and Olivia play well together. I hope to see more of him on “Scandal.” I’m in love…again…with “Fitz.”

  2. Amy says:

    I love Tony Goldwyn; can someone give him his eyebrows back, though? (Yeah, he has eyebrows, they are just so pale, though, that you can’t see ’em)

    • Rhonda says:

      Eyebrows?! Did you see his chest?! Those abs?!
      That voice; “Take off your clothes “!!


    • Harper says:

      Amy! You are so not alone. I was thinking the same thing!! Can we please get him some eyebrows this new season. And see his chest/abs a bit more often? Thanks!

  3. greysfan says:

    This show is awesome and they really do have chemistry. I hope ABC hits the renew button because this show could build to something good. These days too many shows are cancelled way too early.

  4. Heather says:

    Holy cow, I thought he looked familiar but totally didn’t realize he played the bad guy in Ghost! I need to pay more attention, LOL =) I can’t wait for tonight’s episode although I still have last week’s recorded and need to watch that one first! Agree that this show needs to be renewed but only if Private Practice is too and they switch time slots. Grey’s and PP need to be together and I think Scandal could handle Tuesday nights. =)

  5. Jake says:

    ABC finally has a winner here…and I hope the Ex’s realize that. They should renew this show and BOP. Do yourself a favor for once ABC and listen and read what the viewers want.

  6. Chester says:

    No more monologues!!!! Please!

    • MadameDame says:

      That was a great scene !

    • Carolyn says:

      Really are you kidding, Cyrus so far has the greatest monologues! Come on now… Oprahs retired now so I have to give a post funeral interview to Barbara Walters, she nice.

      • Chester says:

        Look at this show and its monologues and compare them with the look on Sally Draper’s face after she witnessed her step-grandmother giving Roger a blab job. What says more about the characters transitions – Shonda Rhimes constant monologues or the Sally’s face?

        This particular monologue was interesting because it was not all repetitive. I am a fighter, Yes, I am a fighter, in the style of Rhimes. It was unusual for a Rhimes show because it did not come at a time when the character was having his epiphany of the day, but still, it can not really stand out the way a good monologue should because of all the sloppily written ones that begin and end her shows.

  7. Lisa says:

    This show is great. I have a moral code but I want Fitz and Livvie to be together! Tony is the only actor who always plays villains but yet I still think he is a dreamboat.

    • Ericka says:

      I agree 100%! I LOVE Tony Goldwyn! I want Fitz and Livie together more than anything. I love this magical pairing.

      • Ericka: I am with you 100%. They are soul mates and they are the love of each others life. A love like theirs does not come along everyday. For me they are the heart and soul of Scandal. In the next season I want Fitz to take back his job and run things in THW. Cy crosses the line all of the time he is not POTUS Fitz is. Cy goes nuts anf Fitz needs to put him in his place once and for all. Why didn’t Liv tell Fitz that Cy kept her from meeting him at their spot?? Fitz needs to know how Cy is keeping them apart. Love this show and love Fitz and Liv. They rock!!!

  8. jamie says:

    Once in a lifetime love? Please. This pres is sleazzaay! For him to have wandered his eye towards Amanda Tanner it was not a once in a lifetime thing

    • jenna says:

      I love the chemistry between fitz and olivia but yeah the amanda tanner thing made me think of him as a sleaz bag

    • Rhonda says:

      Oh contraire, he does love her and she him! Did you see The ONE MINUTE couch scene? Tender with a capital T!

  9. Brynn says:

    No one is saying the president is a saint, but it is very clear that he loves Olivia. She is the love of his life. Unfortunately, he doesn’t love Mellie in the same way (probably because she’s straight CRAZY). And the whole Amanda thing only happened because Olivia left the White House. He got lonely again. I have a strict moral code, but even I understand that sometimes, in terms of who you marry, you don’t always get it right. Do I condone the cheating? Absolutely not, but I do want Fitz and Livvie to eventually end up together. Obviously, that can only happen after his term is over… which is why we need a season 2… 6… 11… 20. Whatever it takes!

    • Carolyn says:

      Hey I’m with you Brynn, I love me some Fitz and Olivia and I also hope they end up together. What a great couple – what a fantastic show it was tonight. I actually love this entire cast and I don’t think I have ever said that about another show before. I also must also say that I have a special place in my heart for Cyrus, I’m loving on him right now, he’s said some of the meanest things to the President and Liv, I love every single word that comes out of his mouth. I guess e I’m morally bankrupt like that!! Oh well! ;)

  10. Coco says:

    They have really awesome chemistry, so I’m really excited for tonight’s flashback ep! And I really hope ABC picks it up for season 2. The silence coming from ABC is getting stressful!

  11. DMHill says:

    Love this show!!! I want Olivia and Fitz together too. I don’t see how it can happen until after his term is over though. I don’t condone cheating but I do believe that soulmates should be together no matter what. True love should prevail. I can’t wait for tonight’s episode. And I pray this show gets renewed!!!! It’s so hot!

  12. This show is amazing! The writing is brilliant, the actors are awesome, I’m always on the edge of my seat. Just when I think I know what’s going to happen a new surprise comes in and blows me away! I hope that this get’s renewed by ABC?

  13. Jasmeen says:

    I hope this show gets renewed too! I’m surprised by how much I love this show. It has quickly became one of my favourite shows. And the episode tonight….just WOW. The twists were amazing and the chemistry between Olivia and Fitzgerald is great!!

  14. kisa says:

    I’ve always loved Keri’s seemingly insurmountable acting skills. ‘i think i love my wife’ is one of my alltime favorite movies. I’m glad ABC knew & had given her the chance to show that she was the best actress for the Job…i can prop assess that she didn’t even have too many retakes on her lines. The romance btw her & the pres is captivating. ABC, we plead you to keep the show running!

  15. Michele Nichols says:

    Ooh wee May 10 episode was hot! They could have stopped at the entertwined hands on the plane for me. My imagination took it all the way, but so did the episode. I was titillated, but maybe too much so. I haven’t decided if I would have preferred the full dramatization of Fitz and Livi’s encounter, or leaving more to the imagination. It pandered to the ‘All my Children’ crowd, rather than the Jane Austen crowd.

  16. Crys says:

    Love the show. PLEASE renew for a second season!!!!

  17. carolene says:

    The couch scene was so moving and sweet….totally real. I wanted to cry wanting them to be together forever. This show has to go on another season. Please!!!

    • Ericka says:

      I DID cry at that scene. It was so moving and emotional. I really hope they weren’t saying goodbye.

    • nurul says:

      agreed…the scene is so so real, honest & breathtaking. Soulmates that can’t be together. I did cry at that scene too…

      • Rhonda says:

        I’m getting a T-shirt made that on the top front says : “Say my name” and at the bottom “Fitz & Livvy”. On the top back : “Take off your clothes”, the bottom: SCANDAL.


  18. Theresa B says:

    Love, Love, the show Ms. Washington is great …must renew not many shows on TV any more that mothers over 40 can enjoy without reality this reality that which is always trash and basketball football soccer ball mob wives no…lol

  19. Bonnie says:

    SEASON 2!!!!!!!!!!

  20. sonja says:

    I have enjoyed the show but the flashback show has shot Scandal to the top of my must watch shows!! LOVE IT

  21. melanie says:

    Scandal has been renewed and THANK GOD for that because Olivia and Fitz are my drug. The couch scene….I cried like a baby. I have never seen 2 people soo in love like that on tv or real life. And who can forget ‘take off your clothes’….lol. Fitz is old enough to be my dad but boy oh boy…..

  22. JoJoLo says:

    That 1 minute thingy they share…. Oh and take off your cloths…. Oh my word , i was on my toes and who can forget that magical couch scene oh boy. POTUS is mouth dripping sexayyyyyy..

  23. JoJoLo says:

    He is old enough to be my father too but what does that have to do with anything …….love the . POTUS

  24. JoJoLo says:

    Lol. :)

  25. Jo Jo Days says:

    Thank God for On-Demand. I watch this episode at least once a day and 3 to 4 times on weekends. I hope it comes out on DVD because I will most definitely buy it. The best part is the 1 minute in the hall and at the end on the couch. Both scenes were fantastic. Just the music and them looking at each other, and holding each other on the couch. Talk about sexual tension. But the bedroom scene was the creme-de-la-creme. Tony Goldwyn’s voice was just the icing on the cake. I’m hoping this show lasts for a long time.

    • Rhonda S says:

      I’ll be watching the reuns on line ALL Summer long! I hope they keep it on Thursday nights, because when they start moving shows around most times they lose viewers. This WON’T happen to SCANDAL! ABC PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SCANDAL FANS!!!!

      • Brynn says:

        Darby Stanchfield announced on twitter that the show would be back in the Fall at their usual 10pm Thursday night time slot. Whew hew!

  26. kizzyvw says:

    I’m rooting for Fitz & Liv! I have a moral code but, sometimes life is complicated. I loved his line about forgiveness and love. ABC please keep this show! (:

  27. teecee says:

    Luv this show! I have been rewatching the episodes since last week…this is the first show in a long time that I can’t wait to see…I have moral code too, but Fitz & Liv are hot together, the chemistry is intense!!! Tony played in a movie “Joshua” some years back, I thought he was so attractive, I’m glad he’s in this show and his voice (oohh lala… lol) Great cast, great writing…ABC keep this show ON….!

  28. dee says:

    Here it is July and I’m STILL watching Eps 6 and 7 every day. Can’t get enough of Fitz/Liv. Tony G is awesome. Can hardly wait for September.

    • Deinnara says:

      I am right with you……I have lost count of how many times I have watched those two episodes and the “FitzLiv” favorite moments play list on youtube. I even joined Twitter for the sole purpose of following the cast on this show.

      I love it, love it, love it!!! Have not been this excited about a show in more than a decade. So happy season 2 begins on September 27th. Plan to have a scandal party.

      • Sunnie says:

        I thought I was the only one! lol I have to force myself not to go on youtube just to see them, but why not, that’s my only other guilty pleasure! lol

  29. barbara young says:

    DITTO!!!! To everything good that was said!!!!!!!!