Scandal Shocker: Henry Ian Cusick Not Returning for Season 2, Joshua Malina Promoted

Olivia Pope’s Scandalteam is losing a member.

Henry Ian Cusick will not return to the ABC drama for Season 2, per The Hollywood Reporter.

RELATED | Shonda Rhimes Weighs In on Scandal Season 1, the Finale’s Killer Reveal and Fitz’s Future

The decision was reached mutually by the actor, who played Olivia’s womanizing right-hand man, and executive producer Shonda Rhimes; the two are said to have parted ways on amicable terms.

Cusick memorably guest starred in Fringe‘s 2036-set episode this past season, but was trapped in amber at the hour’s end. Might his Scandal exit open up a Fringe return? Back in April, the actor told TVLine that the “show is like Lost in that it can go any which way,” so the door is indeed open for an appearance in the Fox drama’s fifth and final season.

Meanwhile, TVGuide.com reports that Joshua Malina, who recurred in Season 1 as white hat-wearing U.S. Attorney David Rosen, has been promoted to series regular.

Thoughts on the Scandal shakeup? Will you miss the Lost alum? Are you happy to see more Malina? Hit the comments!

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110 Comments
  1. RobertTaylor says:

    Yay for Josh Malina. One of the best character actors out there. He was aces on the show’s first season, can’t wait to see what happens next.

    • rockpaperpen says:

      I’m amazed Cusick was ever in the pile of. He was way too good to be underused like this, seriously from Desmond to background??? Get him his own show!!!!

  2. Wait most of the shows I liked got cancelled and this crap got renewed? :<(

  3. jamesdemott says:

    This is obviously a good news bad news kind of thing.

  4. Lynn says:

    Sure. Exit the handsome British guy. That’s a great idea…

    • AJ says:

      He is Scottish, and was born in Peru…

      • Tom says:

        Scotland is part of Britain y’know.

        • Azure says:

          Still don’t make him British.

        • AJ says:

          It’s part of the United Kingdom yes, but the people there identify as Scottish, not British y’know.

          • RyanC says:

            Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, and Britain. So they might identify as Scottish, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t British. It’s like saying you aren’t American, you’re from California.

          • AJ says:

            No it’s not the same thing. My entire family is from there, I don’t need it explained to me.

          • AJ says:

            And not to mention I would love to see you go tell the Irish they are British lol. You seem to fail to understand the concept of cultural identity and how offensive it is to those people to try to lump them into the category of “British” when they aren’t.

          • Britain is an island, which Scotland is a part of. Ireland is a separate island. So yes, Scottish people are British, Irish people — even in Northern Ireland — are not.

          • Ben says:

            Err, AJ, I’m Scottish too. As insulting as it might be to you, you ARE BRITISH! Sorry.

          • RyanC says:

            Yeah, I’m not sure you get how nationalities work AJ. I wouldn’t call an Irish person british because they aren’t British. They’re Irish. Northern Irish people are from the United Kingdom, but not Britain. So they aren’t British either. British people are either English, Welsh or Scottish. You may very well culturally identify as Scottish, but that doesn’t make it any less correct to be referred to as British, regardless of whether you identify that way or not. Calling people from Scotland English would be incorrect and presumably offensive, because England is a separate country. Britain is not a separate country, it refers to the countries England and Scotland, and the Principality of Wales. British!

          • Sarah says:

            RyanC I am not certain you understand the difference between a Nation and a State. A Nation is a group of people bound by shared language, culture etc. while a State is a patch of land with a sovereign government. So Scotland is a Nation…The UK is a State.
            Also, Britain only refers to Wales and England, NOT to Scotland…even though the Island itself is called Great Britain. All of the chain of islands are the British Isles and that one island is the largest, but the term British for Welsh and English people came from Roman times. They called it Britannia Major and a part in France was Britannia minor. Scotland was never conquered and thus the Scottish are not, by definition British.
            Oh and you can be both Californian, and American without being from the United States you know. A person born in Baja, California would be both from California, Mexican and from Central America making them all of the above, except from the U.S.
            There is your political science and geography lesson for the day. hope I cleared some things up for you.

          • Sarah says:

            Oh and I will say that if a Scottish person chooses to call themselves British then that is coo because yes they are a part of the British Isles (as is Ireland by the way), they are a part of the UK and they live on Great Britain. But when it comes to classic definitions They were not a part of the original “British” So you may find some call themselves British and some will not and prefer to identify as only Scottish. Which isn’t wrong either.
            Consider it like a person from the U.S. being confused when a person from Argentina says they are American. They are of course but to us,we are talking about from the States and they are talking about from the Continents.

          • g.g says:

            What are you on about? It’s not the same as america and Sarah the annoying commenter below has it wrong with her logic. Scots are British just as the English are British and Welsh are British. Check out our flag. THE UNION JACK united kingdom Of Great BRITAIN includes the Scottish flag as well as the English flag. Your being a knob. We also have the same priminster and ruling government. Though that may change should they gain their own government – which if youd bother to do your research you would know – but even then they will still be part of Britain. Unbelievable how clueless people can be.

          • AlexKessie says:

            Also Sarah Argentinians are South American no ? Are you really this stupid…maybe you should get off tv line and do more studying. Then come back and reward yourself with mindless tv…better yet stop giving Americans a bad name and sturdy your geography and history. Sheesh.

        • Bob says:

          “Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

          Alba gu bràth!”

    • Dick Whitman says:

      I might be wrong but I think he’s australian.

  5. Emily says:

    I love Joshua Malina, but why is Cusick leaving? I love him too!

  6. Dick Whitman says:

    I’m hoping this means he will be back for the future episodes of Fringe.

  7. Larissa says:

    Bummer, I like him. Molina should be a regular no matter what.

  8. DSR says:

    Sad he’s not going to be on Scandal, but please, oh please, come back to Fringe! Maybe they’ll do something like they did with the two universes and flip back and forth between 2012/13 and 2036. I loved his character.

    • Ben says:

      Yeah. I was considering giving Scnadal a go because of Henry (isn’t here in my country yet). But now – no chance. I just hope he does get to be in Fringe for season 5.

    • Elizabeth says:

      From your mouth (fingers?) to Wyman and company’s ears! I LOVED that episode and him in it. It would be awesome to see him back, though I’m sad he won’t be returning to “Scandal.”

  9. Ericka says:

    I wanted to see Stephen and Abby get together! And I love David, but I don’t want him taking Fitz ‘s place with Olivia. Dammit!

  10. Kira says:

    This makes no sense. Why would he leave this show?

  11. Auntie J. says:

    This makes the decision to watch season 2 simple. I won’t. I didn’t like the show, but was going to continue watching for Cusick. I hope he does return to Fringe.

  12. matt says:

    i think this is fine and opens for better storylines for everyone

  13. Leah says:

    Nothing against the actor, but his character is the one I would’ve chosen to leave. I’m happy having more Malina.

  14. spicypink49 says:

    I think he got upset that Tony Goldwyn ended up the heart throb and not him. If he had just stuck around I believe Shonda was going to give his character more air time.

  15. kirads09 says:

    I like Josh a great deal. So happy for his part. Not sure it will be enough to keep me watching Scandal though. As for Henry, when I heard this the first thing I thought was I hope this opens the way for a Fringe return. He could definitely carry a show as THE lead as well.

  16. Irishgirl says:

    This is such a bad idea…..the Henry Ian Cusick part that is.

  17. Bobbi says:

    Cusick was really a non-event on this show so I’m not surprised he’s leaving. Thrilled Josh Malina will have a larger role. He is terrific and has been a favorite of mine for years.

  18. Beverly says:

    HIC was the reason I started watching Scandal in the first place. There was one episode – of the seven that made up the entire first season – where he didn’t appear at all. How do you not use a talent like his in EVERY episode? And to think I was happy it was renewed.

  19. I won’t be watching anymore. He was the main reason I watched and the show hasn’t hooked me in enough to continue without him. They are losing the hottest character on the show!

    • Penny says:

      He could have been the hottest character on the show. In fact, one year ago Stephen Finch was introduced as “the lead male character” on the show, but Cusick ended up as underused and wasted, and his character was badly underwritten. I don’t care if he left “amicably” or not: well done, Mr. Cusick! I’m sure Fringe is waiting for him, and we too!

  20. Drewer says:

    Why does everyone keep running away from Shonda Rhimes shows? And it makes me sad that now everyone who leaves leaves amicably, like Audra McDonald and Chyler Leigh, etc. Where as she made T.R. Knight and Katherine Higle jump through the ringer and had them exit very ungracefully and there seemed to be negative press from her end surrounding their leave, when they had perfectly valid reasons too.

    • grannygeek says:

      Maybe the reports that “everyone leaves amicably” are to offset word getting around that perhaps Ms Rhimes isn’t so amicable and also maybe people are running away because they don’t want to play roles that are written so sh**ingly (I know, I made the word up but you can figure it out). Perhaps Mr. Cusick didn’t want to get on the f**ky f**ky merry-go-round that most of Ms Rhimes’ shows become and bailed before there wasn’t anyone left to f**k, as in Grey’s, Private Practice, and Off The Map. Although OTM got cancelled before it reached the no one left to bone stage.

      • Jules says:

        THIS! I have my doubts that all of these exits are “amicable.”. Tim Daly’s PP exit didn’t seem so “amicable.”. Maybe Chyler Leigh’s was “amicable” only after she realized her character was so incredibly underused during the last season because Grey’s has way too many characters for a 1hour a week show. As bitter I think Katherine Heigl seemed when she left (biting the hand that feeds you is never a good thing), maybe she and TR Knoght were on to something.

      • Gem says:

        Agreed! Off The Map had such amazing potential to be something completely unseen on TV by putting the spotlight on medicine in the developing world and instead became a Grey’s Anatomy in the jungle. Sorry Ms. Rhimes but after that I know better than to get on the train of any new shows of yours if I want more out of TV than everyone jumping into bed with each other.

    • Babygate says:

      Maybe because Chyler and Audra wanted to leave for personal reasons and communicated their desire to Shonda in a much more amicable and professional way. Katherine and T.R. acted horribly complaining about not having enough screen time and wanting to leave because they didn’t feel appreciated. Both of them created an enormous amount of tension on the set which was appreciated by no one. Both were vocal their discontent about being on the show. That was unprofessional and ‘ugly’ behavior. If they left in a less than graceful manner, they have no one to thank but themselves. But personally, I think that George was given a hero’s departure by having him give his life for someone else. And he was properly mourned and still during this last season he was mentioned with fondness. Which honestly I don’t think he deserved. And Katherine’s exit could have been worst. Instead, they chose to have Alex dump her and break her heart. If there was a lot of press about their departure is because they chose to engage the press in their discontent. I blame Shonda for a lot of things but I can’t blame her for mishandling KH and TR’s departures.

  21. Jeffrey says:

    Series regular on Fringe, please!

  22. Kaa says:

    Paging Agent Foster, paging Agent Simon Foster… Yoo hoo you in the amber!

  23. Brittney says:

    I hope this opens up for a Fringe return. Please producers make it so!
    So sad he’s leaving Scandel. I thought they could have done a lot more with his character.
    This makes no sense. Why would he not want to be on a show with a lot of hype and on ABC? Hopefully its because Fringe wanted a commitment for multiple eps

  24. tvdiva says:

    Great! Now Henry Ian Cusick can return to Fringe for the 2036 episodes in the finale season. He was great in Fringe Season 4 Episode 19.

  25. PFitzDC says:

    Happy for Malina, and disappointed, but not surprised, about Cusick. He was very under-used…to the point that in the episode where everyone’s back-story and relationship with Olivia was explored, his and Quinn’s were noticeably absent–and hers will be a whole plotline. Hope Cusick gets something else soon! Want to see him back on tv, brutha!

  26. Kathy says:

    Ian is such an awesome talent and was sooo underused in Scandal! Hoping his departure from the show opens up the opportunity for his Simon to return next year in Fringe and then beyond that….only bigger and better things await him! I feel certain of that! :)

  27. Natalie says:

    Show runner Rhimes has three shows currently on the network. “Amicably” means you don’t piss her off and it was a joint decision. I think ABC finally has realized that Rhimes doesn’t lay golden eggs every time and has tightened the purse strings. Leigh, Raver, Daly, and now Cusick were fired.

    • Cindy says:

      Amen. You are so right. All.fired. Nothing sweet and amicable about it.

    • Babygate says:

      I agree that Kim, Tim and Henry were let go. But I don’t think that Chyler was fired. Kim and Tim were obviously not in agreement and they quickly made their statements on Twitter, Chyler, however, chose to stay quiet until she was pushed for a statement. And in that statement there was no indication that she was fired. Besides, while Kim, Tim and Henry had no storylines that would be interrupted by their departure, Chyler’s obliterated the Mark-Lexie reunion that Shonda had been building up to the whole season. I think that Chyler’s departure is one that shocked Shonda and that she was not expecting or happy with. But the others, yeap, they got the boot…Things are not looking too good for Shondaland now a days. Grey’s may have another one or two seasons left and Private Practice is ending soon with a shortened season and Scandal is not the ratings juggernaut they were hoping for.

  28. Talia says:

    Sad to see him go but hope to see him show up on Game of Thrones as Mance Rayder!

  29. ChrisGa says:

    FIrst, glad Josh Malina is gonna be a regular; I liked the frenemy relationship between him and Kerry Washington. Second, very sad to see Henry Ian Cusick gone; between him and Tony Goldwyn this show had two of the most gorgeous men on television every week(not to mention they both can actually ACT). Still, I don’t think Cusick was utilized to the best of his abilities(though I guess you could say that about everyone on the show that wasn’t Washington, Goldwyn or Jeff Perry).

    • Dawn says:

      I agree. Josh Melina ‘s relationship with Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) was very amusing. I alway laugh when I watch that scene when he went to her office to get the madam. I am very sad to see Henry Ian Cusick go; I really thought that he was Olivia Pope’s voice of reason and her Fitz confidant and he was not bad to look at either. Well, as long as I get to see more of Fitz and Liv in the second season. I really don’t care who they let go.

  30. Lauren says:

    I’m happy about this. I tried to watch Scandal for him but didn’t like it. Hope he comes back to Fringe or gets a part on a better show. I miss my weekly fix!

  31. austen says:

    Please let it mean that since Seth Gabel isn’t going to be a regular on Fringe anymore that he will!

  32. Kristina says:

    Would love to see him back on Fringe!! Didn’t care for Scandal anyway, would rather see him on something I watch :)

  33. Cindy says:

    I agree 100% with Natalie. Rhimes has lost her grip on abc. She is cutting cast by firing them. No one wanted to leave they were flat out fired. And for some reason l don’t know are saying it was amicable or worse yet their idea. Doubt it in any case.

  34. gregk says:

    Maybe Cusick could reunite in another show with Sonya Walger who played his wife Penny in Lost. They had great chemistry.

  35. 231BENNy says:

    More MALINA! Yes!!!

  36. Francesca says:

    Great!! Now He can be cast as Mance in GOT!!!

  37. farsia2010 says:

    What????? this is BS, him and Huck were the only two in the firm that i actually believed belonged there. Olivia is lacking leading lady charisma and it is hard to believe that she is as ballsey as it is scripted fer her. Quinn has been useless, not to mention that the creators have failed to provide any reason whatsoever why the firm needed her in the first place. the redhead in-house PI is interesting but only as a third or fourth supporting character. Harrison is hot but doesn’t have a dark side in him (i mean the actor) so he doesn’t contribute to the dangerous and dirty side of this firm. all in all the entire firm looks like a makeshift study group of outsiders in their shaggy conference room with peeled off paint and old widows that are used as bulletin board. Finch and Mr President were the hottest guys there. Finch leaving is making this firm look even more childish, like amateurs without adult supervision!

    • Katy says:

      I agree. Henry was the only reason I watched as I really do not like Shonda Rimes. Kerry and Tony have zero chemistry and left me cold. Glad for Joshua though. Always liked him. Here’s hoping Henry goes back to Fringe.

      • Nerdista says:

        Zero chemistry?! I can’t imagine a couple with more chemistry!

      • farsia2010 says:

        no i kind of see the chemistry, it is just i don’t see her as a lead in anything other than romantic kinda of situation!!

      • Erma Jean says:

        You’re definitely in the minority when it comes to Kerry and Tony’s chemistry. But I will really miss Cusack. He was an important component to the show. Loved the accent also.

  38. trish says:

    Yes, back on Fringe, please!

  39. Kaa says:

    Not to burst everyones bubble but… Fringe is only 13 episodes this season and at least three of the episodes have already been written. It’s unlikely that there is room in the f

    • Kaa says:

      …final story arc to insert Simon as a regular character. However the chances just got better to see him get out of the amber and be in a few episodes!

  40. Caro says:

    Too bad Cusick is gone! He’ll be missed. I really liked his character on Scandal. :(

  41. Lena says:

    For all you guys claiming he was the only reason you watched, you realize that’s kind of a lame reason. Not only was he barely in the show, he didn’t have an interesting storyline. I personally do not care for the actor. If his exiting means more time for other character’s development then I’m glad.

    Oh and for those who thinks this is a lame show….I wonder why you commented.

  42. Tran says:

    Most recently, his guest starring gig on Fringe was so great as a futuristic cop. Guess I wouldn’t be stuck in all of that “amber”.

  43. Babygate says:

    Though I am happy for Malina who I think has a amazing chemistry with Kerry, I am highly disappointed about Henry’s dismissal. The entire season I kept waiting for him to be utilized to the fullest of his amazing potential. When the relegated him to the position of a background player I figured that Shonda would course correct in the second season, but now he’s gone. I think that Scandal is great tv on par with something like ‘The Good Wife’, but it still has some growing up to do and Henry would have been phenomenal. Kerry overacts, and others are kind of background players. The only standouts for me are Josh, Patrick and Henry. I think this is a bad move. ABC keeps catering to the same female demo without trying to expand into the male audience. Henry should have been given a bigger spotlight and used to draw in a bigger audience. And now he has missed pilot season. That sucks. I hope that he finds something that will allow him to shine as the star he is.

  44. MaryAnn says:

    I just hope they plan to use Malina as a character actor and not in any romantic context. I just couldn’t see that, and it would completely turn me off to a series I currently love.

  45. Ewa says:

    Great news! I’ve only watched the pilot episode of the show for him, but, I’m sorry to say, it was kind of painful:/ Now he can go and do Fringe, and then get a role in some quality show! Win-win :D

  46. Greenie says:

    Perhaps this won’t sound cool – seems like it’s cool to talk about what crap Scandal is – but I like the show and will be sorry to see Cusick go. I thought his character was the only one who was intuitively/emotionally close to Olivia as a friend – she has precious little in the way of equals or support – and I was looking forward to more exposition on that as time went on. As well as more on the abby crush angle. It is an ensemble show, he couldn’t have expected to be front and center – god forbid a show have a strong female lead and a male in a mere supporting role. Sheesh. I’ll miss him, who wouldn’t miss a hot guy with a scottish accent??!

    • Austerica says:

      Great post; my sentiments exactly. Olivia confided in him. He certainly could not have expected to be lead in a show that is inspired by a WOMAN that is being portrayed by Olivia. Another thing, people are talking about character development and all of what they want they want to see or didn’t see in the existing characters. It has only been ONE SEASON PEOPLE (with ONLY 7 episodes)! Give it time!

  47. Jennifer says:

    Have never watched the show and if I even bothered with it he would be only reason why. I turned on tv expecting to see repeat of Castle episode I’d missed the first time it aired and I accidently saw opening segment of first episode of Scandel and was so disgusted and confused I couldn’t sit through rest of it. If I want this crap there are a million mediawhores on crappy “reality” shows to pick from.

  48. Penny says:

    I’m sure he realized “Scandal” is a total crap and he didn’t want to be part of this anymore, considering he was badly underused. Plus, he was great in “Fringe”, the character is a perfect fit for him. I hope we’ll see him again in season 5, he’s a great actor and he deserves more than “Scandal”.

  49. zakspeak says:

    HIC could have done both shows. Both Scandal & Fringe have short seasons.

  50. 1ifiona says:

    Maybe they could drop Charles Shaughnessy in there – a good amount of people probably wouldn’t even notice. *kidding*, mostly.

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