Fall Preview: Kerry Washington Teases Scandal Season 2, Plus Pope's Associates Speak Out

Looking for an in-depth preview of Shonda Rhimes’ fixer drama? It’s been handled.

For the occasion of ABC’s Scandal uncorking its sophomore run this Thursday at 10/9c, TVLine visited the show’s set, spoke with series lead Kerry Washington and chatted up Olivia Pope’s team of gladiators, played by Katie Lowes, Darby Stanchfield, Columbus Short and Guillermo Diaz.

Who is “Quinn Perkins”? Is Olivia keeping her mitts off Fitz? And hey, where’d Stephen vanish to…? Get responses to those questions and more from this Q&A with Washington and the slideshow below.

TVLINE | Let’s start off easy. How much time has passed between seasons when we pick back up?
KERRY WASHINGTON | I don’t know how specific I’m allowed to be. I’ll say more than a month, less than a year.

TVLINE | And the “Who is Quinn?” mystery is top of mind for everybody still?
We get to it right away. All summer long, strangers have been walking up to me and asking, “Who is Quinn,” which is hilarious. It had been really easy because I was able to say, “I don’t know,” but now it’s harder because we do know. We find out who she is but we still are like why, and how, and when… all of that.

TVLINE | Quinn is in fact a client as the season opens. Is Olivia as protective of her as a typical client, or even more so?
One of the things that’s really cool about the character of Olivia Pope is once you’re in, you’re in. I mean, she may be resistant to taking somebody on, but once she takes you on, that’s it. Fixing your situation becomes the priority above all else. She’s no less committed to Quinn than anybody else, that’s for sure.

RELATED | We’ve Seen the Scandal Season 2 Premiere! Here Are 12 Quick Observations

TVLINE | Is the Quinn mystery more or less nipped in the bud quickly, and then we move on? Or will that thread drift through the season?
I don’t know, because when you work for Shonda you don’t get an outline of the season. Again, the major question of “Who is Quinn?” is answered, but you’re left with three or four more questions that are not solved right away.

TVLINE | I have to imagine that some “gladiators” are more vocal in wanting those answers sooner rather than later.
Yeah. What you begin to learn, as the season goes on, is that there are reasons why certain people need more answers right away and other people don’t. Even that’s complicated.

TVLINE | Quinn’s secret must be something pretty incendiary….
I was coming home from vacation when the first script of the second season came out, so I was honestly standing at baggage claim trying to plug in my phone to read it. Then once I got home, I threw the bags down and immediately opened my laptop. We were all so hungry, and it’s like that way every week. We just barely started shooting [Episode] 3 and we’re already hypothesizing about what can be going on in 4.

VIDEO | Scandal Season 2 First Look Reunites Olivia and [Spoiler]

TVLINE | So, the big question: Has Olivia been behaving?
What does that mean in Olivia’s world? She sets her own rules.

TVLINE | Well, there’s the handshake agreement she made with Mellie in the finale. So, I ask: Has Olivia been behaving?
When we meet Olivia in the beginning of the second season she is not at the White House, and she has not been going to the White House. She’s a woman of her word. She handed in her badge.

TVLINE | How soon will circumstances necessitate some sort of an encounter between her and Fitz?
I cannot say.

TVLINE | Is it a script you’ve seen yet?
I cannot say.

TVLINE | You’re good. When that moment comes, have you and Tony Goldwyn talked about how you’re going to play it? There’s got to be a bit of a different dynamic — yet still probably 75 percent of the old dynamic.
This is a tricky one…. I’m going to answer it in a general way first, which is that all of us are always constantly talking about how our dynamics with each other get more and more complicated. What is the impact of Stephen (played by Henry Ian Cusick) leaving the office? How does that impact my relationship with the other associates? What is the impact of the Quinn question being answered? We’re all always talking about how these things play out, and Tony and I are included in that. But often, we make a decision and then we get the next script and we’re like, “…or maybe not.”
     A great example is how Jeff Perry and I made all these decisions about what [Olivia and Cyrus] meant to each other and how much they loved each other. Then we got the episode where he suddenly turns into Iago and is playing Fitz and Olivia against each other in the middle of a state dinner. We were like, “Wow, OK. Here’s another layer.” Or, I remember when a new script came out and Jeff really didn’t want to read it yet because we were doing a pretty complicated scene. But I couldn’t help myself — I’m like a drug addict with these scripts — and when I came back to set after lunch, I just kept thinking, “I know [Cyrus is] gay and Jeff has no idea!” Stuff like that keeps you on your toes in the most exciting way.

TVLINE | Are we going to learn anything more about Olivia?
We are. I feel like I know her even better than I did before, but I also seriously have major questions about who she is and what she’s done, and her dynamic with some of the other people on the show. Really big questions. And there are new characters in the mix that also have made me ask about 20 new questions.

TVLINE | Is this where Norm Lewis comes in (as a rumored ex of Olivia’s)?
I can’t comment on that. But I will tell you that’s actually not even who I’m referring to. I was thinking about somebody else, somebody that nobody’s talking about. Something that’s not out there in the world at all. It’s a really important new dynamic on the show.

TVLINE | Before we go, talk about Django Unchained, the Tarantino film you have coming out at Christmas. I saw a trailer and it looked quite kick-ass.
It’s sort of a spaghetti Western set in the context of the antebellum South. Jamie Fox plays a freed slave who’s on a quest to rescue his wife, played by me, from a plantation owned by Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s been a really fascinating year for me to play these African-American women on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of empowerment, education and liberty. To juxtapose a woman who [in the movie’s setting] is considered property and three-fifths of a person in our Constitution with a woman who’s arguably the most powerful woman in the country because of her effect on the president, has been a mind-bending, phenomenal experience.

TVLINE | Does your Django character get to be active?
She’s not a Tarantino kick-ass girl; she’s not cut out of Kill Bill. I’m always reluctant to say that she’s not empowered, because here you have this whole film about two people who in this time, when they are so limited and so abused and so degraded, are still able to believe in their love and kind of rise above the institution of slavery. To me, that’s really kick-ass and it’s part of what was important to me about her. She is a true survivor, and her resilience and her belief in her own humanity astounded me every day. When I look at where I come from as an African-American, I don’t understand how anyone made it through this time. That anyone could believe in themselves and in their right to love within that context just floors me.

Now, see what Washington’s Pope & Associates peers have to say about Scandal Season 2:

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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33 Comments
  1. Balaji K says:

    I watched the first season. The acting was over the top and the characters talked too much. I think this show got renewed only because ABC did not want to offend Shonda Rhimes.

    The one character I liked in this show is Henry Ian Cusick who will not be around in the second season. I don’t think I’ll be watching the second season. There are just too many other better options available.

    • Julia says:

      Boy, that’s an awful lot of keystrokes and thought devoted to a show that you don’t like and aren’t interested in watching.

      • Balaji K says:

        There seems to be a tendency among some people on different forums and comment sections of blogs that there’s place only for praise and no place for critical comments. I don’t really understand this. It’s not like I’m prejudiced against this show and posted a negative opinion without even watching the show. I watched the whole of first season even though I cringed at times and then decided at the end of the season that it’s just not suited to my tastes. It helped that there were only 7 episodes in the first season. If a TV critic writes a review about a show and highlighted how bad it is, will you tell him that he was wasting keystrokes by writing the review? That’s his job. I’m a fairly regular poster on TVLine and I posted my opinion as I saw fit. If you like this show, what I posted will not change your opinion and hence shouldn’t bother you.

        • aciel says:

          i agree people come here to express their opinions and people have different tastes but to be honest this show just didn’t really interest me at all .it had insanly long monologues that bore me to death, and the characters talk so fast. i mean its my opinions others might agree and others might not.

      • Swenska Flicka says:

        You took the words right outta my mouth : )

    • Russ says:

      I watched the first season and was in complete shock. It surprised me, I thought it was going to be this one way and it kept evolving each episode. And as a tv junkie it is fairly easy for me to predict the way an episode might unfold sometimes even storylines, so I appreciate Scandal for evolving. I thought Henry Ian Cusick’s character was rather bland, he was possibly a lawyer who serial cheated on fiance, can’t remember much more about him. But they didn’t really dive into the characters as much as I would have like. it was more focused on Amanda Tanner then the President. The acting might have been a little over the top but so was the show, and I think it got renewed because it got ratings and was good. Off The Map was cancelled after one season and it was a Shonda show.

      • Balaji K says:

        I guess Henry Ian Cusick’s character could be construed as bland when compared to others who were chewing the scenery. If my memory served me right, the demo ratings were a steady 2.0. It had Grey’s Anatomy as it’s lead-in which I think had a rating closer to 3.5 or 4. The retention weren’t great.

    • Carla says:

      I for one agree with you, Balaji. I watched the first season to give it a chance because I love Shonda and I still love Grey’s. (Private Practice lost me after this season, though.) I thought the opening scene of the premiere had dialogue that was over the top and felt forced to be witty and edgy.

      The show that Shonda EP’d, Off the Map, however, was awesome. I hate that it got canceled.

    • Swenska Flicka says:

      Bye

  2. Julia says:

    This is fantastic Matt! Thanks!

    “I was thinking about somebody else, somebody that nobody’s talking about. Something that’s not out there in the world at all. It’s a really important new dynamic on the show.”

    Hmmm….I’m dying to know who that could be. Is it someone we’ve already met on the show? Ooh…maybe it’s the dynamic between her and the vice president!! That’s my guess.

  3. Eric says:

    I love this show so hard. I’m really hoping that more people check it out. Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn crackle. I can’t wait to find out who Quinn Perkins is and what answering that question leads to.

  4. Leah says:

    I’m crazy about this show. Thanks for the info!

  5. Tallulah says:

    I know it’s really dramatic and twisty and turny and it’s not the most subtle show ever, but I still think it’s great entertainment, great acting, it’s still pretty clever and has something to say.

    I don’t get why people don’t like it because it’s over the top; like damn have you not seen the other cringe-worthy stuff out there?

  6. teamo says:

    This show was my guilty pleasure last season. Can’t wait to check out tonight’s premiere.

  7. Jewell says:

    I love this show and cannot get enough! Kerry Washington can’t wait to read the upcoming script and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  8. Diane says:

    I could care less about who Quinn is. I just want to see Fitz & Olivia, together.

  9. omabin says:

    this show was such an amazing surprise at the end of the season last year. I hope it does well in the ratings and that it keeps up with the brilliance that was season 1.

  10. “there’s a whole lot more going on than meets the eye!” she’s a Transformer!! a Decepticon!

  11. ace says:

    I can’t decide whether I want to keep watching this show or not. It’s certainly intriguing, and the twists are spectacular, and I *love* that Joshua Molina will be back full-time, but I really have a hard time rooting for a show that unabashedly endorses an adulterous relationship. Olivia is supposed to be this smart, strong, empowered woman, and Fitz is supposed to be this paragon of virtue and idealism, and yet they’re making this monumentally stupid and *extremely* selfish and immoral decision, over and over again? It’s very off-putting to me, to say the least. Plus, I don’t trust Shonda at all.

    • moobear says:

      While technically yes he’s married, I think they showed that his wife knows, so I don’t know if I would call it adultery, and as we know Scandal is all about the grey area.

  12. Ses says:

    I enjoy @ScandalABC. I am intrigued, amused and curious about the developments as I try to remember the occurrences. Keeping in mind that art imitates life, I believe the actors are having fun and killing it. It’s a show that moves quickly, keep/exposes secrets and unfolds. Nothing is for everybody. This show rocks, twists and turns. Ending work early to prepare for tonight’s Scandal Party!

  13. Betty says:

    This show was like an old school soap. So many dramatic things happened I was literally yelling “no way” to the tv. I loved the escape of it and will be checking in again.

  14. Kristabelle33 says:

    I watched the first two episodes in April and thought “so,so” and kinda lost interest. Then I was on Netflix last week and decided to watch episode 3. I was “hooked” and watched all 7 episodes in one sitting. The Olivia and Fitz love triangle/affair is so hot and feels real. Their chemistry is off the charts. Cyrus and Mellie trying to control everything is really interesting. Stephen ( from Lost) was wasted here and needs his own show. I like the twists and it can be over the top, but in a refreshing not another reality show way. You have to give shows a chance. Networks cancel so many shows these days after a couple of episodes then the put on another Bachelor or Real Housewives. This show is really good and it’s just getting started. Luv Olivia and Fitz.

  15. Queen says:

    I watched all 7 episodes in one setting as well, and I’m “hooked”. I love this show! The love affair between Olive and Fitzgerald is exciting and feels real. I don’t trust that “Cyrus”.

  16. Summer says:

    I love the show and I can’t wait for season 2 … I watched it On Netflix never seen it on ABC network ! But the show has my vote !!!

  17. Sarah says:

    I am totally addicted to this show, I love all the characters, cant wait to know more about Huck, but Kerry’s character is my favourite! Especially her relationship with Fitz, I yearn to see Olivia’s big lips plant one on the president! haha! They have great on screen chemistry, I can wait to see more!!!

  18. BRENDA CUFFY says:

    i LOVE SCANDLE KERRI WASHINGTON IS DOING AN OUTSTANDING JOB ON HER ROLE I LOVE THIS SERIES KEEP UP THE EXCELLANT JOB MS WASHINGTON….