Scandal Post Mortem: Shonda Rhimes Defends Killer Twist, Weighs In on Fitz's Shocking Decision

Scandal_AmandaTannerTVLINE | As I look back to the pilot, Amanda Tanner showing up was like this first domino. And then she tips over and we get to Gideon’s stabbing, and then we get into the Quinn mystery, and Cytron, and Defiance…. With Episode 13, do you feel like you concluded a big, first chapter in the show?
Yes, I really do. A big, first chapter has come to a close, except that there are all these aftereffects still happening, all of these aftershocks that are still there.

TVLINE | Yes, I have heard that you hit the ground running with 14.
We do. We start 10 months later, but sort of in the middle of things so that you have to keep up and figure out what’s happened to everybody in the meantime, and where they are emotionally.

TVLINE | A time jump must always be attractive to a showrunner. What did it allow you to do in this particular case?
It was such a stunning moment for Liv when we left her, I didn’t want to watch anybody wallowing. She needed to be recovered from that. And so did Fitz. Like, everyone needed to be functioning, and I wanted to see what functioning looked like. I wanted to get past the initial “honeymoon phase” with Fitz and Mellie after they had sort of reconciled and see what it really looks like once they really started having to live together.

TVLINE | OK, so we’re not going to be seeing a slightly broken Olivia with 14?TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTON
I didn’t say she wasn’t broken. It’s 10 months more wounded for everybody but also 10 months more healed. They’re just all very damaged people. But she’s still pretty fierce. She’s still Olivia Pope.

TVLINE | How would you characterize the Olivia/Fitz relationship when we come back? Because in that very next episode, circumstances do bring them together (see photo, right).
I don’t think you imagine we’re going to do what we’re going to do in the episode when we come back. I don’t think that anybody sees it coming. But I think it works perfectly. I don’t know how else to describe it.

TVLINE | Scott Foley makes his debut as Jake Ballard in that episode. Is he here, in part, to help Olivia get her groove back?
[Thinks for a moment] No. I mean, you so want that to be why he’s here because he’s so adorable. He really is. But no. Kind of, maybe, possibly down the line, but no. I mean, there are definitely sparks between them but there’s so much else going on that the getting of the groove back is not necessarily by the end of this episode. You’ll be less worried about her getting her groove back and more worried about what’s going to happen next.

TVLINE | Are you returning to a slightly more “Case of the Week” format, at least with paying, non-gladiator clients?
We are going to start to have some paying, non-gladiator clients as we head down the road with these episodes, as we are wont to do. In the first episode back we have a very interesting client, and as we keep progressing, we have some clients that are a lot more fun because they’re fresh stories we haven’t told before.

TVLINE | Are you going to let the Defiance story cool a bit now? Or is that for David Rosen to decide?
Defiance is still lurking in the background there in its own little way. We’re still feeling its aftershock.

TVLINE | You kind of owe Josh Malina a win at this point.
Some of the writers have argued that. They’re like, “Josh never gets to win.” We’ll see!

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