Why Scandal Stars Are Rallying for an Even Better Season 3 -- Plus: 28 Teases (!) for the Premiere

Scandal Season 3 PreviewGladiators are not ones to rest on laurels.

Even though ABC’s Scandal is coming off its buzziest, most critically acclaimed season — and just netted a pair of Emmy nominations, including a historical nod for star Kerry Washington — the plan moving forward is to take things to the next level. And you can thank Cyrus Beane for that.

RELATED | Eye on Emmy: For Kerry Washington, Scandal’s ‘Level of Excellence’ Astounds Daily

“We were all together after the first table read, just really excited to be back, celebrating,” Darby Stanchfield, who plays Abby, shares with TVLine. “And then Jeff Perry said, ‘Guys — we need to make it better.’ That instead of just continuing what we’re doing, we need to raise the bar. And we all kind of looked at each other and went, ‘Yeah. Let’s do it. Let’s give our audience more.’

“So that’s our goal this season,” she reiterates. “To bring more.”

More of exactly what, of course, is locked up in a vault somewhere in Shondaland. But the series’ stars did share a taste of what’s on tap as Season 3 picks up just moments after Olivia — freshly outed as President Grant’s mistress — greeted B613 boss man Rowan with the salutation: “Dad?!”

Though a surprise to us at home, do others in D.C. know of Liv’s family ties? “I don’t know if I can answer that…,” Washington hedges. “But I’ll say this: To discover who knows and who doesn’t is part of the ride.”

RELATED | Scandal Season 3 — Which Storyline Has Kerry Washington Cheering?

Then there’s the ginormous matter of the Olivia Pope being revealed as Fitz’s lover. Or is she? This is where Cyrus gets spinning. Assessing the state of the administration, Perry says, “We thought we were fine, that we had somehow escaped the guillotine of the election-rigging, Cytron and all that. But now someone, somewhere has leaked the ridiculous rumor that Olivia and the president were having an affair!” (Yes, that’s the chief of staff’s story and he’s sticking to it. Unless he is unable to.) “If my boss had to ‘fess up to that…. If Olivia Pope had to ‘fess up to that…. If they deny it, if one denies it and the other ‘fesses up…. It’s a whole multiplication table of a mess for Cyrus,” Perry sighs. “Just a giant mess.”

And that’s just the crucible facing the White House. What about Olivia’s own reputation, as all of D.C. gets buzzing about her bad behavior? Cue gladiators swinging into action, right? Maybe. Maybe not. “You know how it is on Scandal — whatever you think is going to happen is not what happens, because [creator] Shonda Rhimes is so smart,” Katie Lowes notes. “So while you would think [Quinn, Harrison et al ride to Liv’s rescue], it’s more complicated than that.”

Adds Stanchfield: “It is Olivia Pope after all, so there are many, many more layers and many, many more people involved.” Plus, she teases, “There may be one or two more bad guys who rear their heads, that may or may not be on the show already. It’s just really complex.”

RELATED | What Happens Next On Scandal: Will Olivia Pope’s Pop Get Quizzed? And Who Tattled?

Add in new wrinkles for the First Marriage (“The state of their union can be salvaged, the state of their union can be managed!” Bellamy Young triumphantly declares, prompting Washington to playfully interject: “Everything is  a matter of perspective, Matt”) and the first big reveals in long-overlooked Harrison’s mysterious backstory, and you get a Season 3 opener “that feels like a season finale,” Columbus Short promises. “And that’s all I’m going to say!”

But fortunately for Scandal fans, we also asked each series regular to offer three random words (or phrases, as some did) to sum up the Oct. 3 premiere. Click through this gallery to see who said what.

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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23 Comments
  1. Jooshua says:

    I love Bellamy Young’s three words.. and how ‘Whaaaaat?!’ is also one of Guillermo Diaz’s words lol

  2. A says:

    I loved the whole three word thing they all did. You guys should have more shows do that :)

  3. Sarah says:

    **CORRECTION**
    Olivia’s dad is a part of B-613

  4. Anon says:

    This show is my crack and this article has me seriously strung out.

    Love their 3 words…this cast is so cute and funny.

  5. Eric7740 says:

    OMG!!! Can’t wait for season 3!!!! I binged watched the first 2 seasons last month and now I’m in Scandal withdrawal!!!

  6. LaLa says:

    Aaalriiiight, Columbus Short! (Fanning myself)

  7. Denora holley says:

    Is it any wonder it is the only TV show I breathily wait to see the next episode.

  8. MD says:

    I could never catch the show. Everyone told me to watch and now I have completed both seasons within a week. I have been so darn addicted that I found myself staying up until 4am and having to wake up at 6am to go to work. I have finally completed it and now I’m am officially addicted

  9. MD says:

    Also this is my new show..and Kerry Washington is by far one of the best actresses that we have..I hope Olivia ends up with mr pres eventually

  10. Ciril says:

    reaaaaaaally great show!! can’t wait for s03

  11. Jenn says:

    Love this show!! Can’t wait for the new season. Hopefully Olivia ends up with Fitz!

  12. simstar says:

    Great show! S03 we await thee!!!

  13. Tia Luciani says:

    Was hoping for an earlier start for season 3!! Guess ill have to rewatch 1 and 2 and wait very impatiently!!! Love this show !!!!!

  14. daheem says:

    Olivia fitz get back together her dad fixes it love to thiis damn show

  15. Msfaltz says:

    I love this show.. I started watching because I love to see Columbus short.. Now I’m hooked!!! Can’t wait for season 3..

  16. Msfaltz says:

    When is it coming back on

  17. ANA says:

    NÃO VEJO A HORA DA TERCEIRA TEMPORADA . TORÇO PARA O ROMANCE DA OLIVIA E DO FITZ AQUELA MELLIE É UM NOJO PODERIA DEMORAR MENOS PARA LANÇAR A TEÇEIRA TEMPORADA

  18. ANA says:

    ALIÁS O ATOR QUE FAZ O PRESIDENTE É LINDOOOO

  19. sa says:

    My three words. . . Can. Not. Wait.

  20. Kenya says:

    Columbus Short’s three words *goodness*