Scandal's Darby Stanchfield Talks Abby Vs. a 'Misbehaved' White House, 'Caskett' Fan Anxiety

Scandal SpoilersDoes it take more than a $1,200 white coat to fix the Grant campaign’s problems? Scandal‘s Abby Whelan will find that out tonight (ABC, 10/9c), when the ginger gladiator is called on to take Olivia’s place “handling” 1600 Penn.

Darby Stanchfield spoke with TVLine about the why behind the switcheroo (which finds Abby struggling to handle misbehaved politicos), teases a Scandalous reveal or two and contemplates RSVPing for a possible Castle wedding.

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TVLINE | This week’s Scandal is titled “The Fluffer.” That’s not referring to Abby, is it? Because isn’t that a “special” kind of job…?
[Laughs] Abby is not the fluffer. No.

TVLINE | Good to know. Why is she stepping in for Olivia this week?
Well, tensions with Fitz and Mellie are at an all-time high, after he discovered what she’s been doing behind his back. Meanwhile, Olivia has this internal struggle with the idea of being “the help” and needing to establish really clear boundaries, so she looks for a proxy. By process of elimination, Abby’s about the only one that she knows right now she can call upon who’s not embroiled in some sort of killing or torture scheme.

TVLINE | Or getting doped up with a syringe after sex, yeah.
Exactly. But there’s also this bond developing with [Abby and Olivia], so it’s a big moment for Abby to prove her worth and help with the damage control now that the presidential campaign is in full swing. There’s big time mud-slinging in this episode, and also a White House character from our history resurfaces to add fuel to the fire.

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TVLINE | Stepping in for Liv, is Abby’s attitude more “gung-ho” or “Wait, what?”
Abby’s really gung-ho. I mean, she even dresses the part. She puts on her most “Olivia Pope clothes” and is very sincere about being Olivia’s proxy. She isn’t received too well, though, partially because of what’s going on at the White House. It was interesting shooting this episode, because it was like I was guest-starring on a different show, since I’ve never really been in the White House world. It’s a world that I watch as a viewer, but shooting it, I had to keep reminding myself that Abby doesn’t really know about most of what’s going on in this room and with these relationships. I had to stay really on task like, “Oh, right, I don’t know this…”

TVLINE | As proxy, does Abby have to make Scandal Abby Replaces Oliviaany tough calls? Does she have to “lay down the law”?
She tries to. But let me put it this way: It’s like going in to substitute teach a bunch or really, really, really misbehaved, terrible middle-schoolers. Abby really doesn’t know really what she’s stepping into and she tries her hardest, but “the kids” do what they want to do. Ultimately, she’s on the phone with Olivia saying, “You need to get back here and make things normal.”

TVLINE | You know, all she needs to command their respect is one of those two-and-a-half minute monologues….
[Laughs] Believe me, Abby gets one of those. Whether it lands or not is the question, but yeah, the writers crafted a beautiful monologue for Abby.

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TVLINE | I hear you have an interesting scene with Paul Adelstein’s Leo….
Abby and Leo do have an interesting scene…. They kind of go toe-to-toe. He’s definitely slinging mud, but so is Cyrus. No one can sit on their hands.

TVLINE | But most importantly: Is there any time in this busy episode for David Rosen?
Poor David…. I mean, look, Scandal Abby DavidI haven’t seen the episode yet, and we always run like eight or nine minutes over so a bunch of stuff gets cut, but there is a really great pillow talk scene between Abby and David, after she starts working at the White House. She really says what’s on her mind, and it’s pretty funny. There is some good Abby/David stuff there.

TVLINE | Good, because now Josh [Malina] will re-tweet this story when I post it.
[Laughs] Only because his name’s in it.

TVLINE | Is this your favorite Abby episode to date?
This season, yes, it is. I had a wild walk-and-talk thing with Cyrus played by Jeff Perry, which was a blast. It was so fun being in the White House and working with all these new characters…. And some surprising stuff comes up for Abby and Leo, so that was fun, too.

TVLINE | Now that you got to hang out there for a bit, what would people be most surprised to know about the White House set?
Oh, it’s very, very different, in that when I’m working over at Olivia Pope & Associates, it feels like we’re in middle school, with everybody, like, singing and dancing between takes. But on the White House set, behind the scenes, it’s more like you’re in graduate school. Everybody’s a bit more…

TVLINE | There’s a certain “decorum.”
There’s a certain decorum. Everybody’s preparing in their own way. I mean, all actors work very differently from each other, even within OPA, but the Gladiators sort of operate as one organism. It’s like a school of fish, where we all swim together.

TVLINE | Speaking of Gladiators past and present, what’s Abby’s take on Quinn these days? I mean, she was never her No. 1 fan to begin with.
That is one of those continuity situations where when we were shooting it, I was like, “Wait, do I know how deep she is in B613? Do I know what’s going on with her little love triangle?” But I can tell you that Abby definitely finds out more by the end of the season, and in a really surprising way.

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TVLINE | What are you doing with your extra time off this spring, having already wrapped the 18 Scandal episodes?
My grandmother’s 90, so I’m going to go see her. And I’m going to my alma mater later this month to speak to the student body at large…. I don’t know what else. I’ll garden and cook and…

TVLINE | Maybe RSVP for a Castle wedding? Bring Alyssa Milano as your “plus-one”?
Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t the fans love that? [Laughs] It’s so funny, Castle fans have been starting to get really, really nervous that because we’re wrapped [on Scandal], now I’m available to go back. I get such a kick out of the panic they go into over even the thought of Meredith showing up. I mean, it shows how dedicated they are, the Caskett ‘shippers. It’s pure amusement for me.

TVLINE | Poor Meredith. What’d she ever do to anybody?

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  1. Whatevah says:

    The first season I wasn’t an Abby fan, but she’s grown on me and now I really like her. We need to see her husband. We know about her background and he was at some party she didn’t want to go to, but we’ve never seen the guy. Bring him on…I love David and Abby too.

  2. I love Abby; she’s always been my favorite character because I really like Darby Stanchfield. I agree, Whatevah–I still want to know more about her ex-husband because it sounds like an interesting story. Can’t wait to see her in the White House tonight!

  3. Coal says:

    I’ve always liked Abby’s quick wit, smart ass remarks and sarcasm. It played out well for her back in season 1 when Stephen was still around and her un trusting nature towards Lindsay aka Quinn aka Baby Huck. Considering that this season everyone seems to be go through depression or Bipolar disorder it would be good if the flaming red can inject some much needed levity.

  4. Eric7740 says:

    I like the actress and I like the character, but please try and style her hair a little better. I didn’t mind the simple straight hair in seasons 1 & 2, and I understand they want to update her look, and you can do so with and make it look nice and not a big ol’ muddled mess!

  5. dude says:

    Did she raid Olivia’s closet in that first pic?

  6. Lynn says:

    I am a Castle fan and I think most of us would love to see Meredith turn up at the wedding, whenever it takes place. Lets face it Kate could kick her butt anytime so it could be a real scream to see the reaction..poor Castle!

    • S. says:

      The only ones nervous about Meredith being there would be people who don’t appreciate how secure Castle and Beckett are as a couple. The ones who hear of a male guest star and assume it’s some way of getting between them even though it’s not. Those of us who are confident that there’s nothing going on (esp because I think Meredith kinda makes him anxious) know this would be an opportunity for some comedy. Not sure if that would fit the tone, but I wouldn’t mind it one bit if it did. Bring on the Deep Fried Twinkie!

      • Peevesie says:

        I love meredith over on Castle. And she plays abby and meredith so differently it took me a while to place that she is the same actress. Does anyone else think that castle has too many disgruntled fans??they have problems with everything! Caskett don’t kiss, they dont touch, they kissed but not enough, they talk to little of the wedding, they talk too much about the wedding, there wa too little castle, there was too little kate, too much molly quinn, too little molly quinn, the case of the week was predictable, it was not predictable, they are concentrating on the “side characters” they don’t give them enough role. just watch the goddamn show!!!

    • Just one thing says:

      She’s such a good sport about Meredith. Super fun.

    • Grey says:

      Despite the seed of doubt Meredith planted in Beckett’s head about Castle the last time she visited, I still think they parted on good terms. I loved the prank the two of them played on Castle when they came back from dinner! LOL! *If* it’s written well (and we know the writers don’t always get it right – exhibit ‘A,’ the Pi and Alexis storyline) :-| I wouldn’t mind Meredith popping up for some reason before the season’s end. Maybe she can throw Kate a Bachelorette party or bridal shower. ;D Can you imagine? :-o LOL!

  7. herman1959 says:

    I just want the coat!

    • Britt says:

      Me too! However it won’t be too useful in California :-(

      • Grey says:

        You must be in southern cal because up in here in the Bay Area (and between here and the Oregon boader) it would be perfect! That saying about the coldest winter you’ll ever experience is a summer in San Francisco is true!! :-)

    • Grey says:

      Oh I’m with you there! That white coat was aswesome!!!

  8. c-mo says:

    The only person who should be nervous for Meredith to show up at the wedding is Kitten himself! It’s only right that they at least invite Kyra, she did, after all, invite them to her wedding. And it they invite Kyra, they of course have to invite Meredith, Gina, Demming, Dr. Motorcycle-boy and Sorenson

  9. Rich Abey says:

    Why would Castle fans be worried about Meredith gate-crashing the wedding? Certainly not because we are unsure of the strength & security of Rick & Kate as a couple…but because of the tiny weeny fact that she is more devious & manipulative than Scandal’s Olivia Pope herself. Remember how she turned the situation around for her benefit in Season 5: by placing the blame for the end of her marriage with Rick on Rick’s supposed habit of keeping his cards to himself…conveniently forgetting to mention the fact that it ended because she was screwing her film director in her & Rick’s own bed!
    Besides what mother would be using her own daughter’s sickness as means to getting the scoop on her ex-husband’s current girlfriend? And let’s not forget the fact that she values her acting career a few dozen gold bars more worthy than her own daughter!

  10. TAL says:

    Reblogged this on TAL CONFIDENTIAL and commented:
    Attention Gladiator Nation! TV|Line recently caught up with Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield, who shares some secrets of this week’s episode, “The Fluffer.” Abby is definitely not the “fluffer. Darby gives us hints as to what Abby’s stint at the White House will be as Olivia’s proxy. It will be the toughest work experience to date. Enjoy!

  11. Ram510 says:

    Abbey is great I wish they would use her more often. But it’s understandable is suppose with such a large cast that are all wonderful

  12. troll says:

    Abby was dismissed!!!! She didn’t do crap. Boring!