Scandal's Columbus Short Not Returning for Season 4 -- Read His Full Statement

Columbus Short ScandalHarrison Wright is officially hanging up his Gladiator shield. Columbus Short on Friday confirmed that he won’t be returning for Scandal‘s upcoming fourth season.

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Short released the following statement on Friday:

At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for 3 years, with what is the most talented ensemble on television today. I would like to first thank [creator] Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the Scandal series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful.

The Season 3 finale ended with Rowan, newly reinstated as Command, holding Harrison at gunpoint with Tom, leaving his fate in question. Now, with ABC not picking up Short’s option to return, it appears Harrison’s fate has been sealed.

This news comes after a difficult few weeks for Short, who was accused of threatening wife Tanee Short.

Gladiators, what’s your take on a Harrison-free Scandal? Drop a comment with your reaction to the news below.

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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    • Sal says:

      Harrison, he’s human…and his off screen drama is none of our business! He needs to keep his job. He’s an excellent actor! His problems surfaced because TMZ focuses on the short comings of others issues. They cause a lot of pain and problems for people, invading their privacy!
      Well, Isaiah Washington is back on Grey’s Anatomy…….yahoo! The clock is ticking!

      • Ann says:

        I agree with you. Everyone have problems in relationships. He is only targeted because he is an actor on Scandal and a good one. His personal life is his business and it should not be a factor regarding his work.

      • Dena says:

        What happens in their should not effect what happens on the show. Columbus Short is an great actor and will be greatly missed if he is taken off the show.

      • MarMar says:

        I agree. Everyone has problems. Isaiah Washington was put off of Grey’s anatomy and is now back. Punishing someone for what happens away from work isn’t the employers place. Sometimes coming to work can be what holds someone together duringa difficult time

        • Leah says:

          Just for the record, Isaiah Washington was not punished for something that happened “away from work.” He verbally abused another cast member on set. At work. They were totally justified in letting him go.

          • Linda says:

            I don’t agree that making a politically explosive statement is necessarily grounds for termination. Certainly reprimand and some consequence. The corporate world would require an apology and demonstration of change of heart. No termination would take place. HR would initiate mediation between the parties.

      • Tish says:

        Threatening to kill your wife and self, if it happened, is not “human”, it is disgusting. Don’t try to pass what he did off as normal, because it isn’t, and his life is being scrutinized because HE might be causing people pain. He should be spotlighted and criticized if he actually did something like that; anybody, famous or not, should be.

      • Karen says:

        I’m not sure Scandal will be the same without Columbus Short. Yes it’s an awesome show and when you have a great cast like scandal it’s hard to get not wonder if the person who is replacing Columbus Short will play the part well enough that no one will notice that he’s gone. Shonda Rhymes is one of the best writer’s known, I’m sure whom ever replaces the actor Short will be a great pick….I love watching Scandal…. but being a gladiator I’m still pondering over that and it’s all in fun I’m sure. If I get on board can I meet the cast? I’ll be waiting for a response!!

      • Karen says:

        True to that as well!! He’s a great actor, sad things happened the way it did one thing I can say Kerry Washington is very, very private and I respect her for that!! You go girl :)

    • gladiolus62 says:

      Right? He was one of the good ones. I wish him well.

    • Verlencia says:

      A very talented actor, who should remain on the show. An excellent entertainer, you need to re-concider him exiting Scandal at this time.

    • Jacqueline M King says:

      Harrison Wright character is a value part of Scandal. Why don’t you just replace Columbus Short with another talented actor ????

      • i would believe that , you would not want to replace him but make him come up missing. Let Columbus handle his personal business then bring him back. Let him handle his business off screen and continue to give us the Scandal business on screen. isiah was a whole nuther issue. he made his cameo after time served…

    • Deb Sav says:

      While I understand that it’s not the employers business most of time, he doesn’t have ordinary employment. He is in the spot light and his actions whether they are personal or not are newsworthy. Shonda Rhimes has worked too hard making top rated shows to have these idiots make homophobic slurs or threaten their wife and not act on it. Just like Isaiah Washington, Columbus Short is dismissed.

      • mag says:

        Please let Columbus Short stay on the show, his personal life should not have anything to do with his job. If that’s the case then a lot of men should be fried.

        • Lolo says:

          I agree with your comment but if it’s going to complicate his job let him settle his personal life and the com back. Love U Columbus

    • SweetG says:

      Please bring him back he was an important character on Scandal. And yes, we all have homelife problems and this is the time he needs support and not be casted off.

  1. MR says:

    Not happy at all! I love Harrison!

  2. CourtTV says:

    Not surprising with his legal troubles. I liked his character though.

    • David says:

      Same here, I liked his character but when I saw him in the news twice in one week about domestic violence and threatening to kill his wife…I pretty much knew his goose was cooked.

      • Sophie says:

        I have to agree with you David. I really liked his character but I felt sure he would go after all the news about him.

    • Matt says:

      Yeah, I’m guessing he was originally supposed to survive, but it worked out for the show that they had that cliffhanger to write him out easily.

      • David says:

        Sad situation. He really sold the Gladiator roll though, back at the beginning when he told Quinn about what a Gladiator is, he had me convinced.

        • Kenneth says:

          David, you are so right when you say, “He really sold the Gladiator roll [sic] . . . when he told Quinn about what a Gladiator is.” I will miss him. For me, he was the show’s touchstone. He always seemed real and (comparatively) normal. I wish him all the best in his career and hope he works on getting his life in order. It’s going to be tough to do it under the bright spotlights of the Hollywood media, but he has my prayers.

    • Grey says:

      Ditto. What a waste. I posted over on that I wondered if the writers realized months ago, or even before the season started, that because of his past troubles off screen (these current charges are just the latest in a long string) that his ability to be on the show was going to be a problem and therefore started writing this arc and ending for the character long ago. The way they left it things could have gone either way when the show started up again in the fall – he gets shot and killed or there’s a last minute twist that saves his life. That takes a bit of planning especially in a fast moving Shonda show. I think the writing was on the wall (sorry for the pun) for him long before the season finale. It’s a shame because he is a very talented actor and also gorgeous to look at. I hope he gets his life together and addresses his demons so that he can continue to have a successful career and more importantly a successful and happy and *peaceful* personal life.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I’m not surprised. He has been having a lot of trouble in his personal life and the show needed an out. It’s a shame but while I liked him he didn’t really get any sort of a story till this year.

  4. BL says:

    Takeaways: do not threaten to kill your spouse

    • Josh says:

      It’s okay. Shonda will forgive him in a few years. As ling as he isn’t a mouthy woman!

      • jen says:

        if the ratings for isaiah’s return are high enough i wouldn’t be surprised if katherine heigl came back for an episode as well….that is if justin isn’t leaving the show

        • Cindy says:

          My watching Grey’s Anatomy has NOTHING to do with Isaiah Washington being on. I’m interested in Cristina’s last episodes, but I’ve never missed IW or KH. They always thought way too much of themselves.

        • Ange says:

          I think Katherine Heigl already had her comeback episode.

      • Antwon says:

        Hey Josh, not sure if you are aware but just because Shonda is creator, head-writer and executive producer…she doesn’t call ALL the shots. There are lots of other elements that could be at play here….you see, there is this network called ABC and they are her bosses and there are these things called contracts that actors sign and some have morality clauses! But more importantly…a network is going to cover their ass…especially when they see an actor with legal problems and spiraling out of control…um, I think they could easily want to part ways with the person.

        Shonda = creator/showrunner/head writer
        ABC = bosses/the brass

        I hope you were able to follow that….sorry there are no pictures.

        • Patrick says:

          This is, technically, true. But…………………

          Would ABC really, REALLY override their main show pony? Shonda runs their two biggest dramas, and is making them money hand over fist. If she really wanted (or didn’t want) to do something, I have a hard time believing they would over ride her wishes.

      • Whatevah says:

        Oh brother..seriously rolling my eyes…

      • Will says:

        zinggg Katharine Heigl!

  5. tv2day says:

    Wow! I wonder if his personal issues did him in. He provided balance in the cast n at opa. Please don’t bring that English guy back from season 1.

    • Goldie says:

      He was Scottish and I personally would love for Steven to return. I liked him but that’s just my opinion.

      • e says:

        henry ian cusick is better than the character of stephen. i just recently watched lost for the first time, and the spark he had as desmond never existing in his character as stephen. i don’t think they ever realized what they wanted to do with him, so getting rid of him as fine by me. i will be very curious if they decided to introduce some fresh meat to OPA come season four though, since i don’t think abby/huck/quinn(?) could carry OPA themselves

        • Josh says:

          Desmond + Penny = tears aplenty(sorry, terrible I know). I sort of hated how his story just ENDED on Lost, he almost seemed like an after thought but the Constant is still amazing and the Desmond/Penny telephone is probably one of my favorite few minutes of television ever.

          • e says:

            not to highjack the scandal chatter, but desmond as a character is unreal compared to the limp fish biscuit (;)) that stephen displayed in season 1. they were barely detectable as the same actor! after seeing lost, it’s very clear that it was no fault of HIC that stephen was a one-note character with no interesting backstory.

        • Ben says:

          Glad to see there are still people finding Lost.

          • e says:

            it was a magical experience. i was discouraged by many but ignored them all and couldn’t be happier i did. i watched for the characters more than the mysteries, and i loved it more than i could describe! already considering a rewatch :) scandal comments UNhijacked now!

        • Julie says:

          I wish I could watch LOST again for the first time! Desmond and Penny were two of the best and I agree that Stephen was not the character for him. I miss Lost.

          • Elyse says:

            What season were Desmond and Penny in? LOST lost me in season 2 but I keep meaning to pick it back up.

          • Ben says:

            @Elyse – Des and Penny first turn up at the end of season 2 (technically Des was the ‘man in he hatch’ at the very start of season 2, you may remember him), and their story through seasons 3 and 4 is epic.

          • Lexi says:

            @Julie, if you subscribe to Netflix or Hulu you can watch all full seasons of Lost, I actually just started watching it myself. For 7.99 for both services, there are a lot of popular shows you can catch up on, all seasons. Love it.

      • Angel says:

        I also loved Stephen (Henry Ian Cusick) and was greatly disappointed when he didn’t return for season 2. I felt his character was more like an equal to Olivia than any other character on the show. He was the one she called first (and had a mini- meltdown with) when she found out Amanda Tanner was pregnant, and Olivia was the one he turned to for relationship advice and whether or not he should propose to his girlfriend. I would love to see him back, but I believe he’s already on another show.

      • Grey says:

        I agree with you Goldie. He was the main reason I tuned in that first episode. I’ve never really been a fan of Shonda’s shows. This is the first one I’ve actively watched and even it gets on my nerves sometimes with all the fast talking and endless monologs. No one talks like that in real life and certainly not at work! I know we’re supposed to suspend belief with TV shows but good God! LOL! Sometimes this show just sucks the energy right out of me.

        • Missy Leo says:

          OMG….THANK YOU!!!! I love the shows but I’m seriously distracted by the fast talking. Oh, and the lists. “I love you because you’re smart, and funny, and caring, so that’s why I love you.” “We work here because we’re The Gladiators, and we wear the white hats, and we chase the bad guys, so that’s why we work here.”

          • jenna says:

            this annoys me SO much! I hate the repetitive monologues

          • abz says:

            OMG I hate those soooooooo much. I can’t stand it. Harrison constantly did it and I think Eli is even worse. Every speech he gives is filled with those repetitive monologues. Liv does it too. Ugh they ALL do it. Someone needs to tell Shonda and co. that those kinds of dialogue aren’t powerful or entertaining, it’s just plain annoying!!!

          • Esaul says:

            The fast talking makes it realistic.

          • Linda Graves says:

            Oh yeah, Missy….the fast talking lists are getting old

      • Antwon says:

        He was accused of sexual harassment. I’m pretty sure he’s gone for good.

      • Patricia says:

        I know, I love him from his love scene back in Lost

    • Lo says:

      ‘That English guy’ is Henry Ian Cusick, and he actually happens to be a phenomenal actor, he just was given a very 2-dimensional, caricature type of character in S1 of Scandal.

    • Cas says:

      2 things: I love Harrison which makes this really upsetting news (to be honest I don’t know what has been in the news about his personal life and I sort of don’t care.) and 2: Henry Ian Cusick is awesome so nobody on this site should be dissing him. If you disagree you should watch Lost because Desmond is amazing! And I liked his character on Scandal and was equally as sad when he left.

  6. Fernando says:

    I saw it coming because of how much drama is going on in his life

    • jen says:

      hoping he gets some help to figure out his personal issues :(

      • Birdie says:

        Ditto…I am praying he gets his personal life back on track. I’ve watch him in all his movies
        He’s a great Actor loved him in “Cadillac Records” and “Stomping the Yard” … Come on Columbus you have a lots of Gladiators pulling for you!!!!

  7. CK says:

    Damn. Don’t cross, Shonda. I enjoyed Harrison, but I can’t say that I don’t like Shonda a little bit more for holding her actors to a higher standing than most EPs would. Now If only someone would intervene and get the mess that is Charlie Sheen off the air.

  8. Will says:

    WHAT!? I figured that whole scene *possible spoiler alert from Scandal season 3 finale*
    When Harrison is about to be shot point blank in the head was a ruse. Although Shonda loves killing people so I’m sure his character will be dead – rather than run off off-screen or just simply be missing until he guest stars in a future ep. So lame.This season really put the “gladiators” on the back burner, and strayed heavily from their working as “helpers” on new cases every week. :-\

    • Brooke says:

      You DO realized the actor recently threatened to kill his wife, right?

      • onecoolchick says:

        Exactly. I’m sure most of us that watch the show will miss any character that departs from show… but the situation is bigger than entertainment. Mr short sounds as if he needs some time to get some help and get healthy. That is the most important issue for himself and his family.

      • A says:

        How do we know that? I was not there. What does his personal life has to do with his JOB?

      • Will says:

        Nope, I didn’t. Despite enjoying tv and perusing an entertainment site, I actually do not follow actors’ personal lives and did not even know he was in the news nor that he made threats.

  9. j says:

    It would have been much more surprising if he returned. I’m guessing his death will be part of what inspires Olivia to come back to DC. Maybe now they can stop pretending that Josh Malina’s character has an important job that the audience cares about and just let him work at Olivia’s firm for real.

  10. abz says:

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s really a loss to the show. He was a pretty useless and boring character this entire season with most of his purpose being to do behind the scenes gladiator work. The Adnan storyline set up to be this big thing with him was a huge failure. Plus the character cannot talk like a normal person.

  11. sladewilson says:

    Once his personal issues surfaced publicly, I knew it was a wrap. Y’all know Shonda don’t play that nonsense now. She’s already been thru it. Hopefully she can use this as the catalyst to have Olivia return and bring in some new faces… I do wish the brother well and hope all his troubles are quickly resolved…

  12. Ever says:

    Losers never stay in Shonda-land very long. Perhaps if he didn’t threaten to kill his wife on numerous occasions, he wouldn’t be in this mess. See ya!!!

  13. Andrew Hass says:

    I’m not surprised because of the actor’s personal problems.However the show might leave the door open for his return down the line.However i’m wondering if the show will bringing on a new character to replace Harrison.

  14. e says:

    while this isn’t surprising at all, i think i am more disappointed for the dynamic he brought to OPA. while he was quiet and not very splashy, he provided a great foil for abby, and there will be a hole if they don’t fill it with someone new in season four. abby is the most practical/level-headed/sane one in OPA (which harrison mirrored as well), and she doesn’t have a partner in huck or quinn (who i assume will rejoin OPA) as she did with stephen or harrison. i read in comments somewhere that there is a chance for jake to join OPA since he is no longer command, and that might actually be a cool addition, also providing a balanced foil for abby. the huck/quinn stuff is way gross, so to have OPA be believable again, they need a balance brought back which will be even more off-kilter with the loss of harrison.

  15. kat says:

    dude…smh all you had to do was wait till the season was over then act as crazy as you want. you could have gotten you some help and eased into the next season new and refreshed

  16. Leo says:

    Then they can bring back Steven ^^

  17. Anna says:

    Now that it is confirmed, I find myself not caring about it. Huh. Strange, because I thought I would be sad about Harrison dying. I guess I would’ve if they had given his character any good storylines at all…

  18. cyrax86 says:

    Obviously this means Joe Morton and/or Khandi Alexander will be upped to series regular.

  19. Jooshua says:

    Harrison was my favorite character.. I hope they don’t confirm that he is dead next season.. so maybe he could return for an arc in season 6 or something.

    I understand his personal issues are certainly nothing to look up to.. but his character was THE GLADIATOR. I just can’t imagine his story ending with his early death =(

  20. Lillie says:

    such a shame
    great character underused
    always seemed so nice
    but he has been making some bad choices in his life lately
    i wish him the best
    he will always be an awesome part of a great show and will be very missed

  21. Aryn says:

    CRAPOLA…that stinks, love Harrison he is the best :) Hopefully he’ll be in a crate or hole someplace in case he returns after getting his life back on track…adios to my favorite Gladiator! Best wishes to Columbus…stay strong and be mindful of your actions.

  22. Elie says:

    Knew it the second it looked like he was going to be shot. Mainly came to this conclusion based on his personal problems. Tbh, his character leaving/dying does not impact much for me.

  23. Robby says:

    I have a feeling this particular instance was a network, not show decision. Shonda has repeatedly said that she is not involved in contract talks or negotiations for any of her shows. Clearly she has a voice in matters, but ABC is her boss and the actors are contracted through them, not Shondaland.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    I love Harrison’ character; he will most definitely be missed. I pray for him that he find strength in God I also felt like the show gave him balance. I hope they give him a seond chance. I pray for him, his wife, and children. He has so much talent.

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  26. I don’t understand the double-speak. He says he’s leaving the show but then you find out that his contract was not picked up. Sounds like he was fired. Why is that such a terrible thing to admit?

  27. jm says:

    didnt like so much Harrison. I though he was obnovious and self-center. He looked down the other characters… and he was really stupid to confront Papa Pope… he should have known better. I am sorry for the actor tough, hope he finds a new show.

    I think his kill opens a lot of new fresh side to the show. Olivia will want to know what happened to him, so she will be back to look for justice. It is a big loss for all people in OPA. and i am looking forward to seeing liv vs Papa about this kill. She easily forgot Jake for killing 3 people in cold blood… one of them, the father of her god-daughter.

  28. Nicole says:

    I kind of figured that since they left the ending with Harrison open ended. I guess Tom will kill him then. Maybe they will bring Stephen back or get a new person for OPA. I liked Stephen, so Abby and Huck will be Olivia’s go to with Quinn standing up in the air. Issiah Washington had some issues when on Grey’s Atanomy and he was written off. Shonda Rimes does want actor who cause drama. it was kind of a hint while she was on Jimmy kimmel after he finale and kimmel asked why Colombus Short parking spot was paved over and she said no comment.

  29. What a shame. I had a feeling that he was not coming back. He sealed his own fate. Hopefully he will recover as an actor.

  30. RReg says:

    The actor Ian Cusick is currently starring in a series called “The 100”

  31. Robert says:

    In my opinion, they could still leave Harrison’s future in the air than to kill him off. I mean, if Columbus can get his legal troubles resolved and doesnt receive any negative press for a while, they could bring him back. But I doubt they will take that direction. I feel that they will have him killed off. It’s is a shame because he was a pivitol character to the show. However, I do feel that when his legal troubles came to light, it was apparent that on screen he wasn’t as prominant.

  32. Et al. says:

    Good. He was useless.

  33. Apres Ski says:

    Some people just don’t know how to act . . . in real life!

  34. LaLa says:

    ::sigh:: No big surprise there. Hope CS pulls it together.

  35. Cheyenne says:

    Gladiator fell on his own sword… s m h

  36. chrissie says:

    olivia pope will fix this.

  37. Joe Petitjean says:

    Not surprise at all when you take into account what he did

  38. He actually had the weakest of the sub plots , and with the latest trend of killing off the characters to keep shows fresh its of little surprise he is getting cut

  39. iyakamae says:

    Reblogged this on Kat's Crafty Creations and commented:

  40. Celesta says:

    Stephen (from season 1) and Harrison were just window dressing, their characters never went anywhere. Just hope they bring in some guys with some actual character development. It’s obvious though that Columbus was written out because of his off screen problems

  41. Lorene says:

    I am really sorry about C.S. situation, seems like people forget that actors are real people with real issues. fame dont exclude you it magnifies you.heres his opportunity to get the help he really needs. roles will come and go, but his real life is in danger, and he needs to take this very seriously. I am praying for you my brother.

  42. Black Beauty305 says:

    Really sad to see Columbus go, my prayers go with him. It is truly sad that we do not allow public figures to have private lives. How many of us have done some of the same things he is being accused of doing. #teamgladiator!!

  43. Kisha says:

    I am not surprised, due to his recent personal history. HOWEVER, he is the true GLADIATOR and needs to return!! No one can fill the spots he hold as Olivia’s go-to and Abby’s “calm storm and big brother.” Everybody deserves a second chance. Short’s character was awesome and will be a missing void in the show. Please please please leave his story line “open” or put him in one of the infamous “holes” like Maya/Olivia’s mom and allow him to come back. Besides…the name of the show is SCANDAL!!!

  44. Ange says:

    I think people have the tendency to believe every thing they read. There are always two sides to every story and in the middle is the truth. I am amazed at all of the comments about his personal issues like these people know the parties involved.

    • S. says:

      I’m amazed at your ability to ignore the evidence and stand behind this man. Incidentally, the first two things you wrote were basically tired clichés as opposed to insightful observations. These are not his personal issues. He’s abused a woman and done so in front of a child. His wife is making it the issue of the court system and ultimately we the public are entitled to have an opinion on this. It is our justice system after all. These are not personal issues, these are crimes. Columbus Short is not the victim here. He has created victims. You’re a fan, and it is blinding you. I’m sorry you can’t see that.

  45. Ben says:

    I actually don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him, he was ok. But he was kind of useless.
    I am dissapointed they didn’t show his death (if he’s dead).
    I guess, Olivia will be back in DC for that.

    I hope they’ll introduce a new character. A good one, please!

  46. BBRO says:

    Harrison was the Gladiator at Olivia Pope’s firm…for me, he made it work like a well-oiled machine…it won’t be the same without him. Like someone already posted, when he explained to Quinn at the beginning that they were Gladiators…and what a Gladiator was…I was immediately sold that he was either very good or very crazy.

  47. Shaun says:

    Lol he needs Olivia Pope. I mean it is a scandal after all.

  48. Norkir says:

    I always think , in these situations, what a shame it is when such talented individuals
    allow their personal lives to interfere or destroy their professional lives! So much wasted
    talent but there’s always thousands of people waiting their turn to step in! They make it easy for them.

  49. LISA says:

    I actually think he had the most boring character on the show. I’m not upset about it. Love the show and it’s not going to hurt it at all, in my opinion.