Exclusive

Scandal: Cornelius Smith Jr. Returning as a Series Regular in Season 5

Scandal Cornelius Smith Jr.

Cornelius Smith Jr.’s acting career has taken a Scandalous turn.

TVLine has learned exclusively that the actor is not only set to reprise his role as activist Marcus Walker in Season 5, but he’ll do so as a full-fledged series regular.

The All My Children alum previously appeared in two Season 4 episodes of Shonda Rhimes’ D.C.-based drama, most notably the powerful Ferguson-esque March 5 outing “The Lawn Chair.”

Details on Smith’s return — including his first episode back — are being kept under wraps.

Scandal‘s fifth season bows Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c on ABC.

Thoughts? Excited Smith has joined Scandal‘s full-time ranks? And do you think he’s the subject of a certain blind item? Hit the comments!

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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138 Comments
  1. nate says:

    Cool. I liked him

  2. Sherry says:

    this cast is WAY TOO BIG now. Who is getting demoted? Scott Foley hopefully. Josh Malina needs to go too.

  3. Phillip says:

    What would be the point of him being a series regular?

  4. Al says:

    I like him!

    Plz get rid of Jake. Also can we make Leo a regular !

    • Cheyenne says:

      Oh hell no. Leo is a smarmy little creep. Every time I see him I want to break a chair over his head. Abby has got the worst taste in men. David is a wimp and Leo is a jerk.

      • Yemi Doherty says:

        Exactly why he needs to stay. I think this new guy should be Quinn’s love interest especially as he seems to be a black activist caught with a white woman. Quinn and Huck as a couple just creep me out.

    • herman1959 says:

      Oh NO, I don’t even like “Leo” as a recurring character.

  5. me says:

    he is replacing Columbus Short as a gladiator especially if abby stays at white house

  6. Babygate says:

    Didn’t that episode do poorly in the ratings? Scandal took such a dive in quality this last season that I don’t expect much in the next one. And adding more cast won’t help matters.

    • Al says:

      That eps did a 3.0 in 18-49 demo much higher than the eps after it. As long as b613 dead than I cant see this season being worst.

    • I totally agree with you Scandal was not the show to watch last season and it is sad because I use to so look forward to it!!

      • jerkseverywhere says:

        Same here last year stunk to high heaven! If you have succeeded in shutting down b613 I think the whole show will be off the air after they receive their poor ratings for a second year.

      • Chris st says:

        I think the same; there was not enough interaction between Olivia and Fitz. The kidnapping was a killer for me, because it went on far too long.

  7. Bianaca says:

    Marcus at OPA! Now that B613 has been [seemingly] put to bed, it’s time for Olivia to get back to business, her business!
    I agree Scott and Josh can recur.

  8. Kally says:

    I imagine he is the person that was referenced a while back that Olivia was going to hire at OPA.

  9. MzTeaze says:

    This is not really a surprise as it seems he will a new Gladiator.

  10. Karen says:

    I thought the actor was very good on All My Children, so I’m glad he was snapped up by Shondaland. Include me on the list of viewers who would be happy with the departure of Scott Foley and Josh Malina!

  11. aph1976 says:

    I liked the actor on All My Children and i’m glad to see he got a prime time gig,As for how his character comes back i’m thinking Olivia hires him to be one of her gladiators and it could be interesting to see how he adjusts to his new job.

  12. Cam says:

    They need to get rid of some folks if they are adding this guy and Portia. This series can’t operate with 11 series regulars. It isn’t fair to the story or the actors. I forget David is even on the show most of the time. Jake is no longer relevant. He can go. Let’s get back to basics!

    • Cheyenne says:

      Well how many did they have before? They started out with 4 gladiators and then they added Quinn. Olivia, Fitz, Cyrus, Mellie and David have always been around. Papa Pope is no longer a regular. Leo isn’t exactly a regular. James was a regular but he’s dead. Harrison is dead but is evidently being replaced by Marcos. Jake will probably no longer be a regular. The regulars now seem to be Olivia, Fitz, Huck, Quinn, Marcus, Abby, Lizzie Bear, Mellie and Cyrus. Maybe David? It doesn’t seem like an increase in regulars to me.
      .
      The big question is what in the world are they going to do with Huck.

      • INeverRememberMyScreenName says:

        Joe Morton and Dan Bucatinsky were never regulars. Josh Malina became a regular in S2. I think the same goes for Bellamy. Neither were in the S1 cast photos. So S1 had 8 regulars, S2 had 9 (+Bellamy, Josh; -Harry Ian Cusick), S3 had 10 (+Scott), S4 had 9 (-Columbus), and unless anybody gets demoted, S5 will have 11 (+Portia, Cornelius). I agree with Cam that 11 is too much. They need to go back to 8 regulars and have Josh, Portia and Scott be recurring.

      • herman1959 says:

        Exactly, after he killed all the jurors on the bus his character is really not sustainable (not that Shonda wouldn’t try).

      • Enola Jackmon says:

        Huck is what he is and Liv very well needs him. If she does want to get rid of someone without saying, he will. The pity is he is a cold-bloodied killer, he likes it. Once I found out that Jake is married in real life , he dropped 65 points with me ! And…he has children, well ! Fitz has the yo-yo effect on Liv, I dislike that. But, he sure can talk dirty good. I agree Portia should not have been cast. But, we love it and shall continue to be loyal. I’d literally die, so says the 74 year old if I had to miss one episode !

  13. Cas says:

    I didn’t really like him. But maybe he will grow on me.

  14. CourtTV says:

    That’s where he’s from! AMC. I knew he looked familiar in the ep. Glad the gladiators are filling out. The firm was getting a little small.

  15. Dude says:

    He’s the new Gladiator, we already knew this.

  16. Tiffany says:

    Congratulations Cornelius! #CTFiredUp We were all hoping to see you as a regular. You did a phenonemal job in the first two episodes you were in!!!!!

  17. Brian says:

    I’m cool with this. Was worried they would stick Jake as the new Gladiator.

  18. niloofar says:

    Scandal’s become so predictable.

  19. Jared says:

    I thought he was going to become a series regular. Glad my hunch was right!

  20. robandco says:

    Wait, you guys would have told us proudly if it was the actual blind item, right? If it is not I’m happy, because more people working for OPA means more focus on OPA, and that’s good. Great casting news anyway!

    Also, I remember seeing a photo posted on either Twitter or Instagram from Bellamy Young or maybe Katie Lowes like 2 or 3 days ago from a prison set. I fear that B613 and Papa Pope are not done…

    • Cam says:

      They aren’t back to set yet so whatever you saw was old.

      • robandco says:

        THANK GOD. I swear my face went from its usual :| to a full grown :( when I saw the picture. I was like “oh no they’re dragging the thing for another season”.
        Thank you stranger, you brightened my day!

  21. jumbo19 says:

    If he actually is the subject of the blind item, it could work good as a re-boot for the show, because honestly, Scandal needs to turn over a new leaf and get a fresh season 5. The whole B613 storyline was dragged on way too long and it became repetitive and boring. As long as the other characters get a fresh start and we get back (though, only to some extent!) to the original format of the show, I can see how this could be better than last season.

    • Kahoko says:

      I also hope they get rid of Scott Foley. And Portia should’ve never been made a regular.

      • Lizo says:

        I’d be okay with Scott leaving, but no, I’m really excited the made Portia a regular. She just snapped on screen and Mellie needs someone in her corner. I’m really looking forward to them working to take the presidency.

        • INeverRememberMyScreenName says:

          Um, Elizabeth North isn’t on Mellie side. She sold her out to Fitz in the finale.

  22. Mark says:

    Was not a fan. If they had kept the hot B613 agent, that I’d be a fan of lol

  23. Arrington says:

    I love him and am glad he is staying a part of the show, and I wish him the best in his career.

  24. Wasn’t there scoop about a new gladiator coming to Scandal a while back? I called this casting then. Saw it coming a mile away. Liv needs some morals on the team again.

  25. monicaljones says:

    It couldn’t have happened to a better person. As always, Cass Tech is definitely in the house!

    • Mary Brooks says:

      WooHoo!!! Didn’t know he was a Technician!! I’m a fan of his already. Thanks for the enlightenment :-D

  26. ellajwade says:

    What’s wrong with you people? I love Jake! He is the only one that really loves Liv. So tired of Fitz!

    • Carol says:

      Jake has no relevance on the show and is wasting screen time. If B613 is over and Olivia has moved on now that her father is locked up, then the Jake character needs to go.

      Scandal has to go back to basics and focus on Olivia and her OPA team handling cases not her love life. The original premise of the show was OPA and White House drama which worked very well. The ridiculous boring B613 nonsense and the silly unbelievable love triangle brought the show down and the ratings reflected it. Not to mention the laughable Mellie for Senator storyline which existed to give that character something to do else she is expendable.

      Hopefully, Marcus will join OPA and the focus will move back to handling interesting cases not the flimsy ones shown since B613 took over the show.

      • Katrina Scott says:

        While I disagree with you about Jake and a few other characters, I completely agree with you that “Scandal has to go back to basics and focus on Olivia and her OPA team handling cases not her love life.”

      • Lizo says:

        The Mellie plot line is one of the best things on the show. We’d never get to see this story elsewhere, of the First Lady getting her own narrative where she gets to have her own power. Mellie is smarter than her husband in every way, I’ve loved her entire plot on the show…how bored she is, how much work she did for him, how unappreciated she is. So now she’s getting her due. It’s incredibly compelling not to mention inspirational to women

    • Cam says:

      Yep. Nothing says true love like being thrown against a wall and choked out. Nothing says true love like being paid by one’s father to bed their daughter. I guess Russell really loves her too. Nothing says true love like slut shaming the woman you ‘love’ time and time again when she chooses another man (be that Fitz or Russell). You don’t have to like Fitz or anything Fitz does. I am not even defending him here. Just don’t make Jake out to be some sort of hero. If you truly wanted what’s best for Olivia and didn’t just think Jake was hot or Scott Foley is dreamy, you’d tell her to run away from him as fast as she possibly can. Jake physically assaulted Olivia. Jake is Chris Brown.

      • A.M says:

        Ohh you Olitz shippers get over yourselves seriously! Pot – Kettle – Black!
        So you need to STFU about painting Jake as a bad guy when Fitz is a mass murderer & a war criminal.

      • Katrina Scott says:

        Yes, Jake got physical with Liv in that scene and put his hand on her neck. But Liv did not act as if she was being choked. She didn’t even drop her wine glass. When someone is being choked or is choking on something, the first thing that person does is grab his/her neck or the person’s hand in an effort to stop the choking. Either it was bad acting or an intentional choice to indicate Jake’s actions were more a threat and scare tactic than an assault. BTW, Huck also put his hand to Liv’s neck in a threatening manner.

        • oh well says:

          She was drinking wine? She was at the office, go watch the episode again. So much more I want to say but your response to the choking that you say was not really choking, tells me you wouldn’t understand.

    • A.M says:

      Thank you…Jake needs to stay put in this show and we need less screen time with Fitz and Liv. Last season he had no relevance yes but he can always be made relevant with a good plot…I’m hoping Shonda does not listen to all this BS and keeps Jake right were he is

  27. terrentoodope says:

    I’m excited. Cornelius a stellar actor, so he will mesh well with the cast. 😊

  28. tonya says:

    I really hope the Scandal team are reading these comments. Fans want Joke out and Josh needs to be drop down to recurring. Portia should of never been made a regular either. The cast is way too big needs to focus on the original core cast regulars, their backgrounds and continuity. It’s time for Shonda to clean house starting with her pet Scott Foolery.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      “Joke”! “Scott Foolery”! So, so clever. And mature.

      • tonya says:

        I said what I said. Yes it might be immature but I meant every word of it. Now be gone Mr. Matt Webb MitoBitch. You sound like an old cranky grump.

        • A.M says:

          You are very sad…grow up!

          • tonya says:

            A.M are u Scott Foolery agent or something. cause you are stanning a little too much for a less than mediocre actor. Please back the f_ _ K up off my pubes ok. Yes I hate the actor as well as the character. Scott has shown that he is very unappreciated of the viewers of Scandal and disrespects the people who are the very reason he has the job he doesn’t deserve. Wood boy would of been out the door if it wasn’t for Shonda having a hard on for his useless as

    • A.M says:

      Oi pea-brain it’s one thing to hate a character and another to insult an actor…drop your pettiness & learn to differentiate!

    • Tony says:

      Someone needs to gain some perspective, lol

    • Cheyenne says:

      Um… don’t look now but Matt is a staff member on this web site. He’s not going anywhere. But he just might make sure that you do.

    • Joan Flowers says:

      It is time for Shonda not to do that.

  29. Fernanda says:

    I always saw him as the new gladiator of OPA

  30. A.M says:

    After getting Liv and Fitz together, Shonda better make sure Jake stays put in this series. Anything to take screen time off that toxic couple, the more regulars they have the better.

    • Katrina Scott says:

      I agree. It makes me very happy when I see that there are people who are not Olitz fans. I can’t say that I won’t watch the new season, but I will definitely watch the Blacklist first and decide on an episode by episode basis whether I will continue to give Scandal any more of my time.

      • Carol says:

        Good. If you are now watching the show live same day, then you should not care that Scott Foley’s character Jake is irrelevant and he can be dropped from the show.

        It amuses me that fair weather fans try to dictate the show.

  31. Katrina Scott says:

    I’m happy for the actor and I like his character but I can’t say that this is a good move until season five starts. Also, love Scott and Josh. I hope they stick around for a long time. Besides the actors who play Abby and Leo, they are the only other characters to bring humor to the show. Cyrus has his funny moments, albeit not intentional. Smelly Mellie and fried chicken eating Mellie were funny. But for the most part, Jake, David, Abby and Leo are the only fun characters.

    • Carol says:

      If you want to watch funny shows, then stick to sitcoms.

      Sally Langston and Cyrus bring the dark humor to Scandal. Jake and David are boring while Abby and Leo are just an odd couple. These folks are not humorous.

      • Chris st says:

        They are good characters for the show. Rather you may dislike them or nah they are part of the show. I believe all shows have fillers and characters with arrays of personalities. It is what makes a show. I enjoy Cyrus facial expressions; he is a really good actor. Abbey is the only one who stands up to Olivia, and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind to anyone including the Prez. Jake loves Olivia and wants her to want him. He is not fully disclosed because b316 no longer exist and he has money. I think he should hang around and be a filler. Porche’s character is a filler as is Millee’s. Huck is off the chain, but he has a story line with his son and ex wife…could be interesting. David is a cool nerd and his position alone makes him viable. He is a keeper. You see that you are also voicing you opinion and dumping on others. It takes all types of characters to make a show. It is my favorite.

  32. Cheyenne says:

    So is he going to be the new gladiator or not?

  33. INeverRememberMyScreenName says:

    This promotion makes a lot more sense than the Portia one (lbr Shonda just wants Ellen to keep plugging the show). Hopefully he’s joining OPA as we all suspect because “Olivia Pope & Associates” was in danger of becoming “Olivia Pope & Quinn Perkins.” I don’t really care about Marcus having his own arc on the show. I learned all I needed to know in the two episodes he was in. I just need more people Olivia can boss around and to do OPA grunt work. What skills does he bring to OPA? And let Marcus keep the suit and tie. When did everyone go from “gladiators in suits” to “gladiators in leather jackets?”

    • INeverRememberMyScreenName says:

      Forgot to add that I’m glad Shonda FINALLY added another POC to the cast. Since S1, they’ve had 5 actors be promoted to series regular and 4/5 were white. For someone who gets lauded for cast diversity, I don’t know how Shonda or anyone in the media for that matter, never noticed this and question her about it. This cast is nowhere near reflective of the diversity of the real DC.

  34. Awesome… still wanted Harrison to come back. (They showed his body, so it could’ve happened). LoL Congratulations Cornelius

  35. Mary Brooks says:

    That episode of “the lawn chair” was one of the best of all times for Scandal. I just hope that Olivia doesn’t go a-whoring with this new guy. Knowing the history of these writers I suspect that will be the case anyway.

  36. Ram510 says:

    As predicted. I hope the can make his character a little more interesting cause he was probably my least favorite guest this season

  37. Opinions, Opinions, makes my head go round & around…LOL!!! Leave Jake alone..he’s my light in the darkness that’s Fitz & Liv..(end that, please)!!! All cast members, REMAIN! missed the Papa Pope in prison segment. When did that happen??

  38. Love me some scandal…unfortunately season 4 didn’t go down too well. Shonda Rimes needs to come real good in season 5 to cover the poor ratings of season 4. You got a hard task ahead sister…if you keep on disappointing us with Olitz not staying together, well I’m sure the gladiators out there will not be supportive!

  39. Yo says:

    I honestly thought he was the black guy who was killed off at the end of season 3. Not in a racist way, but both actors look very much alike. And they kinda played similar characters. And if this guy becomes a new gladiator then they are literally replacing one guy with his near doppleganger. Just my two cents.

  40. Stacey Morgan says:

    So excited, I was hoping he would be a regular, I loved his chemistry with Olivia. I cannot wait.

  41. Yayyyyy!!! Can’t wait!!!

  42. Mar says:

    Please leave Scott alone and Fitz and Liv are just temporary because it is tv. I’m a fan of the
    show and love the gladiators.

  43. Has anyone noticed that the entire cast talks real fast & in a monotone voice! They all sound the same!!! Weird but a good show!

  44. Lizo says:

    Awesome. I really liked him, be nice to have someone who is an activist on the show. And he had great chemistry with Olivia.

  45. lms says:

    Adding Cornelius doesn’t create excitement and that’s a big problem for S5

  46. Chris st says:

    I hope he doesn’t come across as always having a militant’s attitude. Angry.

  47. Darcel says:

    I thought the Gladiators are suppose to be attornies, or a psycho like Huck. Which one is he?

  48. i am kinda not sure if i want to see Olivia and Fitz separate again, they gone through enough, they have let go of each other too many times….and now that the “sun has gone down and it will never rise again, is there anywhere to go?”

  49. will the public now bout Mellie? And maybe they will approve Olivia to be the new Firstlady? It was a perfect happy ending