Fall TV Preview
Scandal Season 5

Scandal's Kerry Washington: Olivia Pope Should Be 'Nobody's Role Model'

If you bump into Scandal star Kerry Washington at, say, Starbuck’s, don’t tell her that you want to be just like Olivia Pope. Because she will not understand where you are coming from.

“I’ve always thought it was misguided when people tell me that Olivia is their role model,” the actress shared Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. The reason why: “Because she’s having an affair with a married man, who is President of the United States. And a murderer.”

Washington acknowledged that “there are things that are very admirable” about her TV alter ego — “She’s an entrepeneur, she’s very smart, she has an amazing closet” — but reiterated, “She is nobody’s role model.” And that is by design, courtesy of series creator Shonda Rhimes.

“One of the things that Shonda does, and [How to Get Away With Murder creator] Pete [Nowalk] does, is all of these characters are complicated characters,” Washington observed. “There are no good guys and bad guys in Shondaland. You have three-dimensional, messy human beings. Nothing is perfect in Shondaland, people are real.”

Lord knows, nothing much was perfect when Scandal ended Season 4, leaving many of its human beings as messy as ever. When Season 5 arrives on Sept. 24, Rhimes said at TCA, “We are picking up almost pretty much where we left off. The world had been blown apart for everybody except Olivia and Fitz — we left them on the Truman balcony doing some kissing. Cyrus no longer working in the White House… Mellie is no longer living in the White House, Jake said he was walking away… Quinn was thinking about killing Huck…. We pick up right there in that environment. and we see what happens next.”

Do you agree with Kerry Washington, that no one should aspire to be Olivia Pope, illicit love life and all?