Post Mortems
Scandal Danny Pino

Scandal: Danny Pino Teases Bombshell in Olivia's Hands — What Could It Be?!

As Scandal‘s election storyline keeps on heating on up, a new player arrived on the scene this Thursday — Alex Vargas, the politically savvy brother of Pennsylvania governor-turned-wannabe POTUS Frankie Vargas.

In short order, Alex (played by Law & Order: SVU alum Danny Pino) put Cyrus on alert that he who eventually puts Frankie in the White House has yet to be determined, and to that same end brokered a deal with Olivia, trading damning dirt on Mellie’s rival, VP Susan Ross, for a sordid secret about Olivia’s ex, Edison Davis.

Should Cyrus worry about losing his seat at Frankie’s table? And what bombshell about Susan Ross is Olivia now holding? Pino shared with TVLine a peek inside Alex’s playbook.

TVLINE | Alex stirred several pots pretty quickly. Whose worst nightmare will he prove to be?
I am probably Cyrus Beane’s worst nightmare. Though maybe not his worst nightmare; after all, he’s had some pretty bad nightmares. And hes also caused a lot of nightmares. But he definitely finds in Alex an unexpected force to deal with. There’s nothing like the tie of family, and with Frankie running for president and my character’s past success in helping him win two prior elections, that all proves to be a difficult tie to break. But Cyrus will try to do that.

TVLINE | What are Alex’s prioiries? What drives this guy?
Alex’s priority is to have his brother be president — partly because he loves his brother and he wants him to achieve that for several reasons. But also, personally, selfishly, it would give Alex carte blanche as a political operative. It really is the ultimate bargaining chip, the ultimate leverage, the feather in his cap.

TVLINE | How morally gray would you say he is?
He’s a political operative, so it’s fair to say that the reason he’s not the candidate, the reason his face isn’t on the poster, is because he’s heavily in the gray. The things he has done, to give his brother plausible deniability, are probably things he doesn’t speak about at parties. But what’s interesting about him is that after we meet him, he gets even darker. Especially being pushed by Cyrus.

TVLINE | Is there anything Alex won’t do in the name of getting his brother elected? Like, if he needs to have a guy whacked, will he give the order?
As an actor, you have certain ideas as to what your character is… and then you get on a show like Scandal where the writing is so good and so incredibly unexpected in the best way possible, you embrace how twisted and how desperate they can make a character. As an actor, you do nothing but accept it and want more of it, when you’re in those hands. Is there anything he wouldn’t do? The short answer is probably no.

TVLINE | Why do you think Olivia agreed to the exchange of dirt on Edison and Susan?
Because she needs something. She needs information to help her candidate [Mellie Grant] win, I need information to help my brother win…. [Edison may be her ex] but her current situation, her current battle, is to defeat Susan Ross. Once they each get out of the primary then it’s “game on” for us in the general [election]. Politics, as they say, makes strange bedfellows.

TVLINE | Olivia told Alex about Edison’s stints in rehab. How does the dirt Alex just gave her on Susan Ross compare? Is it equally explosive?
When they make the trade, Alex’s line is, “I hope what I’m giving you on Susan is as good as what you’ve given me on Edison.” Alex, being a political operative, really is the photo negative of Olivia Pope, serving a totally different master. To upstage Cyrus, he needs that information on Edison, so he’s willing to give up what he knows is damning for Susan Ross. I would say that it’s incredibly personal, even more personal than Edison’s [rehab].

TVLINE | So, he gave Olivia good stuff…?
On so many levels. It is something that will have repercussions for Susan Ross politically and personally. It is the kind of thing that when you find that out, you would read it in a tabloid and think that it’s not true.

TVLINE | Oh, man — she’s from outer space.
How’d you know?! [Laughs]

What did you think of this week’s Scandal and Pino’s debut? And what’s your theory on the Susan Ross secret?

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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  1. niloofar says:

    finally, someone new 🙌

  2. madhatter360 says:

    I forget, but what, if anything do we know about Casey’s father? If it’s a personal secret about Susan, my guess would be that it’s related to him.

    • herman1959 says:

      All we know about Casey’s father is that he wasn’t married to Susan when Casey was born – “out of wedlock birth is the secret covered up by Olivia and the WH. That said, I also think the new secret could be related to who Casey’s father is.

  3. Marcie says:

    That’s too bad. I like Susan. I didn’t expect her to win, but I’m sorry if they trash her character.

  4. Dee Minogue says:

    Already like Alex Vargas! Miss him being on Law and Order!

  5. I am so very, very happy to see Danny back on my TV screen. I liked his character. He breathed a little life into a show that’s getting tired. Hope he shows up every week!

  6. Stillascandalfan? says:

    I actually really like tonight’s episode. It’s spot on given what’s going on with the election right now. And as always, the less B613, the better! Also, kudos to Regina King for directing tonight’s episode!

  7. Ram510 says:

    Tonight’s Scandal was the best episode so far in 2016. Finally this election storyline is starting to get interesting

  8. Eran says:

    Really, really enjoyed this week’s episode after a two week, self imposed ‘I’m-excising-all-things-Jake-Ballard-from-my-TV’ hiatus. Everything I was cheering for is happening. The newer characters are becoming deeper and more fully fleshed out, interactions are being shaken up, new pairings, new faces…it’s feeling fresher again.

  9. kn1231 says:

    I assumed the dirt he gave Olivia was that David is sleeping with both Susan and Liz. And after reading this interview, I still think it is. Otherwise it is something about Susan’s child, as they keep bringing her up as well.

    • Gina says:

      I thought about that for a minute, by that’s not really “dirt”. I mean, it’s not enough to cause her downfall. It would be silly if this was it.
      OR, Vargas totally played Liv and gave her this “dirt”.

      • herman1959 says:

        I felt like whatever he gave her she already knew just to get him to use her info to stop Jake and Rowan; but we’ll see.

  10. Regina Redmond says:

    It’s either something Olivia already knows or something about the father of Susanne’s child or nothing at all.

  11. robandco says:

    This week was really entertaining! The election storyline is perfect. Susan is the good guy so she won’t win, and that’s a shame. If Mellie wins I am jumping out a window. I completely understand what the focus group said. She is so off putting and fake, almost as much as the real life presidential hopeful.
    That secret must be about who she had her daughter with. Must be someone important, or bad, or maybe both.

  12. Ian says:

    Buuuuut is there some reason no one asked Danny about Alex obviously becoming Liv’s next (final?) love interest? Lol

    • Jules says:

      I really hope so!!!! He needs to stay and she needs someone totally different. I’m so sick of Jake & Fitz!! I thought for a minute that’s why they brought Marcus back but he’s been insanely under used as a character. I hope they start doing something with him too. Anything, really.

  13. Tony says:

    Shonda would be stupid to trash and get rid of Susan. She’s gone from being a bit of a headcase to being a character that I think has really come into her own with this election story

  14. Okay I’ve been thinking about what the scandal on VP Susan Ross could be. It seems like the storyline gave some clues. I think it has something to do with the father of her child. She was really thrown off her game to hear about David cheating on her. It triggered something in her and that is why she dumped him. Maybe she did not want to go ‘crazy’ on him like she did the guy in the past. Susan Ross might have knocked off the other guy in the past that only one other person knew about. Now that she is running for POTUS she could get exposed. Anyway … that’s what I was thinking… lol.

  15. blah says:

    Are Cyrus and Tom sleeping together?

  16. Mayi Vega says:

    Danny Pino is a great addition to the show. He’s got those Latin sparks in his eyes and great acting moves that will be an asset to the show! Looking forward to watching him again !