Post Mortems
Scandal President Elect Killed

Scandal's Killer PEOTUS Twist: ABC Boss Stresses, 'It's a Fictional Story'

During its Season 6 premiere on Thursday night, ABC’s Scandal presented an election night scenario which, in these delicate times, perhaps raised an eyebrow or two — especially if it had aired as originally scheduled, one the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Soon into the season opener, which was filmed six months ago, it was revealed that Pennsylvania Governor Francisco Vargas had eked out a win over Senator Mellie Grant, putting him on the path to become the 45th President of the United States. But during his acceptance speech, the unanticipated president-elect was assassinated.

When TVLine asked ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey if the episode’s potentially inflammatory, election-themed twist played any small role in the decision to postpone ABC’s #TGIT line-up, to the Thursday after Trump’s inauguration, she waved off the idea.

“Here’s the thing: It is a fictional story about fictional characters in a fictional world, that very much builds off of everything we did in Season 5,” Dungey said, echoing that which Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes said during the drama’s recent TCA press tour panel.

With a nod to Vargas’ slim, briefly contested win over the female presidential candidate, Dungey continued, “that’s a very weird similarity [to Trump/Clinton], but the similarities end there, in terms of who’s a part of what party, in terms of Vargas being a Latino governor…. On the surface there are a few similarities, but really, when you look at it closely, there are not.”

Returning to the tragic assassination itself, Dungey pointed out, “That’s an inciting incident that’s about plot. Because what the episode is about is something completely different. It’s about Cyrus’ complicity, or not, [in his running mate’s murder]. So while I feel like, ‘Sure, there’s a tiny bit of an eerie something,’ the story we’re telling is a very different story. Again, it’s a fictional story in a fictional universe. And it’s a great story for Scandal.”

Were you at all unnerved to see Scandal kill off its narrowly elected PEOTUS?

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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31 Comments
  1. Daniel McKay says:

    Great Episode. Better than the entire 5B.

  2. Cheyenne says:

    Honestly now, who didn’t see that coming?
    If Mellie had won, RowAn would have had her killed so Jake could become president.
    Shonda, you are so predictable.

  3. kn1231 says:

    All I want at the conclusion of this is for Mellie to be president. Really interested to see how her and Liv work together in the White House. Also, still hoping for Rowan to die but after 3 seasons of wishing and not receiving I feel like I should give up on that one.

  4. Mitsotakis says:

    Really? They need more imaginative writers. I might give it a couple more episodes but I’m close to stopping.

  5. Mitsotakis says:

    Poor writing all the way around. Especially when they are about to announce California (they’ve announced most of it) and Millie tells people to go vote in Virginia. How does that work exactly?

    • Vanessa says:

      I thought the episode was great but I was also confused as to why Liv would tell them to go vote if Virginia had already been called and they wet only waiting on California. My only thought is she wanted all the campaign staff to have voting stickers on for photo ops later if they won or wanted to have less people in the room in case they lost.

    • Larc says:

      When California is getting called, polls in Virginia would have been closed for hours.

    • :-) says:

      She did say it was for the stickers. Also i can remember a West Wing episode where the polls were open way late and nobody had Donna removed from the polling place property as she tried to convince someone to vote for Bartlett as because she accidentally voted for the wrong person. She also had a campaign button. None of that kept me from enjoying the episode and i don’t remember all this whining about it. Some of you just really don’t like Shonda Rhimes and you want to influence others with your nonsense. If you don’t like her or her shoes why come here to read and post? It’s 2017 let the petty stuff go. Show love and receive love.

  6. Brian says:

    Not bad season premiere. Can’t wait to see what is next with Cyrus.

  7. YTKylie says:

    Loved this premiere…Very exciting, never a dull moment. It will be fun to see Cyrus go head to head with Liv.
    The only annoying scene was Abby with her recycled long monologue we’ve heard a million times on this show.
    I wonder if the easily agitated Potus will feel the need to tweet about this episode lol.
    ” ABC’s Scandal, a Hillary flunky show, overrated, terrible cast, horrible ratings. Really Bad Television!”

  8. Linda says:

    Shame, Shame, Shame on ABC. I quit watching Scandal when they aired the scenario to Ferguson. Decided I would try again tonight. The story line could easily incites an unstable person to follow through w such things that are shown on this show.
    Lost me again tonight as a viewer.

  9. Matt C. says:

    Scandal is BACK! I think that premiere was better than the entirety of season 5, to be honest. For once, the show lived up to the hype, and it was so worth the wait. I think the reason this episode was so good is because there was no time wasted on romance or sexy times between Liv and Fitz or Liv and Jake. Even Quinn and Charlie’s engagement was quickly glossed over in favor of the main storyline. Hopefully the rest of the season is like this also.

  10. Linda says:

    Show seems predictable, maybe I’ve watched too long, but you gotta know that her dad is always pulling the strings. Jake did this, he’s still under command’s control. Eventually he will be president.

    • Tennisnsun says:

      Agreed on Jake. He disappeared immediately after grimacing when the winner was announced. I said “Jake did it” all through the rest of the show wondering how a man so delicious looking could possibly be so casually evil so many times!

    • Will Sanborn says:

      TBH, I think it could be a new player. It’d be too easy if it were the usual suspects. I don’t believe it was Cyrus. We’ve seen him act before on several occasions, never like this.

      I actually spent the past two weeks binge watching season 5 since I put it off for so long. Glad it’s back.

  11. Sami says:

    Now it makes sense why ABC pushed the premiere. But again, they knew the content the whole time!

    Still, Scandal is tired and there wasn’t much hotness in that episode.Nothing enticing me to watch forthcoming episodes.

  12. liame says:

    This was a great episode Shonda. I definitely didn’t see that coming. I thought for sure Mellie was going to be President. Great writing as always.

  13. Cheyenne says:

    Only 21 comments so far? This show has definitely lost its mojo. I don’t know five people who still watch it any more.

  14. Andrew Hass says:

    I’m sure the twist where the newly elected president was assassinated was planned months ago by Scandal’s showrunners.Plus there’s more suspense and as far as Mellie winning i think that would have been too easy.

  15. to bad it did mirror the election so theres no fiction here

  16. I liked the episode and Jake having no screen time only made it better. His wife has taken to drinking like a fish. I guess she finally realized she married a monster who’s obsessed with another woman. I’m liking the casting change. Jake’s wife suddenly got interesting.
    .
    Is Charlie part of OPA now because… no… I also wish they found a way to calm Quinn down. Her character’s exhausting. Hutch was surprisingly well adjusted during the episode lol.
    .
    I’m going to miss Tony as the POTUS. Messy as Fitz was, Tony’s was perfection as the president of the Scandalverse. I can’t picture anybody else stomping into that Oval and I’m never going to enjoy watching someone else sitting behind that desk. I hope Shonda has a great storyline planned for Fitz. And now for my weekly prayer: somebody please, please kill Jake.

  17. Scandaljunkie says:

    Jake did it! Cyrus is going to have Olivia’s ass for breakfast

  18. ellajasper says:

    This story line is unbelievable. The VP candidate has the Presidential candidate murdered and only Olivia can figure out who do it. But she doesn’t go to the police? How far does Shonda think she can take us? What a waste of my time.