This week on ABC’s Scandal, Secret Service agent/B613 mole Tom Larsen was called on the carpet to answer for his actual whereabouts just prior to the election, seeing as surveillance footage shows him stealing from Fort Detrick the strain of meningitis that was used to murder the First Son, Jerry Grant Jr.
Yet rather than reveal Rowan to be the puppetmaster behind the attack, Tom fingered Jake, whom he had previously agreed to partner with in taking down the B613 boss man once and for all. TVLine invited series vet Brian Letscher to answer some burning Qs about the big twist.
TVLINE | Ever since the events at the end of Season 3, were you kind of waiting for the guillotine to fall on poor Tom?
No question. You’re always looking out your side mirror when you’re on Scandal in general, but I did not help myself by carrying out those orders, that’s for sure.
TVLINE | What was your initial reaction when you read that it was Tom who infected Jerry Jr. with the meningitis?
The initial reaction was of course shock, because we’re not told those things before the table read. I was simultaneously horrified that my character would do that, yet excited that I would get a chance to be in the middle of things a bit more. But stepping outside of it, you must find a way to get over the horrifying-ness of it and justify it as a character.
TVLINE | Now, clarify about this week’s episode — why did Tom finger Jake for the whole scheme?
I don’t think he wanted to. I really don’t think he wanted to. However, he also thinks he doesn’t leave that building alive. This was the only chance he has to survive, now that Rowan’s in the room, with that authority. If I say it’s Rowan [who ordered Jerry’s death], I have no way of proving that, none. So the only answer I have in the moment is “Jake Ballard,” if I want to live to see another day.
TVLINE | My thinking is that when the president didn’t come out from behind the glass after Tom asked for him, Tom must be thinking, “Wow. I guess Jake didn’t get to him with the evidence. And if Jake didn’t get to him with the evidence, maybe Jake actually doesn’t have my back. So I’m going to re-up with Rowan.”
I think there’s always that possibility, for sure. You never know who is going to pull the rug out from underneath you. As soon as the president didn’t come out, I thought, “Wow, I’ve lost him. I don’t have him.” And I don’t think I have Jake either, if there was no evidence. Rowan was like, “I’m all you have,” and as horrifying as that is, it was true.
TVLINE | One thing I am still a bit puzzled about is why Fitz brought in Rowan in the first place. Is it simply because, as Command, he’d be able to get whatever is needed out of Tom?
I think so. As Command, he’s got a psychological edge on you. He’s trained you. He’s clearly adept at manipulating people – Tom maybe to the nth degree. On the [park] bench, he calls me his “golden boy,” so I really feel like Tom feels like he’s let down his “father.” As such, the president knows Rowan can break through any wall that Tom is going to put up.
TVLINE | I have to wonder if Fitz, even subconsciously, was kind of steering this narrative, to get Olivia’s vacation buddy out of the picture.
Right? That’s the fun thing about this show, there are always two or three answers that make sense or are a possibility, because there are so many streams that cross.
TVLINE | Might Tom be presented with one more opportunity to make things right?
It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be really tough, because we don’t know where he’s going at this point. We know he was handcuffed. In that last look between him and Rowan, Tom was saying, “You’ve saved me, right…?” But even when he gets that look from Rowan, it’s hard to believe him.
TVLINE | And who knows where that packet of evidence is now.
Exactly. I certainly think that it’s not in the hands that Tom wants it to be in! The repercussions, not only of killing Jerry but also of giving up Jake in that way, are going to be felt by multiple people in multiple ways.
TVLINE | But we’ll definitely see you again?
It’s safe to say that that’s going to happen, yeah. How much and where, I can’t say.
TVLINE | What is it with the Letscher Brothers playing such sketchy types on Scandal? [Brian’s brother Matt played Billy Chambers.]
Yeah, right?! I think it’s the blond hair. Bad guys are always better with blond hair!