On telling actors their character is dead: “You really have to have sort of have the topic sentence ready. The first thing you have to say, ‘I’m sorry you’re going to die, and here’s how and why, and we love you’…You can’t call and sort of back into it, because that’s a little bit cruel.”
On whether the threat of death keeps actors in line: “I think it keeps Josh Malina in line…He’s very in line with me. He’s lovely. He does so many crazy pranks on our set — insane, insane, pranks, that I don’t know if everybody else thinks he’s in line. But he hasn’t pranked me yet, and I’m very grateful for that.”
On what’s going on with Olivia: “She did quit her job. You might watch her on the beach somewhere, we’ll have to see next season.”
On Jake’s fate: “We fight a lot. There’s a lot of yelling and fighting in the writers’ room…The one that caused the most drama was when we tried to figure out what we were gonna do — we had a mid-season finale, and fans saw that Jake had been chosen by the president to run B-613. There was also a pitch that Jake was chosen by the president to be his vice presidential candidate. Half the room wanted him to be vice presidential candidate, and half the room wanted him to be head of B-613. And we fought about it right up until the last minute, so much so that we shot both ways. So we had both ways on camera and filmed, and I had to watch them and go, vice president feels stupid, B-613 feels good. But it was literally a battle right up until the finish.”
On how crazy Scandal will go: “We would not do alien abductions.”
On Quinn and Huck’s first time: “It was pitched in the writers’ room. And we really felt like Quinn and Huck were not the kind of people who were gonna go out to dinner and then maybe fall onto a bed of roses with curtains and candles. It just didn’t feel like them. So we wanted Quinn and Huck’s first time to feel like Quinn and Huck.”
1. The pace: Rhimes said the rapid pace of the show is intentional and she wants the show to feel “like you can’t do other things.” It’s basically the anti-multitasking show (though live tweeting is likely OK.)
2. On Olivia leaving: “There’s possibilities,” Rhimes said when asked if Olivia (Kerry Washington) was certain she wanted to leave D.C. with Jake (Scott Foley). The showrunner confessed that the look on Olivia’s face made it clear that “She’s not so sure” about the decision to quit OPA and leave to stand in the sun with Jake.
3. The biggest debate in the writers’ room: The midseason finale when Jake was selected as B613 Command. They shot scenes with both Jake being named Fitz’s running mate and what aired. Rhimes ultimately watched both and said, “Vice president feels stupid,” and Jake was crowned head of B613.
4. Huckleberry Quinn’s dirty deeds: Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Huck (Guillermo Diaz) getting busy for the first time on the hood of the car was pitched in the writers’ room. “Quinn and Huck were not the kind of people to go out to dinner,” Rhimes said. “We wanted their first time to feel like Quinn and Huck.” And yes, someone cleaned the table at OPA after the season finale sex scene in which they “hucked,” as Kimmel called it.
5. Harrison’s fate: Rhimes was coy when Kimmel asked one of the biggest burning questions from the season three finale. “You know I can’t tell you whether or not he’s dead,” she said when asked about the fate of Columbus Short‘s alter-ego who was last seen at B613 with a gun to his head. The showrunner, who has killed off her fair share of characters on Scandal, Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy explained how challenging it is to kill off a character — especially one who has been on the show for a long time. “That call is always the worst call to make. I do it myself. You really have to have the topic sentence ready. The first you have to say is you’re going to die and here’s how and I love you,” she said, noting some people do get upset that they’re losing their jobs. She stressed that it’s always in the name of storytelling first.
6. The Fitz gauge: Olivia’s feelings for Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) can be measured by where her Grant for President poster is in her office. Rhimes revealed that the framed print — in the style of Shepard Fairey‘s Obama poster — is removed from the office if she’s feeling less than loving feelings for the married president.