Okay, Gladiators, it’s time to put on your suit and step up to the plate before Scandal’s final season premieres on October 5th!
The 2017-2018 TV season will be the last for Olivia Pope and Associates. For six seasons, fans have watched Olivia agonize between Fitz and Jake, solve some of Washington D.C.’s biggest crises, and do it all while looking like a boss!
Here are 25 things you may not have known about ABC’s Scandal:
1. Gabrielle Union was almost cast as Olivia Pope! In a 2013 Access Hollywood interview, Union talked about how she was one of five or six actresses up for the role but ended up losing it to Kerry Washington.
Union says she’s not bitter about it because Scandal’s success inspired her when she landed BET’s Being Mary Jane.
2. The character of Olivia Pope is inspired by the life of crisis management consultant, Judy Smith. Smith also serves as co-executive producer on the show, and her client list includes Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick, and Clarence Thomas. She was also the Deputy Press Secretary to George H.W. Bush.
4. Kerry Washington started a Scandal tradition where before they start filming each new episode, they scream the episode number, applaud, and bang on furniture.
5. There is a real Defiance County, Ohio, but their partisan division isn’t nearly as tight as it is on Scandal. According to Defiance’s Official 2012 Election Results, the county is split 55% Republican and 42% Democrat.
6. In a HuffPost Live interview, Bellamy Young spoke about how she only had two lines in the pilot and was told by Shonda Rhimes that she would only appear in about three episodes to write a presidential divorce storyline.
8. Olivia Pope holds second place on Time Magazine’s list of 11 Most Influential Fictional Characters of 2013. (First place went to Walter White from Breaking Bad.)
9. When Fitz and Olivia appear on screen together and seem to be having one their “moments,” it is often scored by “The Light” by The Album Leaf. This has become known as the couple’s theme song, and it is seen as one of the most recognizable songs of the series.
10. Recognize the actor who plays Hollis Doyle but can’t quite place him?
That’s Gregg Henry. He might look familiar because before he was playing a political foil to Tony Goldwyn’s Fitzgerald Grant, he destroyed Rory’s dreams of becoming a journalist on Gilmore Girls as Mitchum Huntzberger. (Remember the yacht-stealing incident?)
11. To prep for the scene where he breaks the news about Amanda Tanner’s pregnancy in Season 1, Jeff Perry used Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail to get into Cyrus Beene’s head.
12. For the pilot, director Paul MacGuigan shot the OPA office scenes in an old theater in downtown Los Angeles, which gave the offices a unique look and style. While they were shooting, there was a jewelry robbery, and the cast was trapped in the building.
They killed off his character so that he would be free, but ABC didn’t like him for the role. The role of Stephen Finch was awarded to Henry Ian Cusick instead who had international appeal after being on Lost.
14. Huck was originally described as being in his 50s, but Guillermo Diaz was still in his 30s when the show began. The role was reimagined for him. Dan Bucatinsky, who later got the role of Cyrus’s husband James, also read for Huck.
15. Likewise, the role of Abby was also reimagined. The original character description said that Abby was 10 to 15 years younger than Darby Stanchfield. Abby was also described as “round, cheery, knits a lot, has cats.” She was also the last character cast.
16. Scandal has made history several times over. It’s the first show since 1974 to feature an African-American woman in the lead role on broadcast television. Then, when Selma director Ava DuVernay directed Scandal Season 3 episode 8, “Vermont is for Lovers,” it became the first show created by a black woman, starring a black woman, and directed by a black woman to run on one of the big three networks.
17. Kate Burton and Tony Goldwyn have known each other for 30 years and have played husband and wife twice before.
The first time was in a Showtime movie called Love Matters. The second time was in a play called The Water’s Edge where she stripped him naked and murdered him.
18. ABC’s Standards and Practices wanted to cut Olivia’s abortion scene on Scandal Season 5 Episode 9, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Rhimes told them to go ahead, but if they altered the scene, there would be articles about how they altered the scene.
19. Olivia’s abortion marked the first time in 43 years that a lead television character chose to have an abortion. The first time was Bea Arthur’s Maude in 1972, who chose to have an abortion after accidentally getting pregnant at 47.
20. Speaking of the filibuster episode, Scandal Season 5 Episode 9 “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” it’s interesting to note that every budget item that Mellie reads in those scenes are in fact real. (So there is an Alabama Watermelon Queen?)
21. Shonda Rhimes has said that her favorite episode of Scandal is Season 3 Episode 10, “Run.” This is the episode where Olivia Pope is kidnapped.
22. The rapid-fire case breakdowns might be a result of Scandal’s longer than usual scripts. While most hour-long dramas are 60 pages, the Scandal scripts are usually 80 and change. While they were shooting the pilot, Shonda Rhimes kept giving the cast notes to “say it faster.”
23. Before getting the role of Quinn Perkins, Katie Lowes worked as a nanny for Nashville star Connie Britton’s son.
24. In a 2013 interview, Kerry Washington said that she wouldn’t have accepted the role of Olivia Pope had the show cast a black president. Kerry Washington has worked with President Obama during his campaign and worried about the perception of art imitating life.
25. Shonda Rhimes has reportedly always known how the edgy political thriller would end and could see an expiration date in the show’s future. The creator said to US Weekly:
Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: ‘This is it?’ Not so much. So, next year we’re going all out. Leaving nothing on the table. Creating this world in celebration. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, Gladiators running full speed over a cliff.
The final season of Scandal returns Thursday, October 5th at 9/8c on ABC.
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