Do you think you’ve got the new drama “Scandal” figured out? Well, think again. According to Henry Ian Cusick, who plays Stephen, the fourth episode will turn the entire premise on its ear. “The whole show sort of changes again in episode four where it sort of wraps up a few gears then by the time you get to episode seven, the whole show is [different] and then you get to episode eight. “Scandal’s” first few episodes were essentially procedurals, with the focus on Olivia and her associates fixing the crisis of the week. The remainder of the season will evolve into more of a character- based political soap opera.
The game changer involves Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) star crossed relationship with President Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and Amanda (Liza Weil), the woman who claims to be his mistress. Says Cusick, “The show turns quite dark. I think there’s still an element of lightness to it [in episode three.] It changes tone. It becomes a real page turner. The Olivia Pope and the president storyline becomes very intriguing. The whole show just changes pace.”
The third episode, “Hell Hath No Fury”, which airs tonight, features a shocking twist in the Amanda storyline, which throws Olivia for a loop. There is also a scene between President Grant and Olivia that explains why the two of them just cannot get over each other. Watch the clip below to get a sneak peek of the steamiest White House state dinner ever. Then there’s the case of the week, which Cusick describes as, “A young boy, a teenage kid, who is accused of rape and his mother, who is friends with Olivia, asks her to help him and she does. Everything is not what it seems, as is always the case with this show and the characters.”
Cusick teases that the supporting characters, including Stephen, who have so far been mainly seen working on the crisis of the week, will be fully explored in upcoming episodes. “You’re going to find out so much about these characters in the next five episodes. You’re going to be surprised about who they are, what they seem to be.” He hints that the key to Stephen was a line in the pilot: “I say, “I’m not a good guy.” For me that was a clenching line. I like that a lot. I thought I saw a lot of possibilities with that. So that’s why I went for [the part.]”
The classically trained actor was also excited about working with showrunner Shonda Rhimes, best known for creating “Grey’s Anatomy.” Cusick previously worked with two other well known showrunners, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof of “Lost.” “Shonda’s a lot more hands on. The table reads are at her office.” That was not possible on “Lost”, which filmed in Hawaii, while the writers were based in Los Angeles. “Damon and Carlton were always at the end of a phone call. We actually stopped taping a few times to ask them questions and stuff. What they have in common is that they’re both hugely successful.”