Fall TV Preview: 5 Things to Know About Season 3 of ‘Scandal’

Kerry Washington of "Scandal" (Photo: ABC)

The Season 2 finale of “Scandal” left fans gasping and tweeting in shock: Jake (Scott Foley) was thrown in the hole, Quinn (Katie Lowes) embraced her new role as torturer, and, the biggest shocks of all, Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) affair with Fitz (Tony Gokdwyn) was leaked to the media and head of Black Ops Rowan (Joe Morton) was revealed to be her father. 

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes does a better job of keeping information classified than the real-life white House. But she and the show’s cast previewed a few delicious tidbits about the upcoming season. Here are five things you need to know about “Scandal.”

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1. Olivia and Rowan’s Fatherly Relationship Explained. Last season ended with Rowan pulling into a limousine and her calling him Dad. This season, all of your questions will be answered: “We pick up 22 minutes after we left off, and Joe Morton continues to be incredible,” is Rhimes’ cryptic hint. But Guillermo Diaz (Huck) shared a little more. “There’s going to be flashbacks with Olivia and her father as well. So we’re going to see Olivia and Rowan in the past. So that’s a nice little piece there that you’re going to see.” Adds Jeff Perry (Cyrus), “The audience finds out more than the characters do at a faster rate about Olivia and Rowan, about father and daughter. The way it comes out is great and what you learn, we’re going to get more and more in to the incredibly mysterious Joe Morton.”

2. Everyone Is in Damage Control Mode About “Olitz.” As anyone who was alive during the Clinton administration knows, all hell breaks loose when a presidential affair is exposed. The stakes are even higher when the mistress is his former top adviser for whom he was willing to leave his wife. So when Olivia and Fitz’s relationship goes public, everything changes. “I think it’s going to have a big effect on the dynamic,” says Rhimes. Washington elaborates: “You see Olivia really navigating two challenges. One, the bomb has been dropped and her name has been leaked, and the other that she is faced with her Dad.” For Cyrus, it’s another crisis to be managed. “You’ve got to refute it, somehow kill it, somehow bury it, or, as you can imagine, if I can’t do that, I have a horrible choice. I have to try to bury her. And that’s something I would never want to do. Because I love my Fitz and I love the presidency and finally that’s my final allegiance, but I think I’d be torn in half with Liv because I love her so,” says Perry.

The revelation will also change Olivia’s relationship with her gladiators. “I think the gladiators are going to see her in a different light as well,” says Diaz. “But they’re not going to stop being loyal to her. We’ve all done bad things. We’ve all been good and we’ve all been bad, so none of us can really judge.

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3. More Flashback Episodes. Some of “Scandal’s” strongest episodes have explored the characters’ pasts via flashbacks. This season, there will be more. Diaz reveals, “In this next season we do a bunch of flashback episodes so you’ll see Huck back in the train station and you get more of a glimpse into his and Olivia’s relationship and how he was hired into Olivia Pope & Associates. Some more interesting facts are going to come out about their relationship and how they got together, how they feel about each other.”

4. Huck Is Wracked with Guilt. When Huck starting teaching Quinn the finer points of torture, he did not expect her to be such a natural. This season he deals with the consequences. “Huck is dealing with the fact that he created a monster in Quinn. He opened her up to this dark world of what Huck does and he didn’t think she was going to enjoy it so much and be so good at it… You’re going to find out in the first couple of episodes how he’s struggling and how bad he feels that he possibly opened the door that she’s not going to be able to return from. He’s afraid she’s gotten a taste of the blood and she likes it too much. He’s still struggling with himself. He loves to torture people and kill. But he knows that it’s wrong and he doesn’t want to be that.”

5. Cyrus Has an Automotive Adventure. The good news for Cyrus in Season 3 is that his marriage to James (Dan Bucatinsky) seems to be on relatively solid ground. “We gained a détente, a certain amount of peace and love, at the end of last year. That’s still holding,” says Perry. “Cyrus’s marriage, in the early going, what I know so far, there are some interesting and somewhat predictable conflicts that arise from James being in the White House press corps and being really good at his job and really nosy.” But it’s not all brunch and romance for everyone’s favorite Chief of Staff. He finds himself caught up in the intrigue he’s attempting to manage. “Somewhere in the first few episodes Cyrus is transported to a very dangerous and mysterious place in the trunk of a car.”

“Scandal” premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 10/9c on ABC.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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