The cast of Scandal welcomed TCA press into the corridors of the “White House” — Oval Office and all — while taking a break from filming the 13th episode of ABC series’ 18-episode final season. There was plenty of talk about the finale of the popular Shondaland series and many of the cast claimed they were as clueless as fans as to what will happen to Olivia Pope and company at the end. One of the main things on everyone’s mind was the forthcoming collision of worlds between Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder.
Vague hints about the crossover, which Deadline broke exclusively this month, have been dropped on social media courtesy of Kerry Washington and Viola Davis — but not much else has been revealed. Jeff Perry, who plays Cyrus, said that the crossover will have Olivia Pope and HTGAWM‘s Annalise Keating (Davis) sharing “fun, battling harmonious screentime.”
When asked directly about the crossover, Washington didn’t answer for fear she would reveal too much, saying, “It’s hard to talk about that without spoiling anything.”
What she wasn’t vague about what working with Davis, which she called a “dream.” She also found the anticipated TV event empowering. “Everything about working in Shondaland is so extraordinary because of the strong women,” she said. “There’s a sense of women in power at the center of storytelling, and to expand that out into Shondaland is exciting, historic and a blast.”
She also threw reporters a bone about the crossover regarding something that will happen to Olivia in terms of her fashion, which, in its own way, is a character on the show. According to Washington, she makes an “unfathomable” choice when it comes to the world of Olivia Pope fashion. “That’s all I am going to say,” she smiled. “Get excited!”
Washington’s Olivia Pope has become one of TV’s strongest female characters. More than that, she is a woman of color leading a drama on network television. Washington pointed out that when the show first started, questions she received centered on the fact that there had not been a black woman as a lead on a TV drama in her lifetime. In fact, it had been almost 40 years a black woman played a lead.
“It was not something I grew up seeing,” she said. “That is certainly not the case [now]. You’d be hard-pressed to find a show that does not have a woman of color at its center. ABC has many — all the networks do.”
She said that the uptick of women of color in central roles is not because of Olivia Pope, but because audiences in the U.S. and around the world are eager to see different stories from different kinds of people, and from “protagonists that do not fit one kind of identity.”
She added, “I think the world was ready and now the networks and studios are responding.”
Scandal returns next Thursday, Jan. 18 with TGIT at 9 PM on ABC.