Consider it handled. Each week, Scandal fan favorites Josh Malina and Scott Foley, who play David Rosen and Jake Ballard, respectively, join forces to bring you behind-the-scenes scoop. Here, they revisit episode 3 of season 5. Check back each week for more — and of course, send feedback to us at @EW and to the guys at @JoshMalina and @scottkfoley.
JOSHUA MALINA: So … 503, right?
SCOTT FOLEY: A great episode, and one of my all-time favorite scripts.
JM: Yeah, it was pretty good. No doubt. Thoroughly enjoyed it. But there was something different about it.
SF: Something …?
SF: I was going to say “distinctive.” Or “better.”
JM: Scott. I didn’t appear in this episode. At all.
SF: That’s it! Really enhanced the experience for me. I assume it did the same for much of America.
JM: Dude. So, here’s what happened for me in this episode. I actually shot multiple scenes for this one, but at some point in the editing process, Shonda and TPTB decided that they would be best utilized in another episode. Quite a lot happens after the script for an episode is filmed. Scenes get trimmed, cut, shifted around. Shonda and her directors can really play with the story they’re telling even after it’s all “in the can.”
SF: True. The process of making this show — any show really — is a beautiful beast. There are so many decisions that go into what is ultimately seen on viewers’ televisions. Between the network and the studio and Shonda, the final product is always somewhat of a surprise to those of us who have read the script beforehand. From what I’ve heard, depending on the episode, somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes of filmed content is cut. Some due to time constraints — we obviously only have about 42–43 minutes of each hour of programming due to commercial content — but also because of story consideration. Shonda and our editors really want to pack in as much punch as possible, and what feels good and right on the page and in a table read sometimes isn’t necessary, or doesn’t track well once they see the episode on a screen. Such was the case in this episode with your story line. Which, if I’m being honest, I really liked, and I think that the viewers will also enjoy it and get to see it in a future episode.
JM: Thanks, I guess.
SF: For me, this episode was almost perfect. The clock that was set early on for the interview with Fitz and Mellie really gave it a pace that I loved. All of the deal-making and inner workings of the White House with Abby and Elizabeth, Olivia, Fitz, Mellie, and Cyrus, of all people, was just fantastic and it gave all of their characters incredibly high stakes and that makes for fantastic television. Seeing the relationships tested and explored — Abby and Olivia! Cyrus and Mellie! Cyrus and Fitz! Mellie and Fitz!—was so interesting and dynamic. Just as satisfying was watching these people that I love, these friends of mine, really get a chance to sink their teeth into what I think is all around some of their best work. I mean, Cyrus working Mellie and then Fitz, and Fitz being so cold…loved it! Seeing Abby feel betrayed by Liv and ultimately talking to the press while Fitz and Olivia watched was pure gold. There was an interesting ending — a surprise, polarizing guest at the end — that I think is going to cause a lot of talk in the Scandal ‘verse. I’ll be interested to see people’s reactions to Rowan’s return.
JM: Wow. You’ve really sold me on this episode. I might even watch it now.
SF: And I’d be remiss if I didn’t compliment you, Josh. Some of your best work, dare I say, in my opinion. I’d love to not see more of you more often.
JM: You’re mean, but I still like you.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.