It’s the burning question Gladiators have been asking since the Scandal midseason finale: Will Fitz ever find out about Olivia’s abortion?
After a tumultuous few seasons of back-and-forth, Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia (Kerry Washington) seemed poised to find happiness. Unfortunately, their relationship could not stand the public pressure, eventually leading to Olivia’s shocking holiday plans: getting an abortion and moving out of the White House.
In truth, executive producer Shonda Rhimes has not made a decision whether Fitz will discover the truth. “My question is: Does he need to?” Rhimes said at Tuesday’s PaleyFest panel. “A woman made a choice about her body that she legally has the right to make. I haven’t actually decided, but I wonder sometimes. We talk about it a lot.”
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Though Fitz and Olivia are done for the time being, Rhimes stressed that Scandal is more than just the Olitz relationship. “Olivia is on a journey,” Rhimes said. “Olivia’s been on a journey since we started. It’s interesting to me that her primary story is a romance. That’s what you’ve seen. To me, her primary story has been discovery of herself. I’m happy that you have fallen in love with Fitz, because that is the journey that Olivia went on. She fell in love, got the fantasy and she discovered the fantasy was not real. That does not mean she does not love Fitz, and it does not mean that Fitz is not worthy of love. It just means that Olivia does not know who she is yet.
“The idea that they were together under the circumstances in which they were together — that she was going to move into the White House and become Mellie [Bellamy Young], who was the unhappiest woman we’ve ever seen — was a farce,” Rhimes continued. “That she’d surrender herself to be a prisoner of the White House and be an appendage of him, that was never going to work. For Olivia, the breaking free of that, while painful, was the first step toward realizing that she was not who she was meant to be. Her father has been saying that, and while he represents evil to a lot of you, he also represents truth.”
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What their future may hold, in other words, is up in the air — as is the future of Scandal, as Rhimes reiterated her plans to keep the political fixer drama as a contained story. “We know where it ends and when it ends,” Rhimes said, though the question is when. Scandal was recently renewed for a sixth season, but does Rhimes actually look at that as the final season? “I can’t tell you that,” Rhimes told EW ahead of the panel. “I’ve always had the end point in mind.”
For the time being, Scandal is heading into the height of election season, drawing many parallels to the real-life political landscape — so much so, in fact, that Rhimes revealed they’ve had to change dialogue in scripts that hit too close to home. “If you think the debates you’ve seen in the real world are fun…” star Kerry Washington teased coyly.
In possibly related news, a familiar face returns during Thursday’s episode, which screened ahead of the panel, that will surely raise some eyebrows.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.