When Scandal returns, Olivia Pope is no longer the woman that fans of ABC’s political fixer drama first met in season 1.
After a tumultuous few seasons of back-and-forth with Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), Olivia (Kerry Washington) seemed poised to find happiness when POTUS not only went public with their relationship, but moved her into the White House. But their relationship could not stand the public pressure, eventually leading to Olivia’s shocking holiday plans: Getting an abortion and moving out of 1600 Penn.
“She’s definitely changed,” Washington said Thursday at the Television Critics Association’s press tour, where she was promoting her new HBO film Confirmation. “What happened at the end of the winter finale is a huge decision for her and she’s a different woman because of it.”
Her sentiments echo what executive producer Shonda Rhimes recently told EW about what’s in store for the second half of the season. “We have had a really interesting time over at Scandal with the stories that we’re telling,” she said. “We really went full White House for the first half of the season. The people that you’re coming back to for the second half of the season have been fundamentally changed forever when we come back to them. The evolution of those people is exactly where I have been hoping they were going, so I’m very excited about it.”
Washington also addressed the jaw-dropping reveal in the new TGIT promo that appears to indicate that OPA may be taking Olivia’s frenemy Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) on as a client. “Maybe,” Washington said very coyly.
Scandal returns Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.