By Joshua Malina and Scott Foley
March 25, 2016 at 03:19 PM EDT
Craig Sjodin/ABC
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Consider it handled. Each week, Scandal fan-favorites Joshua 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 15 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: What time is it?

Scott Foley: Folina Time.

JM: Damn straight. Time to pick our pencils up and write about “Pencils Down.” Clever, right?

SF: Ish. I’d give it a 3, tops.

JM: I’ll take it. That’s as high a score as I normally shoot for. I’ll tell you what, I would watch a spin-off show that was just Kate Burton as Sally Langston hosting The Liberty Report. Drawl on, sweet Kate! And I LOVE that we got a glimpse of her toward the end of the episode, curlers in, barking at her subordinates. That’s some primo Sally.

SF: I don’t know about a whole Liberty Report show, but Kate Burton? I could watch her all day every day. And if I may, she’s even better off screen than she is on. Truly a lovely person.

JM: My only real complaint about this episode is what I will refer to simply as “Podiagate.”

SF: Of course.

JM: Right?

SF: No. Not right. WTF are you referring to?

JM: Well, first that multiple characters referred to the “podiums” that were being used for the debate, when everyone knows that the plural of “podium” is “podia.” I found this reprehensible. But perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that those were lecterns, not podia! One stands on a podium; one stands behind a lectern.

SF: Maybe we should title this Folina “soapbox,” based on the Ivy League-educated, holier-than-thou one you’re standing on right now.

JM: “Soapbox,” yes! Exactly. One stands on a soapbox, or a podium.

SF: Please tell me that you’re done on this “point?”

JM: Or a rostrum. Now I’m done.

l liked all the debate prep in this episode. Good fun to watch. I had to remind myself that we’re supposed to be watching a Republican primary when I heard Abby praise Susan’s stance on “climate change, immigration, and reproductive rights.” A nice fantasy version of the actual GOP campaign going on. And I was psyched to see Danny Pino in his first Scandal appearance. I love that guy, but it was refreshing to see him beating up on Cyrus instead of me. Last time I ran into him, he was kicking my ass on Law & Order: SVU.

SF: I’ve known Danny for a while and was thrilled when I saw him at his first Scandal table read. I also like his counter to Cyrus’ place in the Vargas campaign. Nothing is ever easy for Cyrus and putting Danny in there makes it all the more enjoyable to watch.

JM: David Rosen continuing to bug Abby for romantic help is the definition of “not cool,” not that anything about D.R.’s behavior is cool these days. I really liked the moment when Olivia walked out of the debate negotiations. Cut to her standing with Mellie, just counting down until they call her back and acquiesce to her demands. “5-4-3-2-1…” I actually did this once! I was exec-producing Celebrity Poker Showdown. We were in Vegas, about to shoot. Shannon Elizabeth was supposed to participate, but she was insisting on photo approval for press shots. I called her manager, told him no one was getting photo approval, and neither would his client. I said he had five minutes before I booked a replacement for her, and hung up. I turned to the other producers and said, “In 45 seconds he’s going to call back and say she’s in.” And he did. So, basically, I’m Olivia Pope.

SF: I see it mostly around the eyes.

JM: Olivia actually says, “I don’t play dirty,” in this episode. I had to stifle a laugh. Also, Gettysburger should be a real restaurant chain. And it should be kosher. No double Lincolns with cheese. Artemis was great in this episode. I was not proud as I saw the effects of David’s behavior on Susan. She and I shot that last scene at Emerson College’s L.A. campus, which is an award-winning piece of architecture, that stands right next to our studio.

Kelsey McNeal/ABC

SF: The whole David/Susan/Elizabeth triangle has to blow up, right?! Susan is just so good that David has to pay a price. But yes, David’s a dick.

JM: Wait. I didn’t say that.

SF: For me this was really a cool look behind the scenes of a debate, and an interesting — though hopefully highly dramatized — version of what’s been playing out in real life recently. Liv and Edison is always a fun relationship for me to watch, knowing their romantic history, seeing how they interact now, there’s something fun to watch about them. Mellie’s campaign seems to be having a hard time finding its footing. Between the way that Mellie is viewed by the public, and her inability to counter that image no matter how hard she tries, it’s a compelling story, and seeing her deal with it gives me the ability to feel .. .compassion? For her. So strange.

I can’t wait to see this debate next week!!

JM: Two exclamation points? Calm down. Pace yourself. We’ve got a whole week to get through.

Shonda Rhimes’ political drama: Sex! Murder! Olivia’s suits!
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