'Scandal' Cast Portraits: Who's Who
Plays: Quinn Perkins, murder suspect-turned-gladiator-in-training who's coming into her own as Huck's eager apprentice.
Where you've seen her: In guest roles on Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy.
Office romance: Lowes had a chance to work with her real-life husband, Adam Shapiro, when he played Quinn's ill-fated boyfriend in a flashback in a January episode. ''It was so huge for our families,'' recalls Lowes, 30. ''We'd just gotten married six months [prior].... He was on cloud nine.''
Her scandalous secret: She's plotting revenge against Josh Malina, who has launched a prank war on set. His crimes? Covering her door in shaving cream and leaving a voicemail for her while posing as a tabloid reporter who wanted intel on the cast. ''We have in the works a major prank to get him back,'' she says.
What's next? Quinn will put her investigative skills to work. ''She's definitely growing a pair of cojones.''
Plays: Harrison Wright, deliverer of tough love, truth bombs, and lawyer jargon. When he's not standing by Olivia's side, he's using his charm to dig up dirt in the field.
Where you've seen him: NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
It's not TV, it's Shonda Rhimes: When Short, 30, was approached about meeting with Rhimes, he wasn't interested in doing TV. In fact, he hadn't planned on reading the script before their chat — but the night before, he had a change of heart and pored over it. ''I went from just taking a meeting to being like, 'I want to do this job,''' recalls Short. ''And it happened.''
What's next? Harrison's getting a backstory! But it won't happen until next season.
Plays: Abby Whelan, whose icy exterior is harder to crack than any info-guarding witness.
Where you've seen her: As Gibbs' dead wife in flashbacks on NCIS and Richard Castle's very much alive ex-wife on Castle.
Role remodeled: Rhimes initially envisioned the character of Abby as a Melissa McCarthy type, who also knitted and had lots of cats. ''I didn't really let the character description discourage me in any way,'' says Stanchfield, 41. ''The writing just spoke to me.''
What's next? ''There's a scene between Abby and Huck that's coming up that's probably the most challenging thing I've ever shot on the show,'' she teases. ''Stay tuned!''
Plays: Huck, a former undercover assassin for the government with a killer pair of puppy-dog eyes.
Where you've seen him: Weeds, Mercy.
Lady-killer: Despite Huck's controversial past (e.g., his penchant for torture), Díaz has found that ladies dig his teddy-bear alter ego. ''People relate to the character and want to take care of him,'' says the actor, 38. ''On Twitter, people are constantly saying that they just want to hug Huck.... We call it 'Huck hugs.'''
What's next? After the April 25 episode, you'll never look at Huck the same way again. Grab your tissues, folks!
Plays: David Rosen, a down-on-his-luck former assistant U.S. Attorney who lost his job (and his relationship with Abby) after trying and failing to expose an election-rigging scheme.
Where you've seen him: On that other political drama The West Wing and on Sports Night.
His scandalous secret: ''I haven't seen the show in a while,'' says Malina, admitting that it's simply too tough to watch himself on screen. ''I used to not believe actors who'd say, 'I can't watch myself'...but I turned into that actor guy that I always kind of pooh-poohed.'' Still, Malina, 47, finds a way to take part in those weekly live Twitter chats: ''I am a bulls---artist extraordinaire,'' he jokes.
What's next? for David Trying to sort out his personal, professional, and romantic life.
Plays: Mellie Grant, the scorned First Lady fans love to hate, who hides her Lady Macbeth machinations behind her Jackie O pearls.
Where you've seen her: As Hotch's long-distance girlfriend on Criminal Minds.
Her scandalous secret: Mellie never appears on screen without designer duds and perfectly coiffed hair, but behind the scenes? ''I'd rather go to the dentist than shop,'' says Young, 43. Even so, she did manage to buy a new outfit for her Scandal audition.
What's next? Mellie — and every other character — is going to be affected by a big decision Fitz makes at the end of the season.
Plays: Cyrus Beene, White House chief of staff and one half of the twisted Fitz-Cyrus bromance.
Where you've seen him: As Lexie and Meredith's ne'er-do-well dad on Grey's Anatomy.
Spousal spoiler alert! Perry, 57, and his wife, casting director Linda Lowy, have a strict rule against scoop exchange. Well, it's usually strict. ''The one time we broke our promise, Linda said, 'One word: naked.''' Ten days later, he and onscreen husband James (Dan Bucatinsky) shared an infamous scene that had them stripping down to prove they weren't wearing a wire.
What's next? We'll delve deeper into Cyrus's marital problems.