By Natalie Abrams
April 19, 2018 at 09:00 AM EDT
  • TV Show

After seven seasons and 124 episodes, Scandal will bid farewell on Thursday with what the cast describes as a satisfying series finale. But the stars of the long-running ABC political fixer drama said their goodbyes in grand fashion back in March, as they shot into the wee morning hours on what’s become known as a Fraturday.

“For our very final shot, we had every single cast member come back to set, except for Scott Foley, who was shooting in Europe and called in on FaceTime,” Kerry Washington tells EW. “Even my parents were there until three in the morning. It was really beautiful and special; it was poignant.”

Many cast members looked at the entire seventh season as one long goodbye — or an extra victory lap, per Bellamy Young, who says creator Shonda Rhimes had initially eyed an earlier end date. “When we ask her, Shonda said she had intended to end the show at the next inauguration,” says Young, who plays POTUS Mellie Grant. “Her idea of the show was Fitz’s [Tony Goldwyn] tenure as president, but then the world changed, and she thought she had more things to say. So every moment this year, we’ve been really aware it’s our last.”

So much so, Joshua Malina tried to put a moratorium on sentimentality. “I tend to keep it pretty buttoned up and I would say, ‘We can’t keep having this moment, we can’t celebrate every last,'” explains the actor, who portrays Attorney General David Rosen. Though, he admits, that all changed on wrap day. “That was a very special moment that I’ll always remember.”

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The final scene filmed — which may or may not actually be the last moment of the series — was shot within QPA (previously OPA), and there was not a dry eye on the Los Angeles-based set. “It wasn’t supposed to be emotional, but we all couldn’t stop crying,” says Guillermo Diaz, who plays Huck.

The scene in question also brings the show full circle in a surprising way. “What’s crazy is I was the first person to shoot a scene in the pilot and then I am in a scene that was our last scene to shoot,” Katie Lowes reveals. “I savored every single word. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, these are the last things Quinn Perkins is going to say.'”

As for the show’s actual closing image, Washington teases it may not wrap everything up in a neat little bow. “The final moment, as it was scripted, was pretty momentous and evocative and unforgettable,” she says. “The imagery of it leaves you with a lot of questions; I think it can be interpreted in so many ways.” Hmmm.

Scandal‘s series finale airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Episode Recaps

Shonda Rhimes’ political drama: Sex! Murder! Olivia’s suits!
  • TV Show
  • 7
  • TV-14
  • 04/05/12
  • In Season
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