The Thursday night "ShondaLand" block of prime time TV is back on September 24th and at the center of it is Scandal, one of the juiciest, most exciting shows on television. Sex, power, deceit, and conspiracies: those are just some reasons why Scandal is the best guilty pleasure on TV. The series centers on Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her employees, better known as “gladiators,” as they fix the messes of the political elite. From sex scandals to election rigging to murder – there’s nothing that Olivia Pope can’t handle. She is smart, resourceful, cunning … and doesn’t take crap from anyone.
The end of season four left viewers with the moment they have been waiting to see for years: "Fitz" Grant (Tony Goldwyn), the married, Republican president, and Olivia finally getting together. It also left viewers wondering if Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), a member of Olivia's team, was going to actually pull the trigger and kill her fellow gladiator Huck (Guillermo Diaz), who went on a killing spree in the last episode. One thing’s for sure: The dynamic between the characters is going to change this season – and we can’t wait to see what Scandal creator/producer/writer Shonda Rhimes gets them into next.
Here are Olivia Pope’s 10 Most Badass Moments in Scandal.
10 Telling Cyrus That He’s a “little Bitch Baby”
Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), the country’s first gay Chief of Staff, is a ruthless political monster who lets no one or nothing get in the way of his quest for power. He was one of the culprits behind “Defiance,” the election-rigging conspiracy that made Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) president. He was also Olivia Pope’s mentor when she came to Fitz’s election campaign. Many of the techniques Olivia uses to “fix” situations can be credited to Cyrus’ vast wealth of effective manipulation techniques.
Starting at the end of Season 3, life just can’t seem to go right for Cyrus. His reporter husband James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky) was killed in retaliation for discovering that former Vice President Sally Langston (Kate Burton) murdered her husband. After months of being distraught over the loss, Cyrus then makes a huge misstep in the beginning of Season 4 by sleeping with a prostitute. Sex photos leak of the couple, and Cyrus calls upon Olivia to “fix” the problem. The only resolution she thinks will get Cyrus out of the mess is to set marry the prostitute, as the public will forgive him for the scandal if he’s “in love.” This puts Cyrus into a deep depression, making him quit as Chief of Staff.
Shortly thereafter, Olivia visits Cyrus at his home, and instead of coddling him, she tells him: “I am going to speak to you like the Cyrus I know would speak to you right now.” She then tells him to “grow the hell up” and the Cyrus she knows "doesn’t hide in his half-empty closet and wet his pants like a little bitch baby.” She riles him up further until Cyrus screams: “I am not a little bitch baby.” In the next scene, he’s announcing his engagement to the prostitute.
9 Attempting to Escape Her Kidnappers
In the middle of Season 4, Olivia is kidnapped in an attempt by Fitz’s second Vice President, Andrew Nichols (Jon Tenney), to force him into declaring war with West Angola. Since the beginning of the show, Fitz has had an intense on again/off again affair with Olivia. Fitz’s undying love for her is his greatest weakness – he will do anything to ensure her safety. Against sound advice from his closest advisors, Fitz ends up declaring war, turning Olivia into the modern day Helen of Troy.
What Fitz often fails to recognize is that Olivia isn’t a helpless female – she is smart and resourceful. Olivia’s kidnappers take her to an abandoned building where they hold her hostage. One of the times she is taken to the bathroom, she notices a small window near the ceiling. Realizing it’s probably her only opportunity for escape, she rips out wire from her bra, climbs on top of the sink, and tries to use the wire to reach the lock on the outside of the window. As soon as she unlocks it, one of her kidnappers walks into the bathroom, foiling her plans. Later in the episode, in an act of anger and desperation, Olivia attacks and kills some of her kidnappers. She is almost free again, but is caught by the leader of the kidnappers.
Olivia remains kidnapped for several more episodes. Knowing that death was going to be her fate at the hands of Andrew Nichols, she convinced the kidnappers to turn against him and sell her on the black market. She’d rather take her chances with a terrorist organization or warlord than spend any more time at the mercy of the Vice President. She is sold for $2 billion to the Russians. When her kidnappers exchange her for the money, it’s revealed that her purchaser is none other than her former “gladiator” Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cusack).
8 Threatening Andrew Nichols
In season three, it’s revealed that Andrew Nichols and Fitz’s wife Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) have had feelings for each other for many years. When Fitz was governor of California, Mellie was raped by his father and tried to commit suicide shortly thereafter. Andrew was the one who saved Mellie when she almost overdosed on pills.
Years later, Mellie and Andrew were reunited when Fitz chose Andrew to run for Vice President in his re-election campaign. Andrew came on board, and it didn’t take long for Mellie and him to start having an affair. After they were caught, Fitz was furious, regardless of the fact that he had been sleeping with Olivia on and off again for years.
Olivia meets with Andrew and tells him he has two options: screw Mellie or become the next Vice President of the United States. She says that if he chooses the former that she will use her “considerable talents” to destroy him. Olivia knows that men like him will always choose power over love. Needless to say, Andrew chooses power.
7 Telling Fitz That sHe Has to Earn Her
Near the end of Season 2, Olivia discovers that her lover, Jake Ballard (Scott Foley), set up cameras in her apartment and has been spying on her. Little does Olivia know that Fitz ordered Jake to spy on her to make sure she was safe. Olivia attacks Jake, and when he pushes her away, she falls, hits her head, and lands herself in the hospital with a concussion. Fitz rushes to be with Olivia, and Mellie reaches her wits end when Fitz won’t leave her side. When Fitz finally returns home, Mellie tells him that she’s leaving with their youngest child, and threatens to expose his affair with Olivia. Fitz’s political future is left hanging in the balance.
In the next episode, Olivia is well and back at work. Fitz calls Olivia demanding for her to come to the White House so they can talk. Olivia refuses until Fitz threatens to come to her office where her gladiators are working a case. Olivia caves in and goes to the White House. When she arrives at the Oval Office, she asks Fitz, “What do you want?” He responds “You.” Fed up with the empty promises and failed attempts for a real relationship, Olivia asks Fitz why he is concerned about getting his “mistress” back when Mellie was about to ruin his political career. Fitz says he loves her, and to forgive him and take him back. Olivia responds saying: “I am not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, earn me. Until then, we are done.” She walks out of the Oval Office, leaving the most powerful man on the planet distraught and perplexed.
6 “Handling” Amanda Tanner
Audiences get their first look at Olivia Pope’s “fixing talents” in the first episode of the show, when Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil), a twenty-something White House intern, claims that she and Fitz had an affair. Cyrus calls upon Olivia to help fix the situation.
Olivia and her new gladiator, Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), follow Amanda walking her dog in the park and go in for the kill when she sits down on a bench. Olivia sits down next to her, making pleasantries for a few seconds, and then she turns. She proceeds to threaten Amanda, letting her know what could happen if she continues with her lies: she would never be able to find employment again and her personal information would find its way to the press.
Olivia then threatens that Amanda will get hurt if she spreads her lies to other people that are not as nice as her. She tells Amanda to hand in her resignation, pack up her things, and leave. Amanda walks away crying; Olivia then calls Cyrus and tells him the situation has been “handled.”
5 Choosing Her Gladiators Over Fitz
In the last episode of Season 2, Olivia visits Fitz at the White House after learning from Cyrus that Fitz killed Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney). On her deathbed, Verna told Fitz that she, Cyrus, Mellie, and Olivia were behind the “Defiance” election-rigging conspiracy that secured his presidency. Overwhelmed with shock and anger, Fitz takes Verna off of oxygen and suffocates her. Cyrus also informed Fitz that Olivia and Jake have been sleeping together. Cyrus purposely made Olivia and Fitz aware of these things in hopes they would end their relationship once and for all, which would make Mellie return to the White House and Fitz refocus on his re-election campaign.
Unfortunately for Cyrus, Fitz tells Olivia that he is willing to “forgive” her for sleeping with Jake. Olivia tells Fitz that she went too far in order to get him elected as President, but it’s time to let it all go. Olivia tries to convince Fitz that he can run the next election clean with Mellie by his side. Fitz responds by saying that he wants Olivia and that “she will be his next First Lady.” Olivia tells Fitz that she can’t leave her team – they need her because she is their “gladiator.” Olivia walks away from Fitz for the people who swear that they will jump over a cliff for her.
4 Telling Fitz What His Problem Is
Throughout the seasons of Scandal, there are flashbacks that give insight into the past of the main characters. In season one, the audience gets a glimpse of how Olivia and Fitz met for the first time through a flashback.
In the scene, Fitz asks his campaign employees why he got “his ass handed to him” against Sally Langston in the Iowa polls. Fitz thinks the problem is that their messaging tactics are weak – the American public doesn’t know where he stands. Olivia walks in and says the real problem is that he “isn’t screwing his wife.” She takes the stance that family values matter to Republicans and that his relationship with his wife looks “cold, distant, dead.” Fitz responds by asking: “And you are?” And the rest, as they say, is history.
3 Taking Down “Command”
Just when viewers think there can’t be a character more ruthless, cunning, and manipulative than Cyrus Beene, in walks Olivia’s father, Rowan Pope (Joe Morton). He is the leader of the super-secret spy organization B613, whose duties are to protect the Republic. Rowan, i.e. “Command,” operates beyond the confines of the law and has more power than the President of the United States.
Command doesn’t use his powers for good. Throughout the show, he has wreaked havoc by having Jake, a former assassin of B613, seduce Olivia in order to get her away from Fitz. He also threatened to release sex photos of Mellie and Andrew Nichols if she didn’t do what he wanted. He even gave orders to a member of the Secret Service to inject Fitz’s eldest son, Jerry Grant Jr. (Dylan Minnette), with poison that ended up killing him. He's a bad dude.
Jake turns against Command and plots with Fitz, Olivia, and her team of gladiators to bring him down. At first, they try to get former B613 agents to testify against him, but they all end up dead. Then all of the jurors in the case against B613 are murdered and all of the files relating to the existence of B613 are destroyed. Olivia realizes that her father is too powerful and there’s no way she will ever take down Command. She does realize, however, that she has a shot of taking down Rowan Pope, whose “cover job” is as a paleontologist at the Smithsonian. Olivia uses the $2 billion her gladiator Huck (Guillermo Diaz) stole from B613 to frame him of embezzling money from the Smithsonian. Rowan is finally behind bars in the last episode of Season 4.
2 Diffusing an Angry Father Who Has a Shotgun
In the middle of Season 4, an African American teenager is shot dead four blocks away from the White House by a police officer who claims the kid had a knife. The police chief calls Olivia to help handle the situation. When Olivia arrives, the father of the victim, Clarence (Courtney B. Vance), fires his shotgun demanding to know what really happened.
So what does Olivia Pope do? Like any sane person, she puts herself in danger by trying to talk down Clarence. She tells him that she has ties with the White House and promises that she can get the Attorney General down to the crime scene to investigate the situation. People start to gather around the crime scene, supporting Clarence and protesting against police brutality.
Later in the episode, Olivia learns that the police chief purposely kept the press away from the crime scene so the world wouldn’t be watching when the officers diffused the picketers with their riot gear and tear gas. In anger, Olivia crosses the yellow crime scene tape and joins in the protest. This act makes the police chief put a hold on the riot gear.
Olivia’s relentless search for the truth leads to the discovery that the policeman who shot the teenager planted the knife in hopes the shooting would look like self defense. At the end of the episode, the officer is arrested and Clarence receives an apology from Fitz for the loss of his son.
1 Blackmailing Blackmailers
After the death of Fitz and Mellie’s eldest son, Jerry, their second-eldest teenage daughter, Karen (Mary Mouser) ends up in a downward spiral of partying, alcohol and drugs. And in an episode of Season 4, she is the star in the dirtiest sex tape Olivia Pope has ever seen.
The parents of one of the boys in the sex tape blackmails Olivia into giving them $2.5 million for deleting all traces of the video. Olivia discusses the situation with Fitz, and he agrees to pay them off. When Olivia meets with the parents to give them the money, they greedily request an extra half-million dollars. Disgusted, Olivia takes out her phone, takes a picture of the couple and the $2.5 million check and threatens to go to the press and expose them as child pornographers. Olivia tells the couple that she will spin the story that they sent their son to have sex with the president’s daughter so they could blackmail the White House. The couple walks away with nothing, except the non-disparagement contracts that Olivia convinces them to sign.
Did we miss one of Olivia’s most bad ass moments? Do you disagree with one on this list? Share your comments below.