Here’s how Scandal season 6 episode 5 revealed who was behind the assassination of Frankie Vargas. Though Scandal is now over, the Shonda Rhimes created political thriller gave viewers seven entertaining seasons before it came to an end. Set in the seedy underbelly of Washington D.C., the show starred Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, who runs a crisis management firm that protects the image of the political elite who are usually up to all sorts of scandalous stuff like adultery, backstabbing, and vote-fixing.
While a bit of corruption is to be expected in the world of politics, the characters on Scandal have committed more than their fair share of murder too and seem willing to kill pretty much anyone who gets in their way. In Scandal’s sixth and penultimate season, the big mystery was who shot Francisco ‘Frankie’ Vargas. First introduced in season 5, Frankie Vargas beat Mellie Grant in the presidential race in the opening scenes of Scandal season 6 but was assassinated just as he was making his acceptance speech.
For a while, it seemed pretty certain Vargas’ vice presidential running mate and former White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene was the mastermind behind the president-elect’s murder. As vice president, Cyrus stood to gain a lot from Frankie’s death and he was even arrested for the murder and sent to jail for a spell. Cyrus was eventually proven innocent, however, after Tom Larsen recanted his statement confessing he’d killed Vargas under Cyrus’ orders but Scandal season 6 episode 5 revealed who was really behind Frankie’s murder.
Titled “They All Bow Down”, the episode sees Jake Ballard show Olivia Pope information that makes it look like she paid Tom to confess to Vargas’ murder to frame Cyrus. That led Olivia to her father Eli Pope - aka Rowan - who had been pushing the idea that Cyrus was guilty of Vargas’ murder from the start. Rowan denies he had anything to do with framing his daughter but Olivia isn’t convinced. Despite his denial, it was pretty clear Rowan was involved in Vargas’ death in some way as a flashback revealed that he’d had a conversation with Jake that implied he knew Vargas would be killed.
Though Scandal season 6 episode 5 revealed part of Rowan’s involvement in Vargas’ death, the closing scenes of the episode suggested the conspiracy behind the Vargas assassination ran far deeper than just Olivia’s dad, when a mystery lady appeared who seemed to shake even the unshakeable Rowan. Exactly who pulled the trigger and on whose orders wouldn’t be revealed until the sixth season of Scandal concluded.