As an incredibly talented communications director for the White House, the owner of consulting company Olivia Pope & Associates, Olivia Pope from the ABC series Scandal was the woman people with money and power went to when they needed a problem to go away.
Known as a Washington “fixer,” she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted and make a scandal, no matter how gruesome, murderous, or downright awful, disappear for her clients. And as the series went on, her limits got higher and higher, venturing into some scary territory. It all started with rigging an election, justified as being for the greater good. But soon, Olivia’s acts were more self-serving than not as she fell deeper into a black hole of darkness.
With that said, what are the worst things the character, beautifully played by Kerry Washington, ever did through the series’ seven-season run? Here they are, ranked.
10 Getting Involved With a Married Man
Let’s not sugar coat things and call this what it is: Olivia was a mistress, pursuing Fitzgerald Grant III (“Fitz”) who she was helping become elected president when she knew he was a married man.
Sure, his marriage might have been rocky at best, done at worst. But the illicit affair still went on behind his wife’s back, and eventually, in front of her face once the divorce was final. Beyond being “the other woman,” Olivia also got involved with a client, and her boss, which is always a no-no in the workplace.
9 Sending Mellie Into a Tailspin
Sure, the marriage between Mellie and Fitz was clearly over. But she was still First Lady. So when Olivia went out into the open and declared to all of America that she was indeed the president’s mistress, as so many had whispered about, and declared her intent to move into the White House, she gets points for honesty but none for cruelty, sending Mellie into a tailspin.
Mellie, of course, already knew of the relationship, and seemed to care more about keeping up appearances for the sake of the country, and quietly pulling political strings in the background along with Olivia anyway. But it was still a bad moment between the two before they eventually (and admirably) became friends.
8 Rigging the Election for Fitz
While this was huge, it doesn’t even register as one of the top five worst things Olivia has ever done. Working with Cyrus, Mellie, Verna, and Hollis Doyle, she was central to the Defiance conspiracy, which saw the group rig the election so Fitz would win.
The conspiracy was named as such because it was a small amount of votes in the tiny county of Defiance, Ohio that put him over the top. And that’s where the voting machines were rigged. Making it even worse, they did it all behind Fitz’s back, so he didn’t even know! She wasn’t alone in the decision and act, but it still ranks as one of the worst things she’s done.
7 Pulled the Trigger to Kill Her Father
In the fourth season, Olivia’s father Rowan, who runs the secret B613 group, is almost captured. So he issues kill cards for his agents and is naturally angry. When Olivia returns home, Rowan is there, pointing a gun squarely at her face.
Olivia manages to get the gun from him, which seems unlikely given that he’s highly trained. It was seemingly a set-up, as she points the gun at him and pulls the trigger. Yes, her own father!
Sure, he was a terrible person who probably wouldn’t think twice about killing her (and had mulled over that very thought many times.) But the fact that she did it was pretty bad. Of course, it was all a loyalty test and the gun wasn’t even loaded.
6 Used Jake Ballard
Jake was one of the scariest, fiercest people on the series. Yet he became like a stray dog when it came to Olivia, often bending to whatever she wanted or needed. And Olivia manipulated him and took advantage of that, pulling him to her when she needed him and pushing him away when she didn’t.
As someone with an already troubled past, this didn’t bode well for the isolated man. Sure, he pushed back. But in the end, he was treated like nothing more than a used tissue to Olivia.
5 Took Over B613
Drunk with power, and increasingly detached, Olivia decided that rather than take down B613, she would run it so she was in full control. In the seventh season, she takes on the organization she, up until that point, detested.
It might have been partly to make sure that really terrible things weren’t happening. But let’s face it: it was also so she could make sure that whatever was done was in her best interest. And, let’s not forget, she also used the opportunity to stick up a proverbial middle finger to her father, who used to be head honcho.
4 Brutally Beat and Killed Andrew Nichols
In fairness, he did have Olivia kidnapped, and declared that he’d do it again in a heartbeat. So we can understand her anger. But the manner in which she ends his life is as cruel as they come.
When he refuses to take $10 million that he demanded he get, and threatens Olivia that he’d have her kidnapped again, that was the last straw and triggered her PTSD from the event. She took a metal chair and repeatedly hit him over the head with it. To hit someone so hard, and so many times, with a chair that they are killed? Well, that’s just gruesome.
3 Not Saving Quinn
Quinn, effectively Olivia’s right-hand who she handed the reigns of her company over to after leaving, was an important person in her life. Or was she?
When Rowan kidnapped a very pregnant Quinn and refused to give her up to Olivia, she tried to play his bluff and left. Even though Rowan threatened to kill Quinn if Olivia didn’t bend to his demands, she still took that risk. That’s pretty despicable, and potentially one of the few moves Olivia actually regretted making.
Thankfully, Rowan didn’t actually kill Quinn. But she was still kept captive. Seeing his daughter not back down probably scared him, too, realizing that she was more like him than he had ever thought.
2 Ordered President Rashad Killed
When the overthrown President Rashad’s plane exploded with he and his niece Yasmeen on board, both about to head back to Bashran, it was a sad moment. But even sadder is when we realized that Olivia was behind it, wanting to prevent Mellie from signing a treaty with the man who Mellie had also developed feelings for. So she devised an agreement with the rebels to have him murdered to secure a nuclear arms treaty.
President Rashad didn’t deserve to die, but more so, Yasmeen was completely innocent. And not only did Olivia know Yasmeen was on that plane, but she saw her off, knowing full well that the young college student would be blown to smithereens.
At a time in the series when Olivia was becoming almost unrecognizable and completely detached, it was yet another indication that she had gone way too far toward the dark side.
1 Poisoning Luna Vargas
Arguably the worst thing she ever did, she ever-so-calmly entered a room with Jake and Luna Vargas, First Lady to the newly-elected President (who was killed before he could even spend a day in office). There, they gave her a choice that wasn’t much of a choice at all: they would take her out, shoot and kill her, and bury her body in the forest. Or she could take some suicide pills and die quietly under non-suspicious circumstances.
Sure, she wasn’t exactly an angel. Olivia and Jake discovered that it was Luna who had conspired to kill her own husband and take power herself as Mellie’s vice president. Still, it was chilling to see Olivia be so cool, calm, and collected as she delivered a pair of pills that she knew would end someone’s life.