'Scandal' Case Study: Joshua Malina, Darby Stanchfield Talk Unlikely Alliances
The duo, both unhappy with the outcome of the Quinn Perkins case, found a surprising common ground during Thursday's episode.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the "Hunting Season" episode of ABC's Scandal.]
Scandal has gone Sleeping With the Enemy.
During the Thursday's episode, David (Joshua Malina) decided to take on Olivia Pope & Associates. Still reeling from his epic loss in the Quinn Perkins case and his second defeat when an autopsy he ordered that would have thrown a wrench in Olivia's case was overturned, the attorney uses his forced leave of absence from the D.A.'s Office to get to the bottom of things, realizing that there's a cover-up going on that's bigger than Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Olivia (Kerry Washington).
With his assistant Alissa (Brenda Song) eager to help (provided he put on pants!), David begins to piece the case back together again, going all Beautiful Mind and creating his own very OPA-esque wall of evidence to track the case. Looking at who wanted Quinn's boyfriend and six others dead, he realizes that the motive for the explosion far outweighed the outcome.
Meanwhile, Abby (Darby Stanchfield) continues to have harsh words for her boss, calling bringing Quinn into the fold her second mistake and growing ever more wrestles with Olivia as she continues to hold her cards close to the vest when it comes to revealing how she was able to pull off a miraculous victory in Quinn's case.
Their worlds collide at the episode's end when what starts out as an innocent drink at the bar ends with the unlikely allies in bed.
The Hollywood Reporter hit the Hollywood set of Scandal to get the scoop on "Dabby" and what their romp means for David's investigation, if the fling is more than just two people drowning their sorrows and if the scorned "Dudley Do-Right" could ever wind up working for the other side of the law.
What was your reaction to hearing of Abby and David's pairing?
Joshua Malina: I call it the Shock and Awe Project (laughs). I was surprised. [Showrunner] Shonda [Rhimes]had intimidated long ago that this was possible but not who it would be. I doubted she'd really follow through. I feel like there are many other, younger, better-looking people to put in bed before me. I think she decided to jump right to the first of it.
Darby Stanchfield: We didn't see it coming at all. I had several people say when I got the script to read the last page. I was completely blindsided. What's brilliant about the episode ending that way, I sweated for the next five days not knowing if it was a mistake, if it was a one-night stand, is she sleeping with the enemy, if David was dropping his whole thing, who is using who, was this just a drunk hook-up. There's so many different ways it could go.
Where does Episode 4 pick up with David and Abby?
Malina: It's a continuation. That last moment seems to be an awkward, "Hah! So that happened." Then there's more of a decompression and them figuring out what comes next. It becomes a question of what's happening personally -- is this real, are they really attracted to each other because they're on the same page of what they want to know information-wise. It is a fluid thing, where it's, "Is this a real relationship, is one using the other, are they both into each other." That's the question.
What David is doing in researching the Quinn case is very similar to what OPA does. Could he wind up teaming with Olivia at some point?
Malina: That's a good point, he's the flip side, doing what they do, slapping pictures on the wall. Last year I always felt that it bubbled under the surface, and I thought that might be where Shonda was going with it. You could see Olivia and David, while they have serious differences, Olivia will do anything in the name of right. She's still a do-gooder, but she's very much the ends justify the means. David is the other side of the coin, which is as dedicated to getting to the truth but wants to do it in the right, legal way. There's been such a line drawn, Olivia has really done him wrong in a lot of ways. It'd be a big buy-back for David to go to the other side.
Stanchfield: There's going to be a lot of theories right away where people are going to predict what's happening. The writers have created something beyond what we could wrap our heads around. But you don't get it all at once; it gets scandalous and complicated.
Is Abby and David's night together more than a hookup?
Stanchfield: If you are a Josh Malina fan, you are not going to be disappointed. He's excellent in what's coming up.
What will Abby think of his Beautiful Mind wall of crazy?
Malina: That's a very good question. We do know that's there. That will be dealt with eventually.
How will he explain that or might she be jealous he's gotten this far in the investigation?
Malina: Clearly what he's interested in is also of interest to her. We've seen her in the first three episodes not satisfied with Quinn, in terms of what she knows. She doesn't know a lot about what happened and they do find they're the classic strange bedfellows and you might not expect them to be together but beyond the personal, they have the professional stuff in common.
What might it look like when Olivia finds out about David and Abby?
Malina: That's a secret that they're both anxious to keep. That's certainly an issue.
Alissa's back! Will she continue to help him rebuild the Quinn case?
Malina: She's in at least one more episode and I suspect more than that. If I have any pretention to being a superhero, I have my sidekick already. She is definitely his pipeline to what's happening at work. Somebody is temporarily replacing him and she's able to give him some sense of if it's temporary or permanent. She's an important mole and she's willing to pick up his house, which is above and beyond.
What do you think of David and Abby's pairing? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.