1:11pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Who Will Be 'Scandal's' Donald Trump Candidate?
President Fitzgerald Grant's days in office are dwindling, and ABC's Scandal is using the second half of its fifth season to focus on its own presidential race.
The race currently features two Republican candidates — first lady Mellie Grant and incumbent vice president Susan Ross — and one Democrat in Pennsylvania Gov. Francisco Vargas (Ricardo Chavira) with more expected to be revealed in the coming episodes. While Scandal exists in a world in which real candidates like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don't exist, the Shonda Rhimes political thriller is finding inspiration from the current election cycle. So while Mellie's presidential bid resembles Clinton's race for the White House, what Scandal's current election is missing is clear: a Trump-like candidate.
Star Tony Goldwyn told THR in January that the second half would feature a roster of "surprising" new faces — and "get into the machinery" of Trump. "Shonda is drawing some inspiration from the current campaign in a lot of different ways. I can't say anything else, but it's some really great stuff. You will be surprised by some fresh faces in the campaign. There are some cool faces."
Given Goldwyn's comments, THR takes a look at who could fill that Trump-like void on Scandal.
Former Maryland Gov. Samuel Reston (played by Tom Amandes)
Were it not for Defiance (remember the election rigging?!), Democrat Reston would have defeated Fitz and become president. The character, who hasn't been seen since season three, previously ran against Fitz during the latter's bid for re-election — and lost again. He was last seen allowing his wife to go to jail for a murder he committed. With Fitz out of the way, could Reston finally get his due?
Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry)
The Republican lobbyist has never met someone he couldn't manipulate. After playing a central role in the Defiance scandal — he buddied up with Sally Langston (Kate Burton) when she served as acting president after Fitz was shot. He was last seen hiring OPA in a bid to get his kidnapped daughter back. He knows everyone in the Grant administration and has dirt on pretty much all of them. Plus his only loyalty is to himself. And let's not forget how immensely quotable he is: "We all jumped off the bridge together. Heck, we held hands!"
Danny Pino's unnamed recurring character
Viewers know absolutely nothing about this character other than that he'll be sticking around for multiple episodes. Wouldn't it be ironic if the Cuban actor were to play a Trump-like candidate?
Cyrus (Jeff Perry)
The White House's Republican chief of staff just convinced Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Francisco Vargas (Ricardo Chavira) to run for president. Why? The man does love his power — and why should he continue to work tirelessly while others get the fame that often is the result of his puppet mastery? He's smart and slick and capable of pretty much anything — including lying about his dead brother who never existed.
Sally Langston (Kate Burton)
The former vice president briefly became the first female president of the United States. She's a religious and conservative Republican and was once a senator from Georgia before she ran for president. Knocked out of the election by Fitz during the primaries, she ran against him as an Independent and has since taken over hosting a right wing political talk show where she has a field day blasting the current administration and anyone affiliated with it. (And let's not forget that Sally, like Cyrus, Hollis and Reston, is also a murderer.
Those are our best guesses for Scandal's Trump. Who do you think it will be? Sound off in the comments section, below. Scandal airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more Scandal scoop coming from the show's PaleyFest panel Tuesday night.