October 10, 2013 10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Scandal's' Joe Morton Talks Olivia-Rowan's Dysfunctional Relationship
ABC's Scandal will delve deep into Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Rowan's (Joe Morton) complicated father-daughter relationship with a flashback episode that will shine a light on what created the rift between the head of B613 and D.C.'s top fixer.
"What ever happened in their past, clearly there was a moment when he sent her away and they lived their separate lives and you'll see all the details of that," Morton tells The Hollywood Reporter of the hour, titled "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." "You've seen in the first episode that their relationship is not a warm and cozy one and you'll see the depths of all of that."
After he surprised Gladiators everywhere when Liv muttered one shocking word -- "Dad?!" -- in the season two finale, Morton hints that Rowan's black-ops group B613 could be at the root of the duo's rift following his wife's death.
"Over time it will become clearer and clear as to what that was all about, why it happened and what was involved," Morton says. "B613 has something to do with their differences, but when that happened and exactly what was the moment, etc., I'm not clear on. There are still some bits of history that [showrunner] Shonda [Rhimes] hasn't let us in on."
One of the many questions that remain about the Rowan-fronted B613 include why its agents -- Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and Jake (Scott Foley), for example -- are not permitted to have families yet Rowan clearly had a wife and daughter.
"That's possible," Morton says of the theory that the passing of Olivia's mother played into that decision. "There's also that terrible kind of dichotomy that takes place in organizations like that where the heads of these kinds of groups have one set of rules for themselves and the operatives have another set of rules that they have to live under. It's all together possible that one thing has nothing to do with the other or it could be that in fact, yes, that's why Rowan had to distance himself from his family."
"Slowly but surely what I'm beginning to see is what Rowan's relationship to Olivia's mother might have been, that's very slowly beginning to make itself evident and that's turning out to be a wonderful surprise that hopefully the audience will enjoy, though that might be an odd word," he says with a laugh, noting that viewers may get to see what Rowan's relationship with his wife was like.
In terms of whether Rowan and Olivia can ever get their relationship back on track, Morton says there's "always the possibility of repair." "It's like any other family that is somewhat dysfunctional in one area or another. Whether that repair actually happens, is up to those individuals. On one hand, I could say, yes it's possible, but at the moment it seems improbable."
What do you think created the rift between Rowan and Olivia? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for our weekly Scandal postmortems.