'Scandal' Casts 'Treme' Star to Play Kerry Washington's Mother (Exclusive)

Khandi Alexander has booked a recurring role on the Shonda Rhimes drama and will appear in flashbacks starting this week.
ABC/Richard Cartwright; Charley Gallay/Getty Images
"Scandal's" Kerry Washington (Inset: Khandi Alexander)

Prepare to meet Olivia Pope's mother on ABC's Scandal.

Treme's Khandi Alexander has booked a recurring role on the third season of the Shonda Rhimes political fixer drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Alexander will play Maya Lewis -- otherwise known as the mother to Kerry Washington's beleaguered fixer, Olivia. She'll first appear during Thursday's episode and be seen in flashbacks.

PHOTOS: On-Set With the Gladiators: Inside the Fast-Paced World of ABC's 'Scandal'

During last week's Scandal, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and Jake (Scott Foley) discovered that President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) shot down a civilian airliner with more than 300 passengers on board, including Olivia's mother, under orders from Olivia's dastardly father, Rowan (Joe Morton).

Foley previewed that Scandal will flash back to when Olivia was a little girl and Goldwyn told THR that Olivia's mother becomes a "major issue" in her life.

"You can only imagine what that would be like to find out that your mother did not die in the way that you thought she died, in terms of it being a willful act. It's surreal for Olivia," Goldwyn told THR. "The audience can imagine what that must be like to find out that your mother was murdered along with hundreds of other people. So the fact that her father was behind it is incomprehensible. It's going to really complicate [Olivia and Rowan's relationship] because Rowan remains a very dangerous person. It's not like everyone can just expose him or take him out. It becomes a very volatile and dangerous situation. You can imagine how devastating it is for Olivia."

PHOTOS: Nudity, Slapping, Pranks! 'Scandal' Cast Share Their Most Scandalous Moments

NAACP Image Award winner Alexander's credits include CSI: Miami, The Corner and ER. She most recently starred as LaDonna Batiste-Williams on HBO's Treme, which will premiere its fourth and final season Dec. 1 on HBO. She's repped by Resolution, Gallant Management and Greenberg Traurig.

Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC. Hit the comments below with your thoughts on Alexander's casting.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit