'Scandal's' Scott Foley: "It's All Hands on Deck" to Find Olivia

The actor previews what's ahead when the series returns in January — and breaks down his dancing scene
ABC/Tony Rivetti

[Warning: Spoilers ahead from the season-four midseason finale, "Where the Sun Don't Shine," of ABC's Scandal.]

ABC's Scandal came thisclose to finally ridding itself of Rowan Pope (Joe Morton) and the insanity of B613 during Thursday's midseason finale.

Olivia (Kerry Washington), Jake (Scott Foley) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) teamed up to take down the man responsible for putting hits out on all of the former black-ops groupies — including Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Jake. After Olivia held her father at gunpoint and shockingly pulled the trigger only to find out that the firearm wasn't loaded, Rowan vanishes into the cover of B613.

Perhaps shocked, Olivia and Jake wind up doing their best Meredith and Cristina impression and dance it out. After Jake quickly retreats to prepare the piano for their sexy time, he returns to find Olivia's trademark red wine spilled all over her couch and the woman he loves (yes, he said those three little words) nowhere to be found.

It comes after vice president Andrew Nichols (Jon Tenney) worked in tandem with Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) and company to have her kidnapped as leverage to force the president into war with West Angola.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Foley to break down the events of the finale — and yes, that dance — as well as if Fitz and Jake could repair their relationship and work to bring her home. 

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How will Jake feel about Olivia being taken while he was in the house with her? 

Obviously confused, but there's a huge sense of responsibility and probably a sense of failing. Jake is arguably the one person that he believes — and maybe everyone else believes —she would be safe with. I think it would be understandable if Jake felt some sense of responsibility for what happened.

Will Jake and Fitz work together to get Olivia back?

I hope so. I always go back to the initial seed of that is the Fitz and Jake relationship — their history together in the military and being friends and brothers in that respect. I know how difficult it is, especially for men of a certain age, to make new friends. I think it would be a shame if Fitz and Jake couldn't come together at least on Olivia's behalf to do something to find her.

Could it thaw their relationship? 

I hope having a common goal will realign them and remind them of their past and history and everything they've shared. I hope to God that's the case but it might be asking for a bow on top of the box. But I think it would be nice to see them be able to put their differences aside, remember their similarities and history and work toward that goal.

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Scandal needs a big central bromance like Meredith and Cristina had on Grey's.

They're the most logical pair to do that; that would be cool.

How involved will OPA be in tracking her down? Will Huck (Guillermo Diaz) help? 

I think at this point, it's all hands on deck. I can't imagine what the writers have in store but to not include everybody with a connection to Olivia who might be of some help would be a mistake. OPA, everyone in the White House that can assist without putting her in more jeopardy should be called to action.

Might this bring Abby (Darby Stanchfield) back to OPA and back to gladiating?

That's interesting. I didn't think of that, but I bet you're right. As much as it's been OPA since Olivia got back from the island with Jake — with Harrison and Abby gone — it's been a shell of its former self. That's a great point. It would be interesting to have Abby back. Do you think Abby enjoys her job as press secretary? I can't tell. I have a hard time reading Abby — except when it comes to David Rosen and their relationship. I can't tell if she misses her old friend Olivia Pope and working with her but it would be interesting to have her back there, especially now with her connections in the White House.

Yep, she's becoming more and more capable of becoming a fixer on her own.

I agree.

Is it as simple as just going after Andrew to get her back? 

It seems that Andrew is the linchpin. It's a combination of Andrew and WACO [West Angola Commercial Organization]. Andrew is the main focus because he's the one with all the political power and probably the one calling the shots, even though there's big money behind WACO. If you can get Andrew, you can probably find Olivia.

Read more Does 'Scandal's' Rowan Deserve to Die? Joe Morton Sounds Off

What kind of danger is Olivia in? Whoever kidnapped her came in and took her without a sound in like 30 seconds.

It's terrifying. I think she could be in grave danger. Even if everything goes according to plan — if Andrew gets what he wants and Fitz declares war and all the parties holding Olivia get what they're asking for — I don't know what the benefit to them of releasing her is. How many hostage situations or ransom scenarios turn out where the hostage or the person held is never let go or killed? That's a very distinct possibility. I don't think the show could exist without Kerry. She is the central character of the show to which the stories are told. Without her there would be no OPA, B613 and her father, Rowan — she is the linchpin. Do I think it will happen? No, but I think the threat is very real.

Jake now knows that Olivia does indeed want Vermont with Fitz. How does he feel about Liv picking herself?

I don't care what anybody says, but there's always something appealing about trying to win someone over. It poses a great challenge for him. It makes it appealing. Any challenge in a domestic relationship is appealing to a certain degree. It's the old game of playing hard to get. There's something extremely appealing about a strong, independent person who has their own life and makes their own choices and that's appealing to Jake. It's always been in the back of his head that what Olivia and Fitz have is very strong and possibly, ultimately maybe insurmountable with regard to Jake. I don't know.

She makes such awful decisions when it comes to the men in her life, specifically Fitz.

For me, there's something more appealing about running away. Fitz wants to run away to Vermont and make jam, but he's always going to be encumbered by whether he's president or not. There's always going to be people around and events to host and there's a lot of baggage that comes with that. I think the island with Jake, to me, seems more appealing. But that's subjective and depends on where your feelings are with Jake and Fitz.

Rowan escaped, again. Is Jake done worrying about him for now?

Oh Rowan! Two episodes ago, Rowan caught on that Olivia set him up and he says, "Good luck without me!" and then he shows back up at her apartment like, "Here I am again, you can't get rid of me!" And she pulls the trigger and kills him and he says, "Good luck without me!" again. What's the deal? Does he want his daughter? Does he not want his daughter? As long as Rowan is alive, Jake is in danger. Until he gets him, Jake will always be looking over his shoulder.

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We saw Jake was the king in the B613 deck of cards and Quinn was a queen. Who's the ace?

(Laughs.) Aces are wild! Ultimately, the ace might be Fitz. Fitz knows about B613 and about a lot of their operations. Or it could be Cyrus. But I think the ace is probably Fitz.

Let's talk about the dancing. Was Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" playing when you filmed it?

We made sure that we actually had the song so we weren't off beat and could hear the rhythm and dance to the beat. At table read, I saw that and everybody — mostly Josh Malina — was excited that I had to dance. They weren't worried about Kerry! I was apprehensive. People tell you to dance like no one is watching but they never take Nielsen into consideration. You know 10 million people are going to be watching you dance. There's something terrifying about it. At the end of the day, I had to focus on the scene and the moment and if Jake would really do it and how he would do it. It was all about that connection with Olivia. When we rehearsed for the crew and I danced for everybody, that first dance in front of 30 dudes was terrifying. You get into it and forget everybody is there and then you cringe when you watch it on network television.

Is that how Scott Foley dances or is that you interpreting how Jake would dance? How much acting is really going on with those dance moves?

Both! My acting with regard to dance moves is fairly limited. I assumed that Jake danced much like me.

How would you describe Jake's dance moves?

Jake was all shoulders last night! I thought I did OK! Awkward is the way I would characterize it. (Laughs.). However, if a woman is going to choose a dance partner to that song, Jake did all right. If you line up a bunch of guys against the wall at a Sadie Hawkins dance, Jake wouldn't have been a bad choice.

I mean, he didn't do the lip-biting thing.

(Laughing.) We call that the "white man's overbite." I said to Kerry, "Don't you let me do the white man's overbite." I think I overcompensated and pushed my lips out instead! I could pick on every little thing, but it was very fun.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit