11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Scandal's' Katie Lowes: Quinn Is the "Glue" Keeping OPA Together
Maybe OPA should be QPA.
On ABC's Scandal, Olivia Pope & Associates has been more like Quinn Perkins & Associates since the former has been focused on juggling two men and hunting down her father, the head of black-ops group B613. In her place, Katie Lowes' Quinn — the youngest of all the so-called Gladiators — has seemingly been the only one keeping the lights on at the company of fixers.
In season four, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) has been preoccupied with getting back into the good graces of Kim (Jasika Nicole) and Javi, his estranged wife and son. Abby (Darby Stanchfield), following Olivia's (Kerry Washington) startling departure at the end of season three, left for a gig as the White House press secretary. And Harrison (Columbus Short) was killed after Liv abandoned ship, leaving the ranks of OPA massively depleted with Quinn essentially the only one who held hope that the political fixers would eventually turn the lights back on.
"She's the glue keeping that place together," Lowes told The Hollywood Reporter during a set visit for the midseason finale. "To me, she's the Gladiator. Everyone else is busy dealing with their drama, and the one person who is keeping the doors open and getting the job done and getting the answers to all of the crises is Quinn."
And what a job Quinn is doing. The Gladiator, introduced in the Scandal pilot as a gateway for the audience into the crisis management world, went toe-to-toe with on-again, off-again love interest Charlie (George Newbern) in a brutal (and half-naked!) fight after she discovered the B613 killer was tasked with taking her out. She also gets to be the one to inform Olivia that vice president Andrew Nichols (Jon Tenney) and RNC head Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) have been sleeping together and are knee-deep in a plot that involves the West Angola Commercial Organization and the staged bombing that seemed to target the vp.
Read more Who Should Kill Rowan? 'Scandal' Stars Cast Their Votes
"That's a lot of responsibility," Lowes says with a laugh. "I have to keep reminding myself acting this season that I am strong enough to play it because instinctually, that's not really who I am at all! I'm far more of a goofball and I trip a lot!"
For Lowes, that's only part of Quinn's massive evolution. Since the character learned of her backstory as Lindsay Dwyer, Quinn has become one of the most compelling characters on Scandal.
"I'm far more like Quinn season one, and I have to remind myself this season to walk differently and sit at my desk differently and get my swag on," Lowes says. "It's not comfortable for me. I have to be really confident. When I say things to Charlie like, 'You want me on all fours,' as a person, that kind of speak makes me uncomfortable, and I have to remind myself constantly that Quinn this season is sexy, proud, strong, grounded and the protector and the keeper of Olivia Pope and Associates."
"The season four Quinn is stronger and braver, but I like to think that the Quinn of season one that remains is that she's still a hopeful person," Lowes says of giving Huck his B613 files in a bid to help him repair his relationship with Kim. "I think she still wakes up and thinks she can solve the case and fix Huck. She's still an optimist. You know how in season one when Olivia said Huck was her stray dog? Now that Huck has been preoccupied with his own family drama, Quinn has stepped up to being Olivia's protector and Olivia's keeper."
As for Quinn's romantic future, Lowes admits that her alter-ego "may have been" a black widow (RIP, Gideon, Jesse Tyler) but as she's evolved, so has her taste in men.
"She's in a whole new level of men that are killers like she is," she laughs. "She's in a whole different playing field!"
Scandal returns on Jan. 29 on ABC.