'Scandal's' Scott Foley Defends B613, Warns of 'Explosive,' 'Deadly' Season Finale

The actor behind Command tells THR that Jake will always protect the Republic -- even if given the chance to stand in the sun with Olivia.
ABC/Ron Tom

Scott Foley finds his Scandal alter ego, Jake, stuck between a rock and a hard place during Thursday's season-three finale.

After a season and a half playing President Fitzgerald Grant's (Tony Goldwyn) former military buddy-turned-head of B613, the pseudo-Gladiator is tasked with protecting the Republic from a bomb that poses an imminent danger to his friend's future in the White House.

While vice president/presidential candidate Sally Langston (Kate Burton) stands at ground zero along with her chief of staff, Leo (Paul Adelstein), and Fitz's running mate, Andrew (Jon Tenney), Jake finds himself teaming with Olivia (Kerry Washington) and the rest of OPA in a bid to track down Olivia's mother, terrorist Marie Wallace (aka Maya Pope, played by Khandi Alexander), and save the Republic.

Here, Foley talks with The Hollywood Reporter about the "explosive" and "deadly" season finale and defends black ops organization B613. Plus could Olivia derail Jake's efforts to save the Republic? Read on to find out.

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How would you describe the season finale?

Explosive. It is unbelievable. Just when you think, "Oh, that's what's going to happen with the election!" there's a turn and twist and you can't believe what they do to the people in order to move the story along. Fitz's whole family and the kids are there for the election. The finale focuses on election day, with Sally and Fitz neck and neck in the polls, and Olivia and everybody determined to pull out all the stops to make sure Fitz wins. What they do is amazing and we'll get to see the final day of the election. I can't tell you if we find out who wins or the outcome, but it's pretty amazing.

How deadly would you say the season finale will be?

I don't know if you can get more deadly than me saying it's deadly but it's deadly.

Is there a chance that B613 could be completely dismantled?

I don't think so. Olivia had an opportunity and I don't think she thought it through all the way. Is there a chance we'll see B613 gone forever? I don't think so. I know that B613 serves in the Scandal world a huge purpose. The protection of the Republic is something that, in the eyes of the writers and characters, is vitally important and can't be done through public channels like the NSA, CIA or FBI. Because of that, B613 needs to exist. In what form will it exist after the finale? I don't know. But I think it's important that it's around.

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There's a large group of viewers who are ready for B613 to be gone for good.

I have seen that. But shows evolve, you learn more about the characters and they find their way. It's like a body of water: it makes its way and [finds] the path of least resistance. For this show, the writers found something interesting in the B613 storyline and what it did to the characters and how it engaged all the characters in a different way. The genesis of this show was OPA, solving the week-to-week mysteries or fixing and "handling" the people's problems. That was a component of it otherwise OPA wouldn't exist. But there's a larger component to this show that is the lives of the characters and the world that they live in -- and not just the "fixing" of these problems. When you look at the White House aspect, Olivia and OPA fixing problems doesn't engage the entire group as much as it would if you didn't have the B613 storyline. There's a lot that's happening that's not B613. There's an election going on and just because B613 might have a part or hand in that, I don't know why B613 gets all the focus that it does. It's the father storyline, some of the Jake story -- but Jake was involved with the White House and Olivia before B613 was an integral part. I think it's an important part of the storyline.

I'd love to see B613 reinvented with a new focus.

I agree; maybe a new mission statement or something. This show has so many avenues with which to pursue it; whether it's OPA going back to its roots. Maybe once the election is over, if it's over in this finale, there's an opportunity to focus more on that. But Olivia is very involved in this election and had to put the OPA problem-solving side on the back burner because she's got her entire team engaged in helping Fitz win this election. There's a lot going on. If she's just focused on helping other people, where does that leave Fitz and the White House and her relationship with them? How is that through line with Olivia, how does she involve all the people in the story and Cyrus (Jeff Perry)? You've got the Sally stuff that doesn't involve B613, the Mellie (Bellamy Young) stuff that doesn't involve B613 and the Cyrus and James stuff that doesn't involve B613. There have been some heavy B613 episodes but I think overall it's been a fairly balanced season.

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Jake desperately wants to stand in the sun with someone. How might he strive to do that given the threat of the bomb and Rowan's life hanging in the balance?

They're totally contradicting each other. Jake has a lot of pressure on him and I don't know if it's necessarily invited pressure. I don't know if he wanted to live the life that he's living and now that he's there, he feels responsibilities. But there's always something tugging on him to find a way out and something simpler. I don't know if he's going to get that wish this season. Jake's been trying to get Olivia to come with him and fulfill those dreams but there's more pressing things on his mind right now. Whether he's Command or not, there's something in him that always wants to protect the Republic and finish the job; even though they're at odds right now, Fitz is his friend and mentor and he gets what he wants -- to a degree -- and [Jake wants to make sure he's] safe and Olivia is protected. Any good person, knowing there's a bomb out there would want to try and stop it. That's his main goal and what we're going to see Jake doing in this finale: working closely with Olivia and the White House to find and get rid of this bomb.

It's interesting that you mentioned any "good person" would try to stop the bomb. Yet Cyrus knows about it and is only keeping Fitz from being in harm's way.

You realize what kind of a monster he is. That said, you can turn the page and look at the other side of that paper where, yes, on one side he is a monster who is going to let all those people die. On the other side, he believes that Fitz is the right thing for the country. He's going about it the wrong way, but he knows that they're behind in the polls and Sally has a real chance to win this election and he sees a way for his guy to win. The wrong way, but he sees a way. Good person/bad person? I think that's up to the audience.

It's interesting that Jake is still trying to protect the Republic and Olivia -- after she totally used him. Where do his loyalties lie right now?

When you love someone, I think you can overlook a lot. In the finale, his loyalty lies in making sure that bomb does not go off, does not hurt Fitz, does not put the Republic in jeopardy. He and Olivia have a hell of a lot to work out if anything is going to come of their relationship. She used him and he said as much. He can understand why she did it; the world they live in is such that he gets it. He might have done the same to her; there were times in the past where he's used Olivia but I don't know if it was as direct as hers was. I don't know where his loyalties lie. He's focused on making sure that bomb doesn't explode and...Maya Pope, who has hurt and [may have] possibly killed Rowan. So what's going to happen to him?

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Jake is assigned to protect the president and his secret, but it's that secret that's blocking him from a future with Olivia. Is there anything that would cause Jake to lose sight of his priorities?

I don't think so. I don't know what world this would be in, but even if Olivia came to him and said, "I'm so sorry; yes, I'll stand in the sun with you," I don't think so, because Jake has this allegiance to the Republic and has lived his entire life as a military man and in B613 as an operative. I don't know if he could say, "There's a bomb, I'm not going to worry about it." He's such a good friend and loyal person that he wouldn't put Fitz in that position.

Kerry mentioned that the way everyone feels about B613 will shift in the finale. How might we see that happen?

B613 is a different monster depending on the head of the snake -- you can cut the head of the snake off but it always grows another one. B613 mirrors the person in charge. We saw one B613 when Rowan was in charge and it's a more deliberate B613 with Jake in charge. Now that Jake has that he's always going to be Command, I think B613 will shift and evolve in a way that everyone is going to gasp at.

Quinn and Huck are becoming more of a pairing. How will their evolving relationship help or hurt B613?

That is such an interesting relationship; I don't know if I love it or I hate it. I cover my eyes but then split my fingers to watch the whole damn thing. I can't take my eyes off it. I don't think that will affect B613. I think it'll affect Huck's and Quinn's relationship with the organization. At the end of this, we don't know what's going to happen to either of them with regard to their relationship. I don't know what Huck's ultimate feelings are for Quinn but I know Quinn truly loves him and really respects and looks up to him. Even though he's her mentor, I'm not sure what his feelings are for her.

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Just how much will the explosion derail the election?

The explosion could definitely derail the election. It could affect the winner, the loser; it could postpone the election. Something of that magnitude -- if a candidate were eliminated and I don't know what the Constitutional laws are if that were to happen -- but there is definitely a way that the explosion could affect the outcome of the election. And it probably will affect the outcome of the election.

What about Sally's running mate? Do we know who that is yet?

That's a great question. It's not a surprise in the finale but I don't know who her running mate is! [Laughs.] Who the hell is her running mate?! It's got to be a Bible beating, gun-toting someone somewhere but I don't think we've seen it yet. We know Leo is going to be her chief of staff but I don't think we've seen who her running mate is yet. It's so interesting! Let's call Shonda!

Scandal's season-three finale airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC. Share your theories in the comments section below.

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