7:00pm PT by Jean Bentley
'Scandal's' Tony Goldwyn: Killer Twist Is "Not What You Think It Is"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's Scandal.]
Scandal President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) won't have an easy end to his term now that the president-elect has been assassinated and the vice president-elect (and Fitz's former chief of staff), Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), officially has been implicated in his murder.
But what exactly happened? Thursday's episode revealed that things might not have gone down exactly the way people — especially Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) — expected, but it will be a while (if ever) before there are any true answers.
"As with so many things that confront someone in that job, of president of the United States, there's no clarity at all," Goldwyn tells The Hollywood Reporter. "There's no clear answer. There's no easy way to say, 'This is what happened; this is what I believe.' Fitz's default is going to be to take the best information available to him and make a call."
The biggest problem facing Fitz right now is the effect the assassination will have on the country. "I can tell you that what will weigh most heavily on Fitz, second to being able to know definitively what the truth is, what's weighing on him tremendously is the destabilization of the country," said Goldwyn. "In other words, there's a clock on all of this for Fitz because the longer this country goes without clarity and leadership, that's a crisis, an international crisis. Fitz is very aware they went in with imperfect information not knowing exactly what to believe, he's going to have to make a decision. He will go back and forth and there's not going to be clarity and it's going to get very, very messy."
He doesn't even care about how the tragedy will impact his own life, regardless of how close he and Cyrus once were. "Yeah, sure, it might impact his legacy so he wants to make the right call, but I think the stakes are so high. It's about what's good for the country at this point, not what's good for him. He's not running for a third term. This is a real crisis, a constitutional crisis. Just imagine if that happened and there was a vacuum of leadership — that's a terrible thing! That just takes priority above everything."
Besides, in true Shonda Rhimes/Scandal fashion, there are many more layers to the Vargas murder than expected. "This whole event of Frankie Vargas' assassination is not what you think it [is]. It gets very, very complex about who did what and why it happened and what is going on," teased Goldwyn. "We really will burrow into that, and Fitz will be presented with a number of conflicting scenarios."
Plus, he won't have his most trusted adviser to help him make sense of the situation. "He'll think he has clarity and then he won't, and he's just trying to react to that and keep the ship afloat. He and Abby are left to manage this because Olivia is an interested party — she represents Mellie, and that's a problem because Olivia is the person whom Fitz typically goes to first. He really trusts her instincts, and she's not a reliable source [in this instance] because she's biased."
Goldwyn continued, "Episode three, and then episode four, it just gets — it's a typical Shonda rollercoaster."
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.