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First lady Mellie Grant has always has lofty political aspirations of her own on ABC’s Scandal, but would she go so far as to sacrifice her husband’s life to get there?
On Shonda Rhimes’ Washington-set political fixer drama, the first lady’s Spidey sense was apparently tingling at the most suspicious time when just moments before the president was the target of an attempted assassination attempt, Mellie suddenly had a change of heart about dragging Fitz to a big birthday gala.
“Mellie’s got her fingers in a lot of pies and you’ll find out a lot over the coming weeks about what was going through her mind at that moment,” co-star Bellamy Young tells The Hollywood Reporter, noting the moment shares some historical prescient with the night President Lincoln was shot when Ulysses S. Grant’s wife, Julia, had a last-minute change of heart about attending the theater. “There’s precedent for wives being tuned in to a higher frequency when their beloveds are imperiled.”
Considering Mellie has already challenged Cyrus and Olivia for a seat at the table — and begrudgingly received one as part of Hollis’ “secret circle” of folks connected to the voting machine rigging, Young says the first lady has a “true and abiding” love for Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) — that doesn’t come with putting him in harm’s way.
“She loves Fitz but I have to believe that it’s difficult for her to ever see any good out of harming Fitz,” she says.
Part of that love, of course, comes in the form of believing so much in Fitz that she, Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Cyrus — among others — all tag-teamed to rig the election in Defiance, Ohio, in the Republican’s favor, thus propelling him to the White House.
“They’re all doing it out of equal parts love and ambition,” she says. “They all believe in Fitz; he’s a once in a generation man and they also believe he’s not capable of doing what it actually takes to rule as it were.”
While Young notes Mellie is on equal footing with everyone at that table, she says the prim and proper mother-to-be has super powers of her own, comparing the character to Batman‘s Penguin and even 101 Dalmatians’ Cruella deVil.
“She’d like to think she’s Wonder Woman but I think there’s a little bit of evil in her,” Young says with a laugh.
So with the president in intensive care following the shooting, how will the first lady respond to Olivia wanting to be near the man she loves — and helped elect? Young says Mellie might take one for the team.
“When you’re at that deathbed all that matters is what’s best for them and I know Fitz loves her — and I love her enough to want her there if it helps him,” she says, noting Mellie and Sally will eventually lock horns. “I’d move the world if it helps him.”
Do you think Mellie played a role in Fitz’s shooting? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Scandal‘s midseason finale airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.
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