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The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2016 Honoring 'Scandal'

After world premiering the brand new upcoming episode of Scandal entitled “I See You” at this year’s PaleyFest, show creator Shonda Rhimes was asked by a heartbroken fan just why she would split up President Fitzgerald and Olivia Pope after years of running them through secret affairs. The answer was a master class in storytelling.

“Olivia is on a journey,” said Rhimes. “Olivia’s been on a journey since we started and I’ve always looked at it like that. It’s interesting to me that her primary story is a romance. [That] that’s what you’ve seen, because to me her primary story has been discovering herself.”

Rhimes, the prolific superstar writer and creator behind Grey’s Anatomy and executive producer of the runaway hit How To Get Away With Murder, wasn’t interested in putting forth a one-dimensional character in Pope, and she said as much when she followed up on her previous statements.

“I’m happy that you have fallen in love with Fitz, because that is the journey that Olivia went on,” Rhimes explained. “She fell in love with Fitz, she fell into a forbidden romance, she bought the fantasy. And then she got the fantasy and then she discovered that the fantasy was not real.”

The idea that Olivia Pope is unsure of herself was echoed by the character’s creator: “It does not mean that she does not love Fitz, and it does not mean that Fitz is not deserving of love, it just means that Olivia does not know who she is yet.”

Rhimes then went ahead and crushed the fantasy, seemingly, once and for all. “The idea that they are together under the circumstances which they were together – which was, she was going to move into the White House and become Mellie, who was the unhappiest woman we’ve ever seen in our entire lives – is a farce.” And this is where Rhimes zooms in on why Olivia Pope has some more changing to do: “That she was going to surrender every single piece of herself, of who she was, and basically become an appendage of him was not going to work. It was never going to work. And, may none of you do that.”

Wait, it gets better. Rhimes even shined some light on the character of father Rowan Pope, played by the Emmy award-winning Joe Morton“So, for Olivia, the breaking free of that, while painful, was her first step to realizing she was not who she was supposed to be. Her father has been saying that forever. And while he may represent, for many of you ‘evil,’ he also represents a lot of truth. He represents a different sense of self.”

The network premiere of Scandal’s “I See You” episode airs tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC.


PaleyFest 101: “Scandal” Creator Shonda Rhimes Says Olivia & Fitz Will Never End Up Together  was originally published on