Kerry Washington's hit series Scandal anchors ABC's vaunted TGIT lineup—and is the network's third most popular series in the 18-49 demo. But the drama could be nearing its conclusion.
The network last month renewed the series for a sixth season, but creator Shonda Rhimes affirmed with Adweek last summer that "Scandal is a limited story," unlike her series Grey's Anatomy, which she suggested could continue for years to come (and which was just picked up for Season 13). "I am not watching [Washington's character] Olivia Pope grow up," explained Rhimes. "I am watching a specific moment in time, and I feel like in order to tell the story correctly, you have to end it." Rhimes has remained silent about when she plans to wrap up the series, however.
For her part, Washington says she hasn't talked with Rhimes about when Scandal will close shop, adding that she is happy to leave that decision solely in her boss' hands. "I trust her," she says. "We are where we are because of her decision-making."
Washington's co-star Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitzgerald Grant, is also in the dark. "I know my boss too well to do that," he says of asking Rhimes her plans for the show. But he suggests that next season could be the series' logical end point. "I'm assuming at the end of next season, my presidency will be finished. So what happens to Scandal once there's a new president? Either that's the end or Shonda has something in mind that may or may not include me, a whole other direction."
Then again, Rhimes could surprise everyone, perhaps even herself, and ultimately continue Scandal beyond what seems to be its presumed conclusion.
"Shonda and her team constantly paint themselves into corners, storytelling-wise, where you go, well, you're never going to be able to get out of that! And they do," says Goldwyn. "So I do believe that even if she intended to end the show there, if she suddenly thought, hmm, let's do something totally different, I would not be surprised at all."
This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.