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‘Scandal’ Premiere: Tony Goldwyn on Fitz & Olivia’s Ouster, Mellie Divorce

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the Season 5 premiere of “Scandal.”

Scandal” came back in full force Thursday night with a doomed marriage, a depressed Gladiator, a rekindled relationship of presidential proportions and a royal scandal during the Season 5 premiere.

Longtime Olitz fans were likely pleased with Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Fitz’s (Tony Goldwyn) White House rendezvousing, but one First Lady was not so privy to the party in the President’s bed.

Goldwyn tells Variety what his ousted hookup means for his future as President, his future with Ms. Pope — plus, is that divorce really real?

Now that Fitz and Olivia have been outed to the public, where does their relationship go from here?
It’s exactly what Olivia says at the end of the premiere episode. She basically warns Fitz. She basically tells me I’m naive and as soon as the American people find out, there is going to be a hurricane descended upon us and she’s like, we’ll never going to survive it. The hurricane that Olivia predicts makes landfall.

How will this public affair impact your presidency and public perception?
I don’t want to tell you too much, but let’s just say it has the expected impact. It’s no surprise that Fitz is a feeding frenzy, both in the media and in the world of the Washington politics. It puts really incredible strain on Fitz and Olivia’s relationship.

Do you think they can survive this media firestorm?
I do. This is the exact thing that Fitz has always wanted. Fitz is in a position where for years now, Fitz has been simply trying to tell the truth in every way. If you remember back to the election fraud when they stole his first election, after coming back from that and winning his second election, he basically has tried very hard to just live in the truth and he’s just been unable to. This is what Fitz always wanted, but be careful what you wish for — there is a very naive quality to Fitz. He has always believed that if Olivia and Fitz could just be straight up and honest that everything could be fine and they could weather that storm and make it, but this gets really bad and I don’t know if they will, but I believe they can and Fitz certainly believes that they’re destined together.

Does the public’s knowledge of their affair cause Olivia to backtrack in their relationship?
Yes [laughing]. It’s very hard on Olivia. It’s her worst nightmare. Olivia is a person who’s used to being out of the limelight and the one pulling the strings, in control to fix everything. When it’s her problem, it’s not so easy for her to do.

Why is Fitz finally divorcing Mellie (Bellamy Young)?
There’s two components to it. Part one, in the short term, Fitz felt at the end of last season so deeply and profoundly betrayed by Mellie — yes, she was responsible for the deaths of 17 jurors, she stupidly gave up these names of these jurors to Rowan (Joe Morton), but the worst part of that, aside from the deaths of those people, is that she hid this from Fitz and never came to him. Fitz had declared Mellie as his best friend — they really had become partners in a nonromantic way so when he found out what she had done and that she had gone back to her old ways and worked with the man that it turns out was the murderer of her son and the bain of his existence, it was such a profound betrayal that Fitz is just done with her. There’s no turning back.

Part two is Fitz has always wanted to declare and throw down and move forward with Olivia and marry her and be done with this. He’s been wanting to do it for years, but he’s been blocked by Olivia and Mellie. So now the opportunity to just get it done and move forward is a very natural move for Fitz. He’s through with the game playing. He wants to move forward.

You handed Mellie divorce papers, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting divorced. Will you or could you turn back?
I don’t know yet. Fitz is determined. He’s determined. There may be circumstances which make that complicated, but he’s not playing around. I can also safely say that Mellie will not be happy about that.

Poor Mellie! Her husband is divorcing her at the same time that his affair is being splashed in the media, but she’s not just going to disappear from your life. How will this impact the relationship between you and Mellie, but also her and Olivia? 
The whole thing is very, very ugly. Fitz is enraged at Mellie, disgusted with Mellie, and he feels that he’s done with Mellie, but they have a very complicated relationship and he can’t just write her out of her life. Still, he’ll have no fury and Mellie is no scorned woman. She’s not going to talk anything laying down. At the end of the day, what Mellie wants is to be president of the United States so her ambition fuels her fire against Fitz or forces her to align with Fitz if it serves her political purpose so we’ll see. But it’s very messy.

Abby (Darby Stanchfield) is upset that she’s been lied to about Fitz and Olivia sleeping together again. Where does her relationship with Liv stand?
In the premiere, Abby point blank is told that Olivia isn’t having an affair with the president. Meanwhile, Olivia is living in my bed. Since the end of Season 4, there’s been about a week that’s gone by that Fitz has been living in heavenly bliss, and Liv lied to her face. Abby views Liv as her most trusted friend on the planet so there are consequences when she’s betrayed by Liv. We’ll have to see what happens.

Do we have to be worried about Elizabeth (Portia de Rossi)? She almost seems to be teaming up with Abby, now that they’ve both been lied to about Fitz and Olivia getting back together.
Liz is a very tricky character. Liz is the one who threw Mellie under the bus with me so I don’t understand what Liz’s agenda is. It’s not been clear to me. Liz is a dark character. At the end of the last season, she gained her position by poisoning Mellie — she basically threw her boss under the bus to me and wound up in the chief of staff’s spot, as a result. I don’t know what her gain is. She definitely wants power and I think her and with Abby, there’s definitely some degree of tension there. I feel like Abby is consistently the only person who is straight up. She is the only person in the entire cast of main characters who is honorable. Liz is dangerous.

Will Cyrus (Jeff Perry) be back in the White House?
Cyrus is a very important character in the whole thing. Cyrus has been ostracized by Fitz and it shatters Cyrus’s whole world. I think in some way, he’s obsessed, if not in love with Fitz. Cyrus is a character that is not going to be able to tolerate the wilderness for very long. You only got a taste of it in this episode, but it’s something that is very, very important in this story.

Watch Bellamy Young tell Variety about Mellie’s “misery” in Season 5 right here:

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