Katie Lowes

Scandal fans won't have to wait long to find out who Quinn Perkins is. In fact, Katie Lowes' character will be at the center of the big Season 2 mystery, executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells TVGuide.com.

At the end of Season 1, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her associates learned that Quinn Perkins wasn't really Quinn Perkins. So, who is she? That very question will be answered in the season premiere, but the answer will also set up the larger arc of Season 2 similar to how Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil) was the driving force of Season 1.

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"We left the audience with the question of: Who is Quinn Perkins? That question spins us into a new, larger scandal that we're following," Rhimes tells us. "The question becomes: What happened to Quinn Perkins to make her this way and who was responsible?"

"It's the why," Lowes adds, "and the how, and even I don't know yet! All of a sudden, the questions really change of what you want to know right after that first episode."

Up until two weeks ago, Lowes admits that even she didn't know who Quinn was. "Everybody thought I was the daughter of somebody or [in] witness protection," she says of the many theories she's heard. "It's none of those things. It's like nothing you can imagine."

Lowes says she nearly had a panic attack over being the focus of the season finale cliff-hanger, as she was nervous about whether viewers would actually care. She wasn't the only one who was anxious. "To be honest, the writers and I were all really nervous about how we would top what we did last year," Rhimes says. "How do we make it work? Should we have let the Amanda Tanner thing drag on for another season? We went back and forth, but we came up with something that feels sort of tense and magical. It's pretty exciting in terms of the story we want to tell.

"I don't believe in dragging stuff like that out because I think audiences are very quick these days and people want to see what's going to happen," Rhimes continues. "What we pride ourselves [on] in this show is to keep it moving really quickly so the minute you think you know what the big question is, it changes."

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The reveal of Quinn's identity will certainly change the group dynamics at Pope & Associates since they all went to the mat — very illegally — for Quinn in the finale. "It gets tumultuous because Olivia knows things that her co-workers don't," Lowes says. "It causes tensions. There's a lot of trust issues. People will follow Olivia over a cliff without knowing the answers, but this situation might be different."

Who do you think Quinn Perkins is?

Scandal returns Thursday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c on ABC.