Olivia Pope and her associates have done some shady things to protect their clients, but when one of their own is messed with, there's no limit to what they'll do to protect them — even if that ultimately means causing them pain.
That's what Scandal's resident smooth talker Harrison (Columbus Short) has been dealing with after having to plant information that David (Joshua Malina) had abused his former girlfriend in order to get Abby (Darby Stanchfield) to break up with him. But really, he was saving her life!
"He didn't put a clause on what he said to Olivia," Columbus Short tells TVGuide.com, recalling when Harrison offered his services to Olivia (Kerry Washington) by saying he'd do anything for her. "It was whatever she asked him to do. So when she asked him to do that, it puts him in a precarious position because Abby is really his family. It hurts him to see her hurt."
Short was coy about whether the guilt would ultimately get to Harrison, but he did say, "I don't want to know what happens when Abby finds out. She'll go crazy." Regardless, Short says Olivia's faithful follower would never turn against her, but he is starting to understand her more. "Now he's realizing how much Olivia lives in the gray," he says. "Her life is not black and white. He knows there's something she's actually protecting him from. Harrison understands embodying that position and that it is ugly and you have to get your hands dirty. Olivia's hands are dirty a lot."
It isn't just Harrison who's noticed the gray areas. "Are these good people? I battle with that on the daily," Short says. "Our moral ambiguity is such a weird dichotomy, but I do feel Harrison is capable — under the disguise of that suit is his gladiator armor — to handle the gray."
That's exactly why Olivia will be handing the reins over to Harrison in the coming episodes as she deals with more pressing matters. "Things in Olivia's personal life and on the White House side of things are getting a little out of control," Short says. "She can't handle her job. It leaves him to step in and take over for her and she has complete confidence in him."
However, Harrison will be dealing with issues within the walls of OPA when Quinn (Katie Lowes) begins digging into the reasons behind the surprising dismissal of the charges against her in the bombing case. "It affects the office," Short says. "Things are unraveling more and more and the rabbit hole is beginning to go very, very deep. Abby already has a sneaking suspicion, and Harrison has never asked, but has a clear idea of how it all went down."
During all of this, an event will rock the world of OPA (and beyond) in the final three episodes before the midseason finale, which include what is arguably one of the biggest episodes to date, "Happy Birthday, Mr. President." Keen fans have likely already deduced what goes down based on the promo, but Short would only offer this tease: "I don't think that has been done on network television."
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.