"So long!" he tells TVGuide.com. "Man, he went back, I think he had to take his clothes off. He got the stuff. I think it took him 20 seconds, maybe 30. That's a long time. You'd think he'd hurry it up."
During that time, of course, someone broke into Olivia's (Kerry Washington) apartment, kidnapped her and left without a trace. Which leads to perhaps a bigger question: How did super spy like Jake not hear any of it? "I think you're touching on a subject that is very embarrassing for Jake," Foley says. "He's completely embarrassed. Oh, man. Of anyone, Olivia should be safe in his care, so this is a big source of embarrassment for him. But the people who took her knew exactly what they were doing. They were surgical. So, now he's dead set on doing everything he can to right this wrong."
When Scandal returns Thursday (10/9c, ABC), viewers will see exactly how the ninja-like kidnapping went down from Olivia's perspective and, as previously reported, we'll also find out who took her — someone we haven't yet met. Though Andrew (Jon Tenney) and Liz (Portia de Rossi) are behind Liv's abduction, the conspiracy will expand beyond their West Angola war scheme.
"This gets much more complicated. Without telling you what happens, it takes a turn that even Andrew could never have expected," Foley teases. "I've been in this business a long time, I've read a bunch of scripts ... and these writers have a way of putting my jaw on the floor. I'm constantly amazed, not just by how much story they're able to cram into every episode, but by the way in which they do it — the boundaries that they push and everything. I did not see this coming. It's not necessarily shocking, but it's a very smart play. I think that's what makes the show legitimate. There's a lot of things we do where you're like, 'Oh, that's just ridiculous.' But then you realize, 'Oh, my God, that makes sense!'"
Rest assured Olivia will return — she's the show after all — but naturally, Foley can't share when that will happen. The first two episodes, however, will be an all-hands-on-deck effort to find her, a rare singularly focused arc Foley enjoyed. "Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers have written this kidnapping [that] is really going to allow all the characters to focus on this one task, which I think is the first time we've seen this happen," Foley says. "There's going to be a unity among everyone. ... It's a good way to unite the cast."
But will there be unity among the characters, namely Jake and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn)? The two put their pettiness aside to (try to) take down Rowan (Joe Morton), but Jake has now lost the love of Fitz's jam-making Vermont daydream. "He blames Jake for everything, doesn't he?" Foley says. "I think it's an interesting opportunity here for Fitz and Jake to work together and put some of their differences behind them. We know they have a long history together, friends, sort of a mentor-mentee relationship. They have the potential to go back to that — that pre-Olivia relationship. They both want to do what's best for the woman they love."
And whenever Liv does returns, she might be a changed woman. She pulled a Kelly Taylor minutes before she was swiped, but a life-or-death abduction might just make her re-evaluate choosing herself. Jake, Foley believes, is not sweating bullets even if Liv, who told Fitz there was "hope" for them, chooses POTUS.
"She chose herself and then was going to get it on with Jake! On the piano. Because she had never done it on the piano before. I think that's the hook," he says. "'I'm choosing myself and I've never done it on the piano before and you happen to be here, so let's do it.' If Fitz were there, maybe it would've been Fitz. ... She's always kept [Jake], which the exception of the time they spent on the island, sort of in this suspended state of maybe, maybe not. And what's interesting about Jake is he's OK with that. He's so confident with himself and the belief he has that these two should be together, he's OK being in the back for the time being or letting her take her space. He thinks she'll figure it out. ... He has this belief in the Republic, he has this belief in B613 and what they do, he has this belief in him and Olivia, and damn anything else."
Playing the backup is certainly not new territory for Foley, who patiently stood by while Felicity (Keri Russell) doggedly pursued Ben (Scott Speedman) on Felicity. "I'm Team Noel!" Foley says with a laugh. "I know that's very, 'Of course you were,' but I've been very successful as that guy to a certain point. ... Ben is like a guy of the moment. I don't know too many people who at some point in their lives don't want a lasting relationship, but maybe Felicity was that girl. Who knows? Maybe Noel's got three kids now and his wife is pregnant and his phone rings, and it's Felicity."
Foley does want to get Russell back on the line with a possible offer she can't refuse: to play a new love interest for Jake... as her Americans character Elizabeth Jennings. "I don't know what Shonda has up her sleeve, but I think [Jake getting a new girlfriend] would be a very interesting tactical move on Jake's part, wouldn't it?" Foley says. "Would Olivia be jealous? ... I would love for it to be Keri. Could you imagine? A couple of spies. I love that show. She could come in all '80s with her wigs!"
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.