"When I read it at the table read, I think my head initially snapped up and I looked over to Shonda [Rhimes], who shrugged her shoulders, and then I looked to the writers, who were all staring at me with this sort of evil grin," Foley tells TVGuide.com. "It was great. I love the fact that he was married. I love any time I get the chance to add another layer of dimension to this character. It's this great thing for him. He was always the single guy, the available one for Olivia [Kerry Washington] and now he's been cheating on his wife or what's been going on? He thought she was dead. It's a fun one to play."
After heading to Paris last week to figure out who was behind Lazarus One and the fire at the Louvre, Jake came face to face with Elise (Mia Maestro), his wife and fellow spy whom he presumed to be dead when she didn't show up at their scheduled meeting at Grand Central Station years back; she thought he didn't wait for her. Classic married people misunderstanding! When Elise ended up getting shot in the arm on a mission, Jake invited her back to the States, where she will inevitably meet Liv. "Imagine the man you're in love with meeting the man you used to be in love with or the man you used to be in love with meeting the man you love," Foley says. "I wouldn't go so far as to say we have another love triangle, but there will be things to deal with going forward."
First and foremost is Jake and Elise's whole situation. The actor says he had "absolutely zero" indication that this twist — plus the fact that Jake is not his real name — was in store, which he chalks it up to the writers "being very good at keeping secrets from me." He still doesn't know if they're in a real marriage or just a spy marriage. "We haven't shot that yet. Or maybe we have," he says. "The way I played it and the way I believed it to be was that it was a very real relationship and not a marriage of convenience or any sort of working relationship." And then there's the question of time. "How many years has it been since she was supposed to meet him? If she wasn't dead, why didn't she try to reach him to say, 'Hey, I was there'? Why couldn't she reach him? I don't know. ... But look, I know if my wife were alive after I assumed she were dead and then she showed up, I wouldn't be too pissed, you know? I'd be much happier to see her than I would be angry that she didn't show up on time. I think Jake is in the same place."
Especially if Elise is the one who got away. "At this point, with the information that I have, I think I have to assume that. They were married and was the love of his life and now they can start [over] again," Foley says. That would be music to the ears of Olitz fans, who've been champing at the bit to cut off the Jake end of the triangle for years and are seemingly nearly there with Liv and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) finally going public. But Foley warns it might not be that simple. If Jake still carried a torch for Elise believing she was dead, it sort of explains why he's willing to wait for Liv even though he knows he's stuck in second place. "I think it shows what kind of guy he is and [Elise] being around now, you'll get more of a sense of that," he says. "He's been put through the wringer with Olivia. She had him on the hook and off the hook. If the pattern holds, it shows what's gonna happen with Jake and Elise. He's willing to go through a lot of hoops to be with the right woman. Is that Elise? Is that Olivia?"
Elise's presence will certainly alter his interactions with Liv. Gone will be the confidant at her beck and call who's willing to spoon with her while she deals with the fallout of being the First Mistress. "I couldn't believe he did that either!" Foley says. "I don't know if Jake loved being that guy for her, but maybe Olivia liked Jake being that guy for her. I think it's a tough place to put yourself. You love someone and want to be good to them. But to be the second choice is very difficult. I think it's gonna be more apparent in their relationship once Elise shows up. He can't [do that anymore], if only out of respect to Elise."
While Foley loves diving into Jake's backstory, he is well aware of Olitz shippers who just wish Jake would go away and/or who think Elise and the whole Lazarus One mystery is a contrived plot to keep him around. (The Lazarus One story will not converge with the main story in D.C. by midseason, he reveals.) "There was one comment [in an article] and it said, 'Shake my head. Scott Foley still trying to be relevant,'" he says with a laugh. "The Fitz and Olivia lovers, of which I am one, don't like Jake. But I love Fitz and Olivia! One of my favorite scenes was Liv saying to him, 'Watch me choose you.' That was such a great [callback] to the second season."
Nevertheless, Foley genuinely believes Olake is not over for good — possibly because Elise is in the picture. Though he doesn't think Jake would flaunt his relationship with Elise to make Liv jealous, he wouldn't be surprised if Liv started rethinking things as the media scrutiny on her and Fitz intensifies.
"I think Jake knows Olivia's feelings for the president. I don't think Jake would parade Elise around. At the same time, Olivia's never seen Jake in another relationship before," Foley says. "I think there is more to be had there, whether it's a rekindling or a definitive end or whatever it is. I think Fitz and Olivia are fantastic together. I don't know if the world will allow it to happen. I don't know if Jake will allow it to happen. I don't know if Cyrus will allow it to happen. I don't know if Mellie will allow it to happen. I don't think we've seen the last of something between Olivia and Jake, even with Elise."
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.
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