Olivia and Fitz have a special place in every Scandal fan's heart, one that could not easily be replaced. But maybe fans should make some room for another sexy forbidden romance on the Shonda Rhimes favorite. Audiences have seen Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Marcus (Cornelius Smith Jr.) dabble in a secret love (and office desk sex), and after speaking with the cast at PaleyFest in LA over the weekend, it doesn't seem like that will be slowing down anytime soon. Young and Smith hint at what's ahead for their characters, while their cast mates Tony Goldwyn and Josh Malina chime in on Scandal's twisted world of relationships, Olitz, and happily ever afters (or lack thereof).
Young and Smith are totally shipping Marcus and Mellie — biases aside. "I believe in love. I think at all costs, you should," Smith tells me on the red carpet. "It’ll be good if they [end up together]. Mellie could definitely use some love, Marcus could use some love," he says. His on-screen counterpoint is on the same page.
"I love Marcus and Mellie, I really do," Young tells me. "I mean, he’s delicious, let’s all say. But I also think they’re lovely together." Young respects what the characters add to each other's lives and says they're more than just a hot pair.
"He really can call her on her stuff in a way she can hear it and really grow and she supports him in a way that builds him up," she says. But of course, there's more to be seen. "We haven’t finished exploring that," Young says. Although their future is unclear to the actors, they think fans will probably become more invested in the two as a couple as the show goes on.
"I don’t know what the writers have in mind. We’ll get more information about the relationship, which will explain whether or not they end up together," Smith says. This seems like a familiar road for Scandal lovers: a work-forbidden, hot romance. Do Young and Smith project a new Olitz on the horizon?
"Kinda," Smith says. "It’s getting kind of complicated in terms of whether or not they should be doing this or if it’s proper [with] her running for president and [him] being on the administrative staff — there might be some shadiness there, but the heart wants what it wants when it wants it," he continues.
Young also sees the similarities, not only in the dynamic of gender and power, but in the couple's ability to live freely without being held back by pressures of the White House. "How do you get to be a human being in the public eye?" she says. "Something that would be wonderful and is nourishing for your soul is judged by outsiders by a different yardstick. Where do you find your own heart in that?" she adds. Olivia could totally give Mellie some pointers if she wasn't trying to sabotage her relationship with Marcus.
As for the real-life Fitz, Tony Goldwyn is happy to take a breather from the Olitz drama on the show — Mellie and Marcus should enjoy it while it lasts.
"I love being away from it," Goldwyn tells me. "It builds up an appetite to come back to it in a fresh way in context of all the other crazy stuff that’s been going on." They'll be back, though, don't worry. "The fact that we stretch them apart and bring them back together, it’s complicated, that’s what makes it really fun," he says. And fear not, he's rooting for Olitz's Vermont dream. "I am," he tells me.
But will any of these couples actually make it work in the end? This is Scandal, and if couples end up without a single party getting shot, blackmailed, or held hostage, it's somewhat of a miracle. "In the world of Scandal, I don’t see it happening for most of these characters," Josh Malina tells me. "When this all wraps up, hopefully viewers will be allowed to fill in the blanks for those who are inclined to believe in happily ever afters." I am definitely that person and I have no shame.