The legacy Shonda Rhimes is leaving behind with her famous political drama speaks for itself. Which is why to no surprise, Rhimes confirmed that Scandal will not get a revival series, according to Variety. The same night the highly-anticipated and satisfying series finale aired, Rhimes sat down with the cast at a live table-read of the episode in Hollywood on Thursday, April 19, when she stood by her decision. From the #TGIT phenomenon to impacting the TV landscape with its black female lead, Scandal's made history in more ways than one, which is why it should remain untouched in all its glory.
"Scandal is finished,” Rhimes confirmed at the event Thursday night, according to Variety. “I love everybody and would work with everybody again in a heartbeat, but Scandal is finished.” Tony Goldwyn chimed in, saying, "I think it ended. And it ended beautifully. It’s over." Thursday night's finale provided closure for Olitz shippers, a happy ending for the "good guys" of OPA, punishment for others, and a hopeful closing scene that fans will always be able to interpret themselves.
According to Rhimes, the finale, which viewers have been speculating about for quite some time, didn't go quite as planned. Despite the often dark and twisty nature of the show, it actually ended on a hopeful note, perhaps because real-life politics are so bleak. "Politics in America took a totally different turn than we thought, so the politics in the show had to shift," she said Thursday. "We were not trying to tell the story of what was actually going on. So, that changed the way the end of our series was going to be." Of course, the final shot shows young women looking at a stunning portrait of Olivia Pope, leaving fans to wonder if she ever does become president and what her legacy means.
As successful as Scandal was, there's no doubt fans starting growing a bit of fatigue around the series since it premiered in 2012. Last year, for example, audiences were ready for the series to wrap things up. Although the finale may polarize audiences (Jake Ballard in prison for life?!), it summed things up fairly nicely. OPA ultimately defeated B613, Abby and Huck honored David (after Cyrus killed him), Quinn played house with Charlie and their daughter, Papa Pope dodged prison time for B613, and Olitz fled to Vermont. (And speaking about real-life politics, Mellie made gun control a top priority.)
Overall, it seems the emotional goodbye was well received by fans, as Vulture described Scandal's series finale as "pretty darn successful." But even before the iconic show came to a close, it made its mark on entertainment. It tackled one controversial issue after the next, from race to executive privilege, gender and sex in the workplace, to interracial romance. And of course, there was its trailblazing lead actor.
Kerry Washington became the first black woman to lead a network drama in 40 years, which shifted the media landscape. That in itself is a huge victory. As Refinery 29's Sesali Bowen wrote, "[Rhimes'] decision to cast Washington for the groundbreaking role of Olivia Pope opened the floodgates for black women in television."
Washington has continuously recognized how significant her role and impact in this change has been. According to Variety, during the table read on Thursday night, she said, "We all know how it works. If Scandal hadn’t been a success, it would’ve been another 40 years." She further thanked the people who really enabled this progress: the viewers. "Congrats to the audiences, because you made room for other protagonists who look all kinds of ways," she said, according to Variety.
Olivia Pope is an icon, and it's clear that icons don't always need the reboot or revival treatment.