ABC’s ‘Scandal’ Killed Off One Of Its Major Characters, So, What Does The Star Think?
Wow, Scandal ABC’s political thriller killed off one of its contract regulars on Thursday’s episode, which featured the surprising death of series regular Portia de Rossi’s Elizabeth North, Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) savvy chief of staff.
“I have been a fan of Portia’s for years and it was an honor to have her join our Scandal family,” Scandal creator and showrunner Shonda Rhimes said in a statement to THR. “Portia infused Liz North with a smart, powerful and vulnerable soul while also making the humor sing — and that brought all of us in the writers’ room a lot of joy. If I could keep her forever, I would — but kidnapping is illegal. Besides, I am incredibly impressed with the vision she has for her creative future. I wish her all the best.”
Elizabeth was killed off as the so-called Mystery Woman (Zoe Perry) and her boss, Peus (David Warshofsky), sent a deadly message to Mellie that they would be making her dreams nightmares come true by blackmailing the electoral college and sending her in the White House as the country’s first female president.
As Mellie valiantly attempted to stand up to her newly revealed benefactors — she wanted to hang them for the murder of President-elect Frankie Vargas, among other charges — the Mystery Woman used a golf club to beat Elizabeth to death. The savage beat-down helped get Mellie to fall in line. As the electoral college votes were revealed, Mellie achieved her dream of winning the presidency — only it comes at too high a price as her benefactors threatened to kill her children if she attempted to cede to Cyrus (Jeff Perry).
De Rossi claims it was her decision.
Whose decision was it for you to leave the show?
It was my decision but not because I no longer wanted to be part of the show. It was more because I found a great business opportunity I wanted to pursue that was taking my interest away from acting and a career I’ve had for 20-plus years and putting it elsewhere that was very timing consuming. I approached Shonda and asked if it would be OK if I could leave Scandal. She was nothing but supportive and wished me luck in my business venture and was gracious and lovely about it.
What’s your new business?
It’s a little premature to talk about at this point but it’s along the lines of my earlier passion for art and to get art into the hands of anybody who wishes to own it. It’s what I wanted to do with my career a long time ago and then I fell into acting. Now I really have returned to the idea of having a business and being a business owner and having my love of art being incorporated into my business venture. There is technology that enables more people to enjoy art rather than a very privileged few. This business concept is to democratize art and get it into the hands of the people who appreciate it and want to own it.
Are you done with acting?
That doesn’t mean that I’ll never act again but for right now I want to concentrate on this full time. In the future, you never know — Shonda might figure out a way to resurrect Elizabeth from the dead or perhaps maybe I’ll do something acting-wise in the future.
Did you pitch a different idea for how Elizabeth would go out?
Nothing that I could come up with would be anywhere near as good as what Shonda and her staff could figure out. I knew they would come up with something brutal, shocking and amazing and something that would do justice to Elizabeth North.
What was the reaction to Elizabeth’s death like at the table read?
Once or twice a season, they won’t do a table read for an episode and this was that episode that did not get read at table. It was a blessing for me because I love everybody at the show and would have been a mess, even though it’s something that I wanted. I probably would have blubbered my entire way through the table read. They couldn’t figure out how to put a table read into the production schedule. I didn’t have to sit through that because I’m pretty emotional and will miss those guys.
What do you hope viewers takeaway from Elizabeth’s death? Her death paves the way for Mellie to become president in a horrible scenario.
It’s a huge moment for the show. If the audience hasn’t learned yet to be good and honest people and to not make deals that compromise your moral integrity, then this is another reminder that anytime any Scandal character lusts after power — which is the commodity on the show — really bad things happen! We see it over and over again, yet it’s shocking somehow; it’s the theme of the show!
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: ABC
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