“Scandal” star Darby Stanchfield had a big episode last week with “The Fluffer,” which saw her character Abby head to the White House as the stand-in for Olivia Pope in trying to help get President Grant re-elected. Stanchfield tells Zap2it it was a lot of fun for her to be Fauxlivia for a week, and she also teases what’s coming up in Thursday’s (April 10) episode, “Flesh and Blood.”
Zap2it: How did Abby like her first foray into the lion’s den that is the White House?
Darby Stanchfield: That is such a perfect way to describe it. Something of that visual came to me when I was shooting it. As I was shooting, I had to remember that Abby doesn’t know most of the scandals that are going on in the White House, like how many people Cyrus has tried to kill (or has killed) or even all the stuff between Mellie and Fitz and Andrew. Then being dolled up in the white coat, I felt a little like the lamb going to slaughter or a lamb going into a den of wolves.
There was that feeling of Abby not knowing exactly what she was walking into but armed with such loyalty for Olivia. Putting her political views aside — because I think she’s very judgmental about this all-male surfer dude ticket, Andrew and Fitz, she would rather see a Democrat in the office, probably a woman, but she’s just so loyal to Olivia. It was fun for me to do that episode, fun for the character of Abby to start off feeling so poorly and then as the episode goes on, she becomes more like Olivia Pope, sort of without realizing it. The way she gets one up on Leo Bergen and then by the end, she Olivia Popes Olivia Pope, so it was fun to have an arc of victory for her.
We love the way all of Olivia’s team members have evolved over the three seasons, and it’s great seeing Abby be like Olivia now.
It continues into the last two episodes, Abby is almost having a career change. Olivia is training her to be a political operative. It’s a totally new area for Abby. She’s used to picking locks and sneaking around investigating stuff, so it’s fun to see Abby go through a whole identity change at this point in her career, as her personal life only becomes more settled and content with her true love David Rosen.
Speaking of David Rosen, we were so nervous a few weeks ago that David was going to get shot. Are you glad that Abby and David found their way back to each other, and can you talk about that relationship going forward?
I was sure it was going to be David [who was shot] because it’s just too happy between
Abby and David, and no character stays happy for too long [laughs]. … I am quite tickled. I love playing this dynamic between Abby and David. Abby definitely wears the pants in this relationship, so the fact that she had to go and save his life just seems so appropriate. It represents where she’s strong and how she’s strong, but it also encompasses his pursuit of the truth. Which she loves about him. That’s what drew her to him to begin with. He’s got quite a moral compass of what’s right and wrong, so I’m not surprised that those two have actually found some stability and some normalcy because they share similar a sense of what’s right and wrong. … They are one of the more normal, fun couples in the series. And I think that’s nice. When you look at the overall structure of what’s going on, it’s nice to have a couple moments of happiness and normalcy for the audience.
Let’s talk about this week’s episode “Flesh and Blood.” Are Pope & Associates now running around trying to find the bomb we saw at the end of last week?
Yeah, there’s some of that. At the end of last week’s episode, there’s this great Gladiator moment between Olivia and her Gladiators, we feel like we shot B613 down and we’re in control when in fact we just made a bigger mess of things.
When we come back, of course, the Gladiators are scrambling around trying to clean up the mess, but what happens in fact is that at the end of the next episode, the mess is even bigger. The “Scandal” writers did a great job with that. There’s less resolution and more mess-making than ever in the next episode.
“Scandal” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.