Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her astute band of associates specialize in solving problems — from the outrageous and illicit to the shocking and salacious. But we — and millions of weekly viewers — find ourselves with one problem that even they can’t fix: We’re addicted to Scandal. This week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly goes behind the scenes of television’s sexiest drama for a journey through its rise to a show that has taken over our TVs — and Twitter feeds — thanks in part to the forbidden romance between Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn). “I feel like The West Wing brought us Washington as we’d all want it to be,” explains Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes. “And this show brings us Washington as we hope it would never be.”
And that, of course, is what makes ABC’s Scandal such a fun, live-tweet-every-oh-my-God–moment viewing experience. Every Thursday between 10 and 11 p.m., hordes of fans gather online to do just that: The show has averaged more than 220,000 tweets per episode since January, according to SocialGuide; some of these fans include Oprah Winfrey, Lena Dunham, and Mary J. Blige. “Bill Clinton was another person where I was like, ‘What?! You watch Scandal?!'” Washington says. “I feel like it happens at least once a week — that I am totally floored by somebody who watches the show.”
As the show barrels toward its second season finale on May 16, Rhimes and executive producer Betsy Beers give EW the scoop about what’s coming up for Olivia and her gladiators. Teases Rhimes, “If people think we’re burning through story now, they’re going to be very shocked at what happens in the next few episodes.”
To hear Kerry Washington call Tony Goldwyn a real “grumpy pants,” check out the exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the duo at our cover shoot below. (Okay, fine, she’s talking about Fitz — but still, it’s cute.) And to see the two trade roles and re-enact a scene from season 2, visit our Facebook page.