March 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM ET
"Scandal" answered its #WhoGotShot question in the first minute of Thursday night's episode. If you haven't tuned in to find out the answer for yourself, you should stop reading NOW, as the show's Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) would say.
As many predicted, it was James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky), who took Jake's (Scott Foley) bullet. James Novak, the white-hat journalist-turned-compromised-press-secretary-turned-confidential-informant. It was just too many turns, James. And it was all his husband Cyrus' (Jeff Perry) fault.
E! Online interviewed Bucatinsky about how he's handling the news. Bucatinsky said the cast was shocked to learn that either James or David (Josh Malina) would get shot. At the time of that episode's table read, executive producer Shonda Rhimes told the cast the writers had not decided if someone would die. Two weeks later, Bucatinsky — the only actor to win an Emmy from the show — got the call he didn't want.
The following are excerpts from the E! interview.
When did Shonda tell you the news and what was your immediate reaction?
My heart was in my throat, and I thought, "Maybe she's calling with good news!" So I pulled over, and she said, "We tried everything. We talked about every possibility to try to save James, and we didn't, so James has to die." It was hard, and we talked about it, and she was very generous, and she said it was going to be a beautiful episode and I can read it before the table read, and I talked about how grateful I was for the opportunity to have played the role for as long as I did, and you know, how it reawakened for me this love of acting that I have, in a role that I can't imagine having been given the opportunity to do. It was really a dream come true—not only people's responses to it, and obviously the Emmy and all that, but just getting to work with that group of people. I feel totally blessed. It was hard though. I went through a very long couple of weeks where I probably went through all of the five stages of grief several times.
You guys are such a close-knit group, so what was the rest of the cast's reactions when they found out?
I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire room [during the table read] and it was packed. It was tough, but it was beautiful, and we were all a wreck, and then we had the task of having to shoot the episode, so I went through periods of grief about the character and sadness just about the fact — and not to be too actory — but just the sadness about James no longer being ... you know, obviously it's not a real character, but there was something about thinking about his clothes and his child and his glasses and his life and that bedroom and all these things that to me over three seasons have become a part of this person, even though they're fictional. That was going away, and it was very sad. Obviously I've tried to think of, "We haven't shot the death yet, maybe I can talk them out of it." So I went through all the stages of grief — denial, bargaining, and finally acceptance. It was very, very hard.
Did you have any touching or bittersweet moments with any of the cast members when you wrapped?
We did. We shared a lot. [Jeff Perry] made a speech to the crew that was really, really sweet, and this past Sunday, Scott Foley had what he called his "Guilt Screening." We all watched the episode together at Scott Foley's house, and everybody came. It was just a really sweet way for me to watch the episode, surrounded by my "Scandal" family, and it was really loving and great, and a lot of people emailed me and I emailed the cast. We had a lot of moments to sort of express to each other how deeply we feel for each other off screen.
Have you forgiven Scott Foley yet?
Scott Foley has been an absolute dream. We've completely bonded over the experience. That scene that we shot at the end, that final moment of the episode, was midnight to two o'clock in the morning, on a rainy night in LA, on the ground, covered in blood and it was unlike anything I'll ever experience again, and I'll never forget it. I'll never forget him. We're completely bonded over it. Everyone was very sweet, and Jeff Perry and Linda Lowy were standing there when we called wrap that day, which was my final scene, so it's been very supportive and loving but sad. Really just all of us mourning our relationships with each other in real life, even though we're all going to be friends for a long time, but also just the sadness of the character going.
For the rest of the interview, go here.