Consider it handled. Each week, Scandal fan favorites Josh Malina and Scott Foley, who play David Rosen and Jake Ballard, respectively, join forces to bring you behind-the-scenes scoop. Here, they revisit episode 7 of season 5. Check back each week for more — and of course, send feedback to us at @EW and to the guys at @JoshMalina and @scottkfoley.
Joshua Malina: So … 507.
Scott Foley: “Even the Devil Deserves a Second Chance.”
JM: I knew something was up right away with this one. I slid into my seat at the table read, as I always do during the initial 10 minutes when people drift into the room and socialize. During all that fake Hollywood hugging and chitchat, I like to scan through as much of the new script as I can before Shonda arrives. My eyes fell on the following stage direction from a scene between David Rosen and Elizabeth North: “She stares a beat. Considering. And then she kisses him. A deep kiss. A real kiss. A primal kiss. A sexual kiss.” I was just starting to sweat and blush when my script was slammed closed and I looked up to see Shonda. “STOP it.” Busted. I ceased reading and turned to Portia, sitting next to me. I asked her whether she knew about this, and she told me that Shonda had given her the heads-up a couple weeks earlier. So I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh boy, I have to make the sex onscreen again.”
SF: Welcome to my world.
JM: I was also thinking, “No one told me anything, but apparently having to kiss me is something Shonda feels an actress should be warned about ahead of time.”
SF: Well …
JM: I get it. It probably just takes a bit of time to process. These love/sex scenes are kind of your bread and butter. Got any advice for me?
SF: “Please don’t be offended if something happens and please don’t be offended if nothing happens.” That phrase is a good way to break the ice right before “action” is called. It also protects you somewhat from the embarrassment that will undoubtedly follow.
JM: That is good advice. I’ll employ it if “Dizzie Bear” continues to be a thing. Y’know, it occurs to me that David has some sexual hang-ups, the result, perhaps, of self-esteem issues? He’s pretty submissive — stick your fingers in his mouth, push him onto the couch, die of stab wounds in his bed. It’s kind of all up to the ladies. And in that sense, David Rosen is perhaps the ultimate feminist.
SF: And what about Kinky Sue?
JM: Let’s leave her out of this.
SF: Okay, “Doctor.” I really liked this episode. For me it’s a perfectly balanced episode of Scandal. You’ve got some great stuff happening with the White House. The impeachment is over. Olivia took care of that by freeing Rowan, who scared the committee into dropping the inquiry. Elizabeth is on a rampage and is using Sally’s show as leverage to get back into a position of power. David is tasked with reining her in, and Cyrus is up in arms because although he is in a position of power, he can’t seem to find a way to use it. There’s a ton happening there and a bunch of great scenes to make it happen. I loved the dynamic between Abby and Liv, especially in this episode. It seems at first as if there’s going to be a divide between them, but Abby catches on quickly, and Liv eventually turns to her for advice and a shoulder to lean on. I really like the relationship between these two; it’s nice to see a friendship between two women based on respect and appreciation instead of need and power. We also get a great case of the week here for OPA to handle. The resolve in this case, when it happens in the auditorium, gave me goose bumps. I thought that it was, once again, a creative way for Liv and OPA to “get their guy,” and I really like the dynamic there now that Marcus has joined the crew. He’s pulling his weight nicely and Cornelius doesn’t miss a beat with Kerry, G, and Katie, which is a true sign of a good actor. We also learned that Fitz has asked Jake to track down Rowan, which leads to some interesting scenes between the three of them and then ultimately between Jake and Liv. I wrestled with the scene at the end between the two of them quite a bit. Was he too harsh? Was there reason enough for his reactions? There was a lot that we learned about both of them in that scene and I ended up feeling okay with what Kerry and I found as we worked through it. My favorite moments of the episode, however, were between David and Liz. The “What does that sign say” moment and the “where did you go to law school” change of direction from David that culminated in that kiss (and more!) was so unexpected that I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. Great episode and performances all around.
JM: Yeah. Good ep. And, for the record, though David seems cowed by Liz’s academic pedigree, there is evidence on the walls of his office that he got his law degree at Harvard, which is not too shabby. Maybe he was shy about mentioning it because he didn’t get into Yale, a far superior school. Even as David and Elizabeth are doing their thing, it seems like Susan and David enjoy each other’s company, which is nice because I enjoy working with both Artemis and Portia. We shot the David and Susan scene at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown L.A. I got a few behind-the-scenes pics. We were shooting in the hotel lobby. Here’s a photo of the disclaimer that Production posted to let people know they might be in the shot. I was struck by how closely the language mirrors that of my Scandal contract.
I also got a picture of Artemis getting ready for the shot of us exiting the hotel as we chat.
You’ll notice she has a crew of three tending to her. I’m off to the side, fending for myself, as per usual. And here’s a shot of Oliver Bokelberg, who is often our director of photography, and sometimes — as in this episode — our director.
SF: Yeah he is.
JM: One last pic. I thought it was very fitting that I discovered this restaurant just outside of the Doubletree. I like to think that this is David Rosen’s favorite lunch spot.
SF: You done now with Show and Tell?
JM: Yeah. What did you bring?
SF: My willingness to actually watch the episode and discuss it in detail.
JM: Oh yeah. That’s right. I’ll keep bringing my camera.