Here’s Why ‘Scandal’ Ended the Way It Did With That Shocking Death

Scandal - Guillermo Diaz, Katie Lowes, Darby Stanchfield, Kerry Washington
ABC/Giovanni Rufino

[WARNING: This article contains spoilers from the series finale of ABC’s Scandal.]

ABC’s political drama, Scandal, ended its seven-season run last night in a series finale that set the bar so high, it’ll be hard to top it.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her fearless Gladiators took down Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and ensured Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) remained President. But not everyone can survive in Washington, D.C. — literally. In a tragic and equally triumphant moment, Attorney General of the United States David Rosen (Joshua Malina) died.

But why did the show have to end that way? Scandal creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells EW, “[David] was really the last good, pure person there. And for that to happen, he was the last hero they had left, and in that sense, it felt necessary.”

Malina found out about his death before the table read on a phone call with Rhimes and was actually in good spirits about his untimely demise. “He was actually kind of excited and honored,” she reveals.

He admits, “Once I had a moment to process it and think about it, I was delighted. I feel like in the universe of Scandal, it makes all kinds of sense. I’ve always argued that David was among the better people, and the better people don’t fare well in the universe of Scandal, so I thought it made a lot of sense.”

Washington explains to The Hollywood Reporter that David’s death represented something more. “The show explores the idea that power corrupts and when you’re flying in those circles that close to the sun, you have to be careful. It was very sad for his character — and for Abby,” she reasons. “I was shocked — and then excited because it was going to be quite a finale.”

Two interesting tidbits about David’s death: It took close to six hours to film and the rest of the cast didn’t know until the table read.

Also in the finale, fans also saw Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Charlie (George Newbern) get married and, of course, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) was right there with them. Cyrus resigned and Jake (Scott Foley) wound up behind bars.

But where do Olivia and Fitz stand?!

“I know there are people who are like, ‘I wanted her to end up with a man,’ and that’s just not a thing I’m going to write for any character,” Rhimes explains. “I can’t teach a woman that her job in life is to end up with a man as a happy ending to a story — ever.”

Goldwyn tells THR, “The fact that [Fitz’s] able to finally connect with Olivia in a mutually consensual forward-moving, healthy way — to have a positive effect on their world and community — was his greatest dream. They do get their happy ending.”

But what about that ambiguous National Portrait Gallery scene?!

Washington shares to EW that she’s leaving the POTUS possibility open-ended: “I love that [Rhimes] left us wondering. She says she knows exactly what it means, and maybe the other writers do, but we don’t, and I think that’s pretty fantastic that we get to leave with questions, we get to leave with the gift of using our own imaginations to complete this story.”