Asking a Scandal fan to pick the most shocking moments from the series is like asking Olivia Pope to choose between wine and popcorn — it's a nearly impossible task. But we're willing to give it a shot. Since Scandal premiered on April 5, 2012, each episode of the sudsy ABC drama — about Olivia (Kerry Washington), a savvy Washington, DC, fixer who's having an affair with President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant (Tony Goldwyn) — has offered up grisly murders, wild plot twists, and enough intrigue for half a dozen series. To celebrate the seventh (and, alas, final) season, which premieres October 5, we picked seven memorable moments that shook us to our cores. (Photos via ABC/Richard Cartwright + Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images + ABC + ABC/Ron Tom)
When We Learned Who Was in Cahoots to Get Fitz Elected:
Viewers discovered early on that Fitz's first electoral victory wasn't fair. But the bigger twist came later: A season two flashback revealed that a cabal of unlikely bedfellows — Olivia, Fitz's shrewd wife Mellie (Bellamy Young), devious campaign manager Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), smarmy donor Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry), and future Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney) — conspired to fix the election for Fitz by flipping an Ohio county in his favor. (Photo via Ron Tom/ABC via Getty)
When the Head of B613 Turned Out to Be Olivia's Father…:
For much of season two, viewers watched as Rowan (Joe Morton), the head of the ultra-secret spy agency B613, ruthlessly carried out his mysterious agenda that left people dead or changed forever. For starters, his organization tortured onetime agent Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and forced him to cut off contact with his family. In the final moments of the series finale, Olivia came face to face with the man and uttered one word that blew viewers' minds: "Dad?" (Photo via Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty)
…And Her Mom Was Revealed to Be a Terrorist:
Olivia didn't have much luck in the parent department. Long thought to have died in a plane crash, Olivia's mom, Maya (Khandi Alexander), surfaced in season three after escaping from prison, where Rowan locked her up for 22 years. Maya told Olivia — who was naturally shocked to see her mom alive — that Rowan put her away because she was going to expose him for the monster he is. Not so much. After she helped Maya flee the country to escape Rowan, Olivia realized her mom played a role in a plane crash that killed hundreds of people. (Photo via ABC/Richard Cartwright)
When Fitz's Dad Sexually Assaulted Mellie:
Creator Shonda Rhimes has never shied away from depicting difficult topics on her shows. And in one of the most heartbreaking and stomach-turning scenes of the series, Fitz's dad, a powerful senator (Barry Bostwick), raped Mellie. The season three flashback — to a time long before Mellie was in the White House — was one of the show's most controversial twists. The episode was an acting master class, though, courtesy of the brilliant and affecting Young. (Photo via Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty)
When Olivia Killed the Former Vice President:
Olivia got some blood on that white hat of hers in season five. Normally, her Gladiators — AKA her employees at Olivia Pope & Associates — carried out the dirtiest of the dirty work (murder, torture, etc.). But in the fifth season, the heroine herself lost her cool and snapped on former Vice President Andrew Nichols (Jon Tenney), who had her kidnapped earlier in the season. His punishment: a fatal beating with a metal chair. (Photo via ABC/Ron Tom)
When Samantha Ruland Bludgeoned Elizabeth North:
Republican strategist Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) was one of those delicious, love-to-hate-her characters: Self-serving, conniving, and downright mean, she was quick with a quip ("I'm the female head of the Republican National Committee — I don’t know what a friend is”) and seemed indestructible. (Hey, she even bounced back after an epic torture from Huck.) So it was all the more surprising when, in the middle of season six, the shadowy Samantha Ruland (Zoe Perry) picked up a golf club and bludgeoned her to death in front of Mellie, almost as an afterthought.
When Olivia Became Command:
The ultimate WTF moment of season six came in the final few minutes of the finale. Olivia — who for years fought B613, helped dismantle it, and successfully lobbied Fitz to squash its reinstatement — made a sneaky power play. As the White House chief of staff, she had newly inaugurated President Mellie Grant sign an executive order, which — unbeknownst to POTUS — would fund the covert organization. Olivia put herself in charge too, and became the fearful Command. (Photo via ABC)
What Scandal moment shocked you the most? Tell us @BritandCo.