Stop Licking People: Ranking Scandal's 10 Most Reprehensible Characters

By Nick Campbell

Apr 10, 2014

There are few shows on television that make me as angry as Scandal does, and it's mostly because I'm exhausted by purportedly smart people constantly doing the dumbest crap. I watch stupid stuff happen on TV all the time: law enforcement bungles investigations on The Following, teenage girls enter dark, abandoned warehouses on Pretty Little Liars, backwater fools think they can put one over on the Mother of Dragons on Game of Thrones (guys, she has friggin' dragons). For the most part, I've grown to accept those milksops and their shenanigans. But for whatever reason, the fever pitch of idiocy on Scandal has put me out.

The "white hat/black hat" theme of the show (along with the assumption that everyone actually wears a sickly gray hat) has pushed the characters around until they're all basically reprehensible. Whether they're avowed murderers, closeted murderers, proud adulterers, or just operating in a gray area of what's good for themselves and what's good for the Republic, there isn't a single character on the show who's unfazed by darkness, and their reactions to that touch of evil put them on a scale of likability, from understandable pathos to "Is there a way we can go back in time and undo Defiance?" And thus, here are Scandal's ten most reprehensible characters...

Honorable Mention: Abby Whelan/Harrison Wright

Abby and Harrison aren't even consequential to this show anymore. They might be bad people, but all of their crimes are in service to Olivia, so it's hard to really say they're terrible so much as they are drones to their particular masters. Abby used to be the convincing voice of dissent, but now she's basically just around to to convince her powerful boyfriend to do questionable things. Two seasons of Harrison getting no action, and the two times he's followed his wiener somewhere, it's gotten him into trouble. Nowadays, these two are basically just warm bodies to help fill up the conference room.

10. David Rosen

Poor, stupid David Rosen. If there is any White Hat remaining on Scandal, it's him, what with his sense of right and wrong. That being said, David's stance on justice is constantly being manipulated by a girlfriend with questionable ethics, a woman who's always wearing evening gloves and needs endless favors, and a case of the old-fashioned hush-up-or-I'll-kill-you-and-yours. He's still quippy (you can't get rid of that Josh Malina wit) and, at the very least, looks constantly pained when he knows he's doing a wrong thing. The best thing David Rosen could do for his career would be to give up the U.S. Attorney game and be a sports writer. He seems like the type who'd be good at stats.

9. Mellie Grant

We've all been holding our breath, waiting for Mellie to get hers. She's had to put up with so much during this administration, from a openly cheating husband to threats on her family's well-being to staying celibate in a "loveless" marriage. The celibacy part seems to have fallen by the wayside lately (and I'm not mad at her), but I'm tired of seeing a First Lady who seems so strong, manipulative, and cunning 80 percent of the time looking like she's misplaced her backbone when she gets caught in her schemes (or caught on her knees, depending on the situation). She backs down so quickly and so fiercely. I know her history with Fitz is complicated and that she puts up with a lot for the good of the country, but Mellie deserves more than what the Fitz administration can give her.

8. Jake Ballard

Yeah, there are seven people worse than Command. We've watched Jake shoot a secondary (okay, tertiary) character in cold blood, basically choke a woman when she messed with the wrong unchecked spy agency, and a host of other ruthless things that B613 has managed to force him to do. But we've also seen the giant heart the beats only for a Olivia, and the remorse for a man that struggles to compartmentalize the loneliness of his extraordinary work and being a human being. It's that pathos we're after that so many of these characters like to shirk. Also, it helps that Scott Foley seems to only chase roles where he's the passed-over guy in a triangle. Yes, I just made Fitz the new Ben.

7. Quinn Perkins

Quinn doesn't seem like such a bad gal. Sure, she can get too big for her britches and has a problem with being serially disillusioned, but she's just someone who wants to be loved/heard. The problem is that she's complicitly walking down this path of doom with B613 because they made her, but all she really wants is for someone to pull her out because she's drowning. She talks (and licks) a tough game, but the fact that she's constantly shaken and seems to be repulsed by Charlie's paranoid invasion means Bone-Drilling Quinn and Gladiator Intern Quinn are fighting for her soul. While they duke it out, Quinn the Human continues to make a steady stream of terrible, clumsy moves that make me wish Jake would just take her out. For the good of the Republic.

6. Sally Langston

It feels kind of wrong to put a God-fearing woman this high on the list, but she did kill someone (though she wanted to confess!) and she is willing to cave on some pretty important social issues otherwise forbidden by her dogma for the sake of the greater good. Plus, it's also very hard to have sympathy for Sally. She's stabbed wildly at the back of the man who brought her within reach of the Oval Office (even before stabbing wildly at the back of her gay husband with a letter opener). Her campaign manager has her on the ethical ropes as she fights for power. And on top of all that, she wasn't really all that complex to begin with. If Sally fell off the face of the earth, I'm not sure the Grant administration would notice, given all the other garbage they put up with during the week.

5. Huck

I like Huck. Honestly, I do. Although that might just be due to warm feelings from the beginning of the series, back when he was the coolest guy in the room, the greatest gladiator. Always quick to help Olivia, willing to go the extra mile, and just a sweetheart of a man. But then the licking started. And I can't take it. He swung from being a man with an addiction and trying desperately to rise above to being the creeper sitting in the dark, cool corner of the office waiting for opportunities to lick Quinn. It's gross. The writers need to swing that pendulum back to Holding-It-Together Huck before it's too late.

4. Olivia Pope

You fell in love with this show because of this woman. She was smart, decisive, and willful. She didn't back down from conflict and she didn't lose her cool when faced with a problem spiraling out of control. And then Scandal went from being a case-of-the-week to the constant crap-storm blowing in her face and we lost the Olivia we once knew. She's become the sexual plaything of the two most important men in the Republic and, while I think Jake is the lesser of two evils, both situations are poison. We've watched an adult backslide into being an adolescent, and it hurts. She blubbers about Vermont. She's surrendered her business to the service of an undeserving man. And, worst of all, she's basically unrecognizable from the woman for whom the gladiators-in-suits vowed to fight. Why would they do anything for her now? How are they even making money? Who's paying for all of this popcorn and wine?

3. Rowan Pope

Command used to be a monster that no one could wrangle. Rowan's reign saw both Huck and Jake being put in the Hole, the ultimate destruction of the Pope family, and, basically, Rowan fast-tracking Fitzgerald Grant to the presidency. If 22 years of terror wasn't enough, watching him monologue is an excruciating experience. Every conversation with Olivia becomes a theatrical performance: No scenery is left un-chewed, no fourth wall is left un-smashed by such anachronistic speeches. I miss the simple dinners. Since he's been relieved of Command, he's like a more eloquent street-corner personality that we're forced to watch not out of pity but because we made the mistake of asking him for directions. "Okay, man. I get it. You're mad. Sorry. Wow. You're still going. Okay. Watch that vein, man."

2. Cyrus Beene

He prostituted his husband to sabotage his political opponent. He helped orchestrate a betrayal of our electoral system. He wanders around scheming and scowling like some flaxen-haired ogre, living and dying by every opportunity to screw someone over. He adopted a kid to keep his husband from blurting out his secrets. Also: His beard is weird and gross. Cyrus Bean is what would happen if you appointed a Disney villain to a high-ranking government position. He is the Everyday Grinch.

1. Fitzgerald Grant

And then there was President Emo McFreeTime. I was much happier with Fitz when he was just a side-story for Olivia, the distraction that might eventually lead to a season-finale cliffhanger and not the all-consuming walking monument to petulance that dominates Scandal these days. There is a childishness in Fitz that perturbs something deep within me. The tantrum-throwing. The bald-faced lying. The double standard where he can get mad at Mellie for finally getting some action even though he's been trying to dry-hump Olivia every time she walks into the Oval. Everyone in his administration keeps discussing how he's a great man who can do great things for this country, but when will Scandal take some time away from the soap to actually work on building those traits into Fitzgerald Grant? How is he a great man? What have seen of him that he deserves the unconditional adoration of his staff and the unwavering availability, both professionally and sexually, of one Olivia Pope? This gray-templed baby does nothing but pitch fits. He's unusually cruel to Mellie. He jeopardizes everything and everyone around him for chasing tail. The Grant administration might be the worst thing to ever happen to Scandal's America. It's at a point where I think Jake might be letting Mama Pope work out that bomb deal because letting it go off at a campaign function might be the only way to save the Republic from the Grants. Exploding all of them would be sad, but it's the only way to be sure. Fitz is so worried about his poll numbers, but if he did some presidenting every once in a while instead of counting the ways to dip his wick, maybe people would consider four more years. I'm just saying. Congratulations, Fitz. You're the worst.

Who do you think is the most reprehensible character on Scandal these days?

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  • NyaPapaya Sep 26, 2014

    Cyrus, in my opinion, is one of the best characters. I absolutely despise Mellie.

  • Elster Jun 25, 2014

    I can't believe I named my son Rowan, and now I've read so many times it means the devil, but it also means the king, so how messed up is that?

  • Elster Jun 25, 2014

    I had to skip the last episode, soon into the 3rd season, because I was so disgusted by the writing. It was like going to a nice restaurant, and then on a subsequent visit, you wonder if the chef has become an alcoholic, or something terrible has happened. I couldn't believe how the story went, it was so not right to was all wrong. I'm like the Fruitcake Lady, if I found out my husband was cheating, I would beat the living daylights out of that woman. My perspective is as a wife, and the only married woman on the show is an idiot, so everything else is skewed for me. I don't know who the target audience would be, if not me. I guess it's women who are ok knowing their husband is openly cheating on them....but how sick. It makes me feel like someone from Saudi Arabia wrote it. It was a terrible show, I wasted so much time on it, and it didn't deliver. I have such bad memories of it all!

  • flintslady Apr 18, 2014

    Fitz IS NOT BEN!!!

    And yes Fitz is the worst.

  • Kendy123 Apr 15, 2014

    Surely this should be a list of people you actively hate, because by God it has nothing to do with who is actually the most reprehensible character on the show. The fact that Mellie Grant is apparently less reprehensible than Olivia Pope, is more about you preferring her to Olivia, because Mellie has done some pretty horrific things on this show, but I guess since the show raped her, had her attempt suicide, all her sins are forgiven? I could give you a list of all the bad things Mellie has done, but you're not really interested in that Nick, because this list was bogus as hell, and was more about the characters you hate.

    Shonda Rhimes and her stable of really bad writers have made a mockery of this show, in an effort to humanize Mellie Grant, they had Fitz's father rape her, and because Big Jerry is dead, Fitz becomes his proxy, and every time they have an argument or a shouting match, he becomes the bad guy because his dad raped her, it doesn't seem to matter that he knows nothing about it, he's just bad, period.
    It doesn't matter that Mellie told him that after having a baby she'd lost her sex drive, which meant that he then spent the next ten years, being faithful and celibate (the odd hump for procreation purposes doesn't count, and you should know that) until he met Olivia. I ask you Nick, would you have stayed faithful for ten years in a relationship where your wife/partner shut down all intimacy between you? I don't know one guy who would have lasted the year, let alone ten years.

    Can you actually highlight how Fitz has been abusive to his wife, with the exception of the affair - which you may erroneously class as abuse, but her response when he asked for a divorce was "there will be no divorce honey" so I would like somebody to give me a comprehensive list of all the times that Fitz has been abusive to Mellie? The man asked for a divorce, and offered to come clean, but Mellie threw an innocent girl under the bus to stop that from happening. The misery and pain that Mellie is currently in, stems from choices she made a long time ago. She's been the champion of her own downfall since she struck a deal with the devil, and has been blaming Fitz for the mess her life has been ever since.

    Oh, and shouting at her for trying to trap him into a war with East Sudan on national television, does not count. Think about Michelle Obama trying to trap her husband into launching a war on another country. Also, Mellie expecting to be able to sleep with a guy who is supposedly his best friend, who he potentially has to work with for the next four years was the most ridiculous thing ever. If she'd been sleeping with some random guy, the reaction from Fitz would have been very different. He thinks she was sleeping with Andrew, when she told him that she'd lost her libido. That was the natural conclusion to jump to, seeing as the guy was around 15 years ago.

    I digress, anyway, please make that list of all the times that Fitz has been abusive to Mellie, because I can come up with a list of all the ways that Mellie has undermined Fitz and sometimes just plain worked against him. Her eagerness to rig an election, is probably one of the lesser sins she's committed. I'll wait for that list.

    As for Olivia being more reprehensible than Mellie and Jake, you need to just own the fact that this isn't based on anything other than your personal taste.

    Wanting Olivia to be with a guy who puts her in hospital with a concussion, chokes her and walls her up and threatens to kill her (315) just about tells me how much of a shit you couldn't give about Olivia. Which is fine, but for the love of God, just own it.

  • NicholasCampb Apr 16, 2014

    Perish the thought that this list is anything but scientific!

    I did extensive research; put each character through a rigorous 68-point inspection for faults, predilection to evil, and heinousity (hayne-OS-ih-tee); interviewed every one using enhanced, non-OPA-approved techniques; tested their pH balance; sent each one through an MRI; pushed them through treadmill tests (Cyrus failed); braised them over Bunsen burners to test the smoke each one gave off; examined their individual spectra to see of which elements they are comprised; observed them for months in the wild and learned their ancient language; took urine samples and biopsies; carbon-dated each one (the results would shock you!); and, of course, administered safe and perfectly above-the-board rectal exams. You can never be too careful.

    I believe there's an impasse with Scandal fans that separates them into two camps that can't seem to see eye-to-eye.

    If you bought into Olitz early, you see he and Olivia as a worthwhile couple withstanding the constant abuse of a world that desperately tries to tear them apart. If you thought Fitz was an unnecessary and over-the-top distraction for a strong-minded, independent woman and never bought into the relationship, Fitz is a little baby man and everything he does is tainted by his little baby thoughts.

    There are plenty of evil people on the show and Fitz hasn't even one time considered blowing up a church full of innocent people to destroy embarrassingly few political obstacles. If this was real life, I would certainly say some of these people belong in front of a war crimes tribunal, not drinking coffee at OPA. But I get the benefit of watching these characters within the context of their universe, not ours, and I can safely say, from my limited omniscience, Fitz is the most upsetting. He's tiresome and petulant and whiny and makes my eyes roll every time he's on screen. Both Olivia and Mellie could do better. Do I think Olivia should run into the open arms of Jake Ballard? No. He's poison, a trainwreck of a person, fully complicit in doom, culpable of too many crimes against Olivia and decent people, a human shitshow. Do I like Jake Ballard more than I like Fitz? Yeah, he's definitely more likeable. He doesn't whine so much and he has pathos.

    When having to choose a mate for Olivia on this show, can't I just choose none of the above and hate them all for her? They're all the living worst. There's probably good academic paper in reading the psychoanalytic reasons for why the choices being put in front of Olivia are so amazingly terrible and how she deals with them being a statement on how the writers feel about her character. But that's for someone smarter than me.

    Thank you for taking the time to write!

  • Kendy123 Apr 16, 2014

    But Nick, your list is supposed to be about the most reprehensible person in the Scandalverse, so when you cite weak, whiny, ineffective and petulant as a reason for choosing Fitz as the most reprehensible over a guy who killed a pregnant woman, and who tried to kill his own husband, it kinda makes you seem not only whiny, but slightly challenged, shall we say.

    Defend this list with all your might, but you know as well as many of us do that putting Fitz as the most reprehensible character out of the people you have listed above, suggests that you have no idea what reprehensible actually means. It really doesn't mean what you seem to think it does.

  • NicholasCampb Apr 17, 2014

    It means deserving condemnation. "Reprehensible" is vague enough to connote a vileness of feeling while still not being specific to similar terms that would ultimately change the tone of the list. I'm not ranking the most evil. I'm not ranking the worst deed. I'm ranking characters that give a sense of being "the worst." While the litany of crimes Cyrus commits ranks him high even by Scandal standards of being awful, Fitz as the kernel of all that is terrible on this show, both from a narrative standpoint and from a production standpoint, makes him the worst.

    Compared to his cohorts, his evil deeds are limited. He did kill an old woman, shoot down a plane full of innocent people, and repeatedly and openly cheat on his wife. Bringing these up seems to instigate just as much ire from people since they justify everything. He had to kill the Supreme Court justice because she threatened him and his office. He was only following orders on the shooting down the plane. His wife didn't love him the way he wanted so, of course, he's allowed to fall in love with someone else. Although, I would counter that every character on the show has reasonable, if heinous, motivations for their actions (the "good of the Republic" is popular).

    What complicates Fitz and why he's so frustrating a character is his capability for terrible things while also constantly making himself a victim for everything. Even when he apologizes to Olivia or his wife, it's with a tone of it not really being his fault but the situation they're in (like how he can't give Olivia Vermont because he's President and he's married) or he was drunk or he was put in a tight spot by his political opponents. He's wishy-washy and boneless. And that's what makes him terrible to watch. Not to mention, admittedly arguably, the sharper focus on his soapy drama is the ruin of what the show had been.

    I enjoy the discourse, though. Personal as it seems to get.

  • KEA8639 Apr 15, 2014

    I love Scandal.I’ve said all along the reason people hate Fitz is because he loves Olivia, I mean he just doesn’t love her he LOVES her like a little puppy would his master.He’s never showed Mellie any affection, with the exception of a few minutes in a flashback. Some people can’t stand this part of the story. Olivia and Fitz are the reason the majority of people starting watching Scandal. I have to admit I love this reaction of the so called Fitz hate, because it doesn’t ring true with the character. Yes he’s cheating, but so are many more characters on television.There are so many affairs on television with bad men and women, but some people want to put Olivia and Fitz in the serial killer column, simply because they are in love with each other. I mean really, Sally who killed her husband is not on the list higher than Olivia.

    I love the way Kerry Washington plays this character. She has made Scandal and the name Olivia Pope extremely popular in the United States and other countries.I’m sorry that people can’t take the fact that Fitz is head over heels in love with Olivia, blame Tony Goldwyn for demonstrating this character’s undying love.These two have the best chemistry on television and the ratings for the last couple of years have have proven it.Who wouldn’t be in love with Kerry Washington/Olivia, she’s smart and extremely beautiful.Her flawless skin radiates on screen (quote from a critic) unlike any other actress currently on television.

    If the writers would show Fitz showing some kind of affection for Mellie, then all of the Fitz haters would change their tune.The Fitz haters would love to see Fitz and Mellie in a real love scene, they are holding their breaths, but sadly the writers haven’t shown that yet.As soon as they do, they all will love Fitz. Even if they show Fitz and Olivia in one of their great love scenes, then the next scene with Fitz and Mellie, they would be fine with that, any little crumbs will satisfy the Fitz haters.

    As far as Mellie is concerned Shonda ‘s experiment is working out just fine, no matter how pathetic and manipulative she writes Mellie, some fans will still sympathize with her.Mellie could have been on her knees giving all the men in white house BJs, and getting caught by her daughter, and some people would have still said, “Poor Mellie, “she does it because Fitz doesn’t love her.Bravo to the cast of Scandal and Shondaland for giving us a different type of show, with a great female lead, along with other WOC directing episodes this season.This show has led to other networks casting black females in the lead for future projects. I don’t know any other show currently on television that has so many people talking about it and articles being written about it almost on a daily basis. I can’t wait until next season, Go Scandal.

  • xubxerox Apr 12, 2014

    In this weeks episode:

    Leading to some kinky sex including ripping of fishnets, slapping, choking and spitting.

  • msdione22 Apr 12, 2014

    Sorry but I love this show. The worst to me now is Jake. I do have a huge issue with Fitz's tandrums though. How DARE he get mad at Mellie about Andrew with his open relationship with Liv. Then orders Liv, the woman he is supposed to love, to end them!!!!!! Ridiculious! Love Huck and Quinn's playtime together. Rowan is the DEVIL and Cyrus is a Monster. The rest are tame but fit in this Dark show.

  • Units420 Apr 12, 2014

    Oh good lord. Jake is the worst person in the world!!! People happy now?

    And by the way, I'm a black man married to a white woman. My hate for Fitz and Olitz has nothing to do with race. But more to do with he (and now her) just being awful characters, period.

  • crazedtvhead91 Apr 12, 2014

    I HATE FITZ!!!!!

  • joshthick Apr 12, 2014

    me too

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