- Title: Scandal – Hunting Season
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Olivia (Kerry Washington) is approached by an excitable new client, a data programmer for the NSA who has proof that the United States Government is spying on American citizens inside the United States. After stealing evidence of “Thorngate,” a program that uses computers, cellphones, and tablets as cameras and recording devices, Artie (Patrick Fischler) shows up in Olivia’s car begging for her protection. Both Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and Harrison (Columbus Short) believe the man is crazy and after a cursory examination of the flash drive Huck (Guillermo Díaz) can find no evidence to support Artie’s story.
To check for herself, Olivia has a short talk with an intelligence officer for the NSA (Ann Cusack) and, despite the woman’s pretense of not knowing the programmer or the situation Olivia inquires about, not thirty-seconds into the interview Olivia realizes that Artie’s crazy story is true. After relocating their client, and the entire staff of Olivia Pope & Associates, to a safe house, Huck begins digging into the code and the group sees for themselves that the software is indeed very real.
Olivia approaches a network about breaking the exclusive story on live television but the White House’s attempts to prevent the story quash the story and lead to a confrontation between Olivia and the President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn) that not only puts him in a bad mood but angers the First Lady (Bellamy Young) when she discovers his secret rendezvous with his former mistress.
The episode works very well on its own, and has a pretty good final twist, but there are several ongoing threads worth noting as well including the First Lady’s ultimatum to her husband, Huck’s continued struggle with containing his violence, and the introduction of Senator Davis (Norm Lewis) as Olivia’s former flame and new client. The episode’s B-story also produces some fun moments as the suspended United States Attorney David Rosen (Joshua Malina) talks over Quinn’s (Katie Lowes) trial with his assistant (Brenda Song) before spending the night with an unusual choice of companions which should lead to an interesting morning after for both Rosen and Abby.