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Scandal‘s fourth season debuts on Thursday, September 25th at 9 p.m. and this season, you can expect for many things to change. For one, Columbus Short’s Harrison is gone for good. Fitz has been reelected and when last seen, Olivia was flying off to parts unknown with Jake after realizing she’d been betrayed by her father. Show creator Shonda Rhimes gave an insightful interview to The Hollywood Reporter to talk about what fans can expect for next season. Here are some highlights.

How Things Will Be Different in Season 4:

Season four is going to be very different from season three, the same way season two was different from season one. It just is. We’re telling different stories. Liv was in a different place. The characters are in different places. We’re in a different space. What I loved about when we got to the end of the season, we pushed a very strange reset button. Everybody’s life got wiped clean in a very odd way. Maya went back into the hole, Harrison is gone, OPA no longer exists, Fitz has been re-elected, his child is dead, and Mellie is a mess. Everything has been put in this very strange spot. Fitz is destroyed. He’s won the presidency, but he’s lost everything. We’re in a very different space than we were when we were even three episodes toward the end. We’re in a very different spot and everybody has been wiped clean, and anything goes, in a weird way.

How Harrison Will Exit The Show:

His absence will be explained definitively. What you think happened to his character happened to his character.

The Kinds of Storylines To Expect in Season 4:

It feels like the universe is getting smaller again. As we’re telling stories, the stories really do seem to be more focused on our core people. By necessity, in a weird way, last season we had to expand our universe. We had a lead actress who for reasons that are private [Washington’s pregnancy] was moving slower and could work less. So we had to hold things in front of her and tone it down a lot more. It just meant for us that it was a different energy for her, and we were taking care of somebody. She couldn’t work 14 hours a day, so we had to tell our story in a different way, and that necessitated other people both picking up the slack in beautiful ways — we got to really see Bellamy Young [First Lady Mellie Grant] sing and all the amazing moves she could do. We got to see those people sing in amazing ways and bring in other people for them to play against.

How Long Scandal Will Last:

I’ve already decided when Scandal is ending. I think there’s only so much Scandal you can tell satisfactorily. The Fitz-Liv thing can only be told so long and in such a way. It’s not a 10-season or eight-season show. I’ve already decided how long that is and what that’s going to be. I’m not really worried about that.

Read the entire interview here. 

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