'Scandal' Preview: Will Jake Be Olivia's Undoing?


While anyone who attempts to come in between Olivia and Fitz is bad news, fans had no idea just how shady Scott Foley's character, Jake Ballard, was until the closing minutes of last week's Scandal when it was revealed he'd been tracking Olivia's every move thanks to the most impressive array of hidden cameras since Sliver!

And given his job with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, you can be assured Ballard isn't simply interested in watching Olivia sleep.

But just to make sure, I chatted with Scott Foley this afternoon about joining TV's hottest show, what lies ahead for Olivia Pope and who he'd like to sneak a peek of in real life.

ETonline: You had a very memorable arc on Grey's Anatomy, is that how this gig came about; Shonda called you up?

Scott Foley: That's exactly right. I had such a good time working on Grey's and Shonda was so kind to me. I really appreciated what she did with the character and the stories -- they're heartbreaking and honest and really romantic. She sent me an email over the New Year, while we were on break, telling me they were coming up with a new love interest for Olivia and was curious if I was available. I had just found out Fox wasn't sure what they were going to do with the show I shot last year, The Goodwin Games, so I was free. I asked about the character and all she wrote back was, "It's a love interest for Liv." I put my trust in Shonda, having a history with her and knowing her so well. When the first episode aired last week, my Twitter account blew up! People were calling me, I was getting Facebook messages from high school friends I hadn't talked to in years and the fact I get to be a part of a big moment like that is awesome.

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ETonline: Finding out he was pulling a Sliver was unreal. What was your reaction when you found out?

Foley: It was crazy! You always assume there's another twist coming with Scandal. So I saw their sweet scene at the coffee shop and thought, "What an interesting coincidence because she's working on a case about this woman who died in David's bed and it happened that she was doing work for Jake." I honestly thought that might be the twist. And then I saw he'd been watching her ... let me just tell you, when we did that scene at the table read, everyone on the cast and crew began to shout, "oooooooh!" It was amazing and I was excited to be part of one of those great "What the hell was that?" moments. And there are a bunch of those "Oh my God" moments coming up in the next two episodes I've filmed. It's so cool, man.

ETonline: And I would imagine now that we know this big secret, it makes his courtship of Olivia all the more unsettling.

Foley: I think it does. If you remember a few episodes ago when Olivia told Edison she didn't want to marry him because she wanted a different kind of relationship. So you either want her to find that with Jake or you think Jake's a total snake and she shouldn't be with him. There's a really divided audience there and I think that makes it all the more interesting.

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ETonline: What can you tell us about this week's episode, Boom Goes The Dynamite? All ABC has released is that Jake is persistent in trying to date Olivia.

Foley: That's all they gave you? [laughs] Well, the last thing we saw was that great moment where you saw the cameras in his apartment -- but you have to remember, she called Jake to say, "Ok, I'll go on a date with you." We'll see them on that date, which Jake is very excited about. You know, he's made this interesting transition, and I'm not sure if he's allowed to do it. Someone has definitely hired him to keep an eye on Olivia, he's not choosing to do that on his own, and I'm sure when they hired him, they did not say it was OK to take her on a date. So he's definitely breaking some sort of code. And we see Olivia still fighting against having a relationship and that's a great thing they've done with the character: she wants love but is always fighting against it, so even though she agreed to go on this date, she won't call it a date. In the episodes I've shot, there's always going to be that tension of him looking for more and her pulling back.

ETonline: As you see Jake going deeper and deeper into this lie, as a Scandal fan, do you think about all the ways Olivia is going to ruin his life eventually?

Foley: Yeah. Totally. Although I don't even say Olivia, I say Shonda is going to kill my character [laughs]. I do know that she Olivia has a way, with Huck and Harrison and everyone at Pope & Associates, of getting the upper hand. You can never pull one over on Olivia, she always knows what's going on. At the end of the day, Olivia is Olivia's best client -- and that's terrifying for me, as an actor, to know my character is doing something that kind of has to blow up. If there's going to be any progress in the story, she's got to find out about this at some point, right? It can't just be the audience. She'll eventually put Huck on his ass, and once you've been waterboarded, nothing can hurt you.

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ETonline: Lastly, in the creepiest way imaginable, I'd like to know whose apartment you'd bug given the chance.

Foley: I immediately go to political figures because we're talking about a political show, so I have to say The Oval Office. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in Obama's Oval Office. For me, that would be amazing. This is sort of childish, but I'd love to hear how they actually speak. I remember a few years ago, President Bush was at a big banquet dinner with Sarkozy, and he walked up behind him and said, "We gotta get this sh*t in order." He used a word I assumed two presidents wouldn't use with each other. There's an interesting thing about a media persona versus a real life, and I want to know about the real life of The White House.

airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.