Shonda Rhimes and 'Scandal' Star Speak Out After Shocking Death

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Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday’s episode of Scandal.

Blackmail took a bloody turn on Thursday’s episode of Scandal, and Mellie Grant’s chief of staff, Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi), paid the ultimate price.

After Olivia (Kerry Washington) and her team got Cyrus (Jeff Perry) out of jail so he could be sworn in as the next President of the United States, Mellie (Bellamy Young) was ready to concede her defeat -- until some shady characters showed up to convince her otherwise.

The secretive group, headed by a Mystery Woman (Zoe Perry) and her boss, Peus (David Warshofsky), stepped their blackmail game up when Mellie refused to bend to their wishes, brutally bashing in Liz’s head to show the former FLOTUS just how serious they were about getting her in the West Wing, whether she likes it or not.

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And after the murderous figures threatened Mellie’s children next, she agreed to work with them to take control of the White House, with the Mystery Woman stepping in as her chief of staff.

As it turns out, the brutal murder was part of a plan enacted by the Scandal writers, along with creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes, so that de Rossi could leave to show to focus on other creative endeavors.

“I am incredibly grateful for my time here at Scandal!” said de Rossi in a statement following the episode. “I will miss playing Elizabeth North but I've made the decision to focus on a business opportunity. Shonda, Betsy [Beers] and the cast have been incredibly supportive of my decision. I will always love my Scandal family. I'll be watching!”

Rhimes also opened up about writing the actress off the show, sharing, "I have been a fan of Portia's for years and it was an honor to have her join our Scandal family. Portia infused Liz North with a smart powerful vulnerable soul while also making the humor sing -- and that brought all of us in the writers room a lot of joy.”

“If I could keep her forever, I would -- but kidnapping is illegal,” the TGIT head honcho added. “Besides, I am incredibly impressed with the vision she has for her creative future. I wish her all the best.”

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De Rossi’s wife, Ellen DeGeneres, also tweeted about the shocking Scandal twist, writing “I’m proud of my wife for her epic performance on #Scandal. I will miss Lizzie Bear, but I’m glad Portia Bear is sitting right next to me.” 

See more on the political thriller’s recent milestone 100th episode in the video below!

airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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