Harrison Wright is Olivia Pope’s number one Gladiator on “Scandal.”
Columbus Short, who plays the dapper fast-talker on the show, stopped by Access Hollywood Live on Thursday, where he dished on what drives his character to always have Liv’s back. Is there a deeper connection between the two that goes beyond friendship and respect?
“I’m her right-hand dude. And, it’s interesting,” Columbus told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover, when asked about Harrison’s unwavering dedication to Liv. “[Kerry Washington] and I talk about it a lot.”
The actor said he and Kerry (who plays Olivia on the Shonda Rhimes-helmed drama) have developed a couple of theories regarding the history between their characters.
“We don’t know if we’re related. We don’t know if I love her. We don’t know what it is!” he said, adding that anything could happen, given Shonda’s writing style. “What’s special about Shonda is we kind of mold our characters. When I got the show, all I had was that monologue from the pilot. That’s all I knew, that’s why I took the job. I was like this is ‘Social Network,’ this is Aaron Sorkin, this is it! I want to do this show.’
“I had no idea,” he continued. “So I’ve had to build this character. Everything has kind of been built through business, through living in the white on the page. So, we don’t know what our characters will be. Shonda will see something and go ‘Oh,’ and then write it in. She doesn’t even know!”
Even the “Scandal” scribes have questioned Harrison and Liv’s connection.
“One of the writers asked me on the sly, ‘Do you think Harrison is low-key in love with Liv?’” he said. “I was like ‘Hmmm…’ But it’s a different type of thing. Like, I feel like I’d buy me being her brother more than I’d buy [a romantic relationship].”
On last week’s “Scandal,” Cyrus (Jeff Perry) made it clear he planned to torment Harrison with someone from his past, and Columbus said Gladiators are about to learn a whole lot more about his character’s roots.
“My backstory is coming. It’s coming like a yeti out of the woods!” he laughed. “It’s crazy!”
And even more crazy? Tonight’s episode, where Columbus said fans will be blown away by revelations about Operation Remington and Olivia’s mom (played by Khandi Alexander).
“Olivia’s mom – there’s some stuff going on there… there’s some stuff that you guys are going to see there that’s pretty remarkable,” he hinted.
Interestingly (as some fans have questioned whether Liv’s mom is secretly alive and well), Harrison said tonight’s Maya Pope-driven episode won’t be heavy on the flashbacks.
“It’s going to be light flashbacks, heavy on the present time,” he said. “But it’s going to be really good stuff, and the woman playing her mom is incredible. Khandi is a phenomenal actress… it’s going to be special.”
Adding, “Oh, it’s going to be crazy!”
“Scandal” airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.