‘Scandal’ Shocker: When Did Dan Bucatinsky Know?

Last night was a rough one for “Scandal” fans, as the answer was revealed to last week’s #WhoGotShot mystery.

(Warning: spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up with the show.)

This week, viewers learned it was James Novak who was on the receiving end of Jake Ballard’s bullet, and Dan Bucatinsky stopped by Access Hollywood Live on Friday to talk about the moment he first found out his character was going to be killed, after a fateful phone call from “Scandal” creator Shonda Rimes.

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“[I was] in my car. I pulled over, I was like, ‘OK, did that just happen?’ and then we talked about it and then we talked about how painful it was,” Dan told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover. “And we talked about the fact that I [would] get to read the script beforehand and she said, ‘We’re gonna write a really beautiful episode,’ which I have to say, I’m so proud to be part of an episode that sort of chronicled Cyrus Beene coming out – which really it was – and it made it sadder, but it made it really profound.

“Here’s a man who finally found authentic love and in a very deep way, and as he was contemplating the fact that his husband had died and really if you trace back and connect the dots — it was because of him,” Dan continued. “He pimped out his husband and then Daniel Douglas had to die, and you know… it’s a dangerous game.”

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After learning James’ fate, Dan said he thought of creative ways his character could’ve lived after the gunshot wound.

“Couldn’t James be in the hole for the whole season? Kidnapped?” he said, laughing. “It’s sort of like the five stages of grief. I was sort of in the bargaining stage. I was like, “All right, listen. I could be shot and very badly maimed and need a wheelchair and not be able to speak for a whole season. That’s dramatic!’”

Though he’s devastated over leaving the show, Dan said the writers made the right decision.

“Here’s the thing about a show like ‘Scandal’ – the stakes are always so high, and the kind of show that allows you to play the amazing stuff that I got to play over 27 episodes is the same kind of show that can always take you out,” he admitted.

Adding, “They really wrote well for me and Cyrus for the three seasons I did the show, and as a writer, it really does need to be at this level. I mean, if every time somebody might die they don’t, then the audience starts to get that that might happen.”

“Scandal” airs Thursdays at 10 PM on ABC.

-- Erin O’Sullivan

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