After almost 100 episodes of Scandal, we’ve finally learnt that Olivia Pope, i.e. the character that Kerry Washington has portrayed so flawlessly over the seasons, wasn’t originally going to be black.

Au contraire, the people in charge at the network actually envisioned her as white, until the casting director spoke up…

“The network was reading us their top choices, and it was Connie Britton and all white women,” said casting director Linda Lowy.

“I panicked. Somebody finally piped up, ‘We’re going to have to redo this list.’”

Creator Shonda Rhimes also weighed in on the importance of casting a black leading lady…

“Nothing felt more important than the sense of outsiderness,” she said. “I didn’t know that there hadn’t been a drama series with a leading black woman for 37 years.

“When the show got picked up to pilot, I got a phone call from somebody who said, ‘This would be the perfect show for Connie Britton.’ I said, ‘It would be, except Olivia Pope is black.’”

They also tested Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose for the part, but it was Kerry Washington who blew them away…

“It was Kerry from the moment I took her to meet Shonda,” said Linda Lowy.

“She could talk Washington more than I could talk Washington. She was different than what I originally envisioned,” added Shonda Rhimes.

“We were all like, ‘Oh my God,’ because she’s tiny, cute, pretty and younger — and because she was all those things, she was aware that people would underestimate her.”

Casting Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope was the best decision the network could have made. Who knows, the show might not have been the success it is today without its killer cast…