"Crash and Burn"
Fitz vp and cyrus
Season One
Season 01, Episode 05
Episode Information
Air Date: April 26, 2012
Viewers: 6.69 million
Written by: Mark Wilding
Directed by: Steve Robin
Character Information
Episode Chronology
Previous Episode: "Enemy of the State"
Next Episode: "The Trail"

Crash and Burn is the fifth episode of the first season of Scandal.


Olivia and her team help defend the pilot of a commercial plane that crashed, killing all onboard; when Amanda Tanner goes missing, Huck must call upon his past to help find her; Fitz asks the vice president for help.


Olivia Pope & Associates:
  • Huck and Olivia seek the help of Assistant US Attorney David Rosen when Huck determines Amanda Tanner has been kidnapped.
  • A plane carrying 120 people – including a US Senator – crashes and the airline blames the pilot, Lori Mackelson, who is a 20-year sober alcoholic. Her husband maintains her innocence. Olivia takes him on as a client to attempt to restore his wife’s reputation.
White House:
  • Cyrus and Fitz work to pass the Dream Act, using the death of the senator as an advantage; but VP Sally Langston holds the deciding vote and knowing she won’t vote for it they look for possibilities to sway her vote.
  • Fitz and Cyrus receive a blackmail threat from someone unknown in the form of a sex audiotape with Fitz and an unknown woman; Cyrus believes its Amanda.


Huck quickly determines that Amanda Tanner was kidnapped and gives details as to how, and Olivia asks David Rosen to help look for Amanda. Meanwhile, a plane carrying 120 people, including a U.S. Senator, has crashed leaving no survivors, and Olivia represents the pilot's union! The team has their work cut out for them since the airline indicates they'll be claiming pilot error caused the crash.

The black box recording reveals the final horrifying moments before the crash. The airline has motive to trash the pilot, Lori Mackelson, to save their reputation as well as millions of dollars. The woman's husband assures the team that his wife was an expert pilot who didn't panic. He also reveals that Lori was an alcoholic who had been sober for 20 years, which is bad news since the entire crew was out partying the night before.

A flight attendant confirms that Lori Mackelson was NOT drinking the night before the crash and Olivia lets the world know this. Stephen realizes the last inspection report before the plane crashed was a duplicate and the mechanic's real report stated that there was something wrong with the rudder! Harrison reaches the same conclusion after listening to the black box tape. The CEO of the airline genuinely wants to know what happened, and, as it turns out, the report was doctored by a nice lady who was under pressure to get her paperwork done and she obviously had no idea it would lead to such a tragedy!

Video footage lets Huck know that an old colleague is behind Amanda's disappearance. He goes by Charlie, though that's not his real name. (By the way, "Huck" isn't Huck's real name either.) The conversation that takes place between these two dangerous men ends on a down note and Huck reports to the team that he now knows that Amanda Tanner is dead. This sends Olivia outside to the men who have been keeping her under surveillance. She wants them to let the president she knows what he did.

Amanda Tanner's worried father, Hank, shows up at the office looking for his daughter. Quinn assures him that everything will be okay but this is before she's told Amanda is dead, which leaves her stunned and shaken. The president seems just as surprised when Olivia gives him the news and he assures her that he did not do it. If that's true, then Olivia says he knows who did and that means he's responsible for any action Cyrus may have taken.

Cyrus also wants to take political advantage of the death of the senator who was on plane to get the "Dream Act" passed, a bill that aides immigrants. They have a tie at the moment with the deciding vote to be cast by the vice president, Sally Langston. She doesn't want to vote yes, being a harden christian republican, but Fitz makes it clear that she won't have his support when it's her turn to run for president - which she intends to do - if she isn't a team player now. When the uncomfortable meeting ends, Cyrus lets Fitz know that some unknown party sent them the sex tape as part of a blackmail effort. They've sent a video of Nixon resigning, and Fitz and Cyrus now know their demands.

Olivia reluctantly asks Huck for help finding Amanda's body. This isn't the type of thing he does anymore, as it nearly destroyed him. Nevertheless, Huck is not about to let Olivia down. He ambushes Charlie in his apartment. As much as he hates doing so, he reverts back to his old ways to torture the man into giving him the information he seeks. Once he gets it, Olivia lets David know that he needs to send out a diving team to the 14th Street Bridge. That's the spot where they pull Amanda Tanner's lifeless body from the water.

Many are feeling emotional pain due to recent events. Olivia is also hurting, but still tries to comfort Huck but he doesn't want to be touched because reverting back to his previous ways is a whole different kind of torture for him. In other news, David lets Olivia know that the coroner is going to rule Amanda's death as a suicide although he suspects that Olivia knows more than she's saying. In other news, Olivia receives a call from Stephen. He just found out Amanda was, indeed, pregnant, but the baby wasn't Fitz's.

Olivia barely has time to process this when there's a knock at her front door, and on the other side stands the President of the United States.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast


For a full list of cast/character credits in order as they appeared click here: Crash and Burn Credits


Promotional Photos

→ See and enjoy 12 pictures from Crash and Burn at Images from Crash and Burn.


Promotional Video

Scandal 1x05 "Crash and Burn" Promo (1) HD

Scandal 1x05 "Crash and Burn" Promo (1) HD