"Paris is Burning"
5x03 - Elizabeth North and Abby
Season Five
Season 05, Episode 03
Episode Information
Air Date: October 08, 2015
Viewers: 8.76 million
Written by: Matt Byrne
Directed by: Jann Turner
Character Information
Character Development:
Relationship Stories:
Episode Chronology
Previous Episode: "Yes"
Next Episode: "Dog-Whistle Politics"

Paris is Burning is the third episode of the fifth season of Scandal, and is the seventy-second overall.


Olivia and Fitz face some very big consequences and Mellie brings in an old friend to make sure she gets her way. Meanwhile, Abby shows Olivia she is fully capable of handling working at the White House.


5x03 - Olivia, Abby, Elizabeth and Fitz 01

Abby rushes through the halls of the White House. She orders the president’s secretary to assemble his Secret Service detail pronto. Fitz and Mellie are just beginning an interview to deny the allegations of an affair. Secret Service agents burst into the room. They shuffle Fitz and Mellie away. Abby explains that she needed to stop the interview. Why? Well, Olivia Pope just told the world that she’s the president’s mistress. When Olivia shows up at the White House, Fitz declares that they should tell the truth. Mellie is flabbergasted. Abby is unsettled. Fitz and Olivia, on the other hand, actually seem happy as they make out behind closed doors. Another interested party, Cyrus Beene, has been called in to advise Virginia’s newest senator on what to do next—on what she wants. What she wants just happens to be the Oval Office. Elizabeth lets Fitz know that Cyrus is acting as his wife’s advocate for the negotiations. One demand is that the president support Mellie’s bid to win the White House. There are some other requests involving discretion that Cyrus asks Abby, not Elizabeth, to deliver to his old boss. This leads to confrontation between Olivia and Abby, who feels betrayed.

Jake puts the kibosh on Huck’s plan to erase the Internet. It would have been cool, but he has a better idea. He’d much rather polish off a big bottle of vodka and watch the world end. A short time later, Jake gets a call from Olivia, who says she may have made a mistake. Cyrus is beaming as he presents a written agreement giving the first lady everything she could want out of the situation. Mellie thumbs through the document before ultimately saying no. Cyrus is told that he’s become soft. This sends him into the Oval Office to tell Fitz that he needs to take Mellie back. Olivia meets up with Mellie while she’s searching for some hidden hooch. They have a frank conversation. Mellie lets Liv in on the life she’s in store for as she stands next to the president. She also tells her that any additional hooch she may happen to dig up in the White House can be considered her parting gift.

Olivia advises Fitz to take Mellie back. They can wait 18 months until he’s done his term. Later, Fitz apologizes to Mellie for how he’s treated her over the years. He then thanks her for getting him where he is. Fitz lets her know that she is going to be the first woman to be President of the United States. He also agrees with her when she says she thought they’d grow old together. Olivia apologizes to Abby for lying. She lets her know that she thinks she’s very good at her job. Elsewhere, Cyrus lets Fitz know that Mellie will do the interview with him. He also wants his old job back. Fitz sternly tells Cyrus that he does not work here anymore. He can go now. So, Cyrus goes…straight to Mellie.

5x03 - Fitz Grant and Olivia Pope 01

Cyrus tells Mellie she got played by the greatest politician in the world. Moments later, Fitz approaches her. Mellie has flashbacks of all that she’s gone through over the years. She stops just short of the interview room. She turns to Fitz with an incredulous look. She tells him he almost had her before fleeing down the hall. The Louvre is on fire! Nobody cares! The only things being covered by the news is the lack of comment from the White House about a presidential affair. Fitz wants to do the interview solo. That’s not going to work. Abby wants to fix this. Olivia tells Fitz he should let her do just that. Abby makes a beeline to the White House briefing room. Olivia lets Fitz know that she’s going to throw her under the bus. It’s their only move. Olivia orders Fitz to sit down and let this happen. She wants him to watch her choose him. A short distance away, Abby trashes Olivia’s reputation. Even further away, Mellie and Cyrus drive away from the White House. Even further than that, in prison to be specific, Papa Pope watches his daughter’s plight play out on the news. Jake lets him know there are other stories out there, too. The Louvre is on fire. This piques Rowan’s interest. It’s obvious that this incident means a lot more than just lost artwork.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast


For a full list of cast/character credits in order as they appeared click here: Paris is Burning Credits

Long Speeches & Rants

"You don't get to say what you don't want, not in here. Your wants, your needs Nobody cares anymore. All that matters from now on is him. You will make so many sacrifices and compromises. You won't even feel like a real person anymore. You will be unrecognizable. You think you're gonna be able to keep that little business of yours up and running - that group of thugs you got working for you? What, you're gonna find a place for them here on your staff in the White House? I don't think so. You forfeit all that the moment he takes your hand and presents you to the world. You get dropped in a cage, and you are trapped. The amount of bile you will force yourself to choke down. But like I said, that's what this here liquid gold is for."  

 Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope


  • The table read for this episode took place on August 8, 2015.

Promotional Photos

→ See and enjoy 70 pictures from Paris is Burning at Images from Paris is Burning.


Behind the Scenes

Promotional Videos

Episode Clip