"Sweet Baby"
1x01 - Stephen Finch and Olivia Pope 01
Season One
Season 01, Episode 01
Episode Information
Air Date: April 5, 2012
Viewers: 7.33 million
Written by: Shonda Rhimes
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Character Information
Episode Chronology
Previous Episode: "N/A"
Next Episode: "Dirty Little Secrets"

She was going on and on and on about how she thought he'd come and call her "sweet baby" and everything would be fine…

Quinn to Olivia

Sweet Baby is the pilot episode of the ABC drama Scandal.


When a young lawyer - Quinn Perkins - starts a new job at a crisis management firm - Olivia Pope & Associates - she must stay on her toes and keep up with how a crisis management firm works. She must also deal with an accusation against the nation's president on her first day made by a former intern. The newest client of OPA - Sully St. James - stumbles into the office distraught explaining that he didn't kill his girlfriend, but even though Olivia asks for the truth, he still holds out from her. Meanwhile The White House is facing a scandal with the president and an aide. Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene calls in the local "fixer" and former White House employee to help.


Olivia Pope & Associates:
  • The baby of the Ambassador is kidnapped by Russians
  • A war hero becomes a suspect to the murder of his girlfriend
White House:
  • A White House intern is claiming to be having an affair with the President


Quinn Perkins is more than ready to blow off a blind date with Harrison Wright after they meet up at a DC-area bar, but she can't because it isn't exactly a blind date. It's more of a job interview to work for Olivia Pope, the best fixer in Washington. Back with Olivia, the "fixer" is with her associate, Stephen Finch meeting with some scary Russian guys brandishing automatic weapons in an abandoned warehouse. The Russians want six million dollars in exchange for a mystery package. Olivia gives them three along with an explanation of the enormous downside that would come if these bad men mess with her. When Olivia asks if Stephen had proposed to his girlfriend yet he tells her he couldn't because he had to work... for her. Which was just a lame excuse to delay the inevitable question. Back at the offices of Olivia Pope and Associates, Quinn meets the rest of the team. Abby Whelan is a top-notch investigator and Huck is a tech genius who used to be with the CIA. Quinn also learns just what was in that three million dollar package. It's a baby that was kidnapped from a foreign ambassador. The infant is returned to his grateful parents who agree to never mention this to anyone.

Quinn barely has time to catch her breath when Sully St. James staggers into the office with blood on his shirt. He's a well-known war hero-turned-public speaker who says his girlfriend, Paige, has been murdered. Olivia lets Quinn know that their interview with him will determine if he becomes a client. Her gut, however, says Sully is innocent, so they take the case. Olivia persuades the Assistant U.S. Attorney, David Rosen, to give her 24 hours before he charges Sully. The rest of the team works hard to gather info on the case. Things don't look good for their client until Abby learns that Paige used to be a party girl who slept around. One of the men she hooked up with recently claims Sully knew about their relationship. There's motive. More bad news comes when Sully's prints are found on the murder weapon. Still, Sully is adamant he didn't kill Paige and Olivia believes him.

David lets Olivia know that time is up and that Sully is going to be arrested unless they find him alibi. Fortunately, there is one. A street surveillance camera captured Sully during the time of the murder, and he was not alone! He was outside a bar kissing another man. This explains why he kept referring to Paige as his best friend. She knew about his secret-a secret Sully desperately wants to keep. That's why he turns himself in to the police. He'd rather go to prison than have anyone think of him as anything other than a hero. Olivia knows that Sully loves the man he was kissing, and, a short time later, Sully holds a press conference while dressed in full military uniform. He admits to the world that he is proud to be a gay man who served his country. He's cleared of the murder charge and is now free to live his life without secrets. In the middle of all this, Olivia presents Stephen with a selection of engagement rings. She makes him choose one to give to his girlfriend during the dinner date his associates set up and he finally does pop the question after one final pep talk from his boss.

Next, top tier political figure Cyrus Beene asks Olivia to shut down Amanda Tanner, a young White House aide who claims she had a relationship with someone they both know very well. He's talking about President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant, who just happens to be the President of the United States. After looking into the eyes of leader of the free world, Olivia agrees to help and she tracks down Amanda Tanner while she's out walking the dog she claims the president gave her. Quinn watches Olivia lay out the many horrifying repercussions that come with telling lies such as this one. It's a brutal confrontation that leaves Amanda emotionally devastated and Quinn visibly shaken, and back at the office, Huck catches her crying in the ladies room. Amanda shows up at the office demanding that Olivia give the president a message, which the woman refuses, and, a short time later, Amanda is admitted to the hospital after trying to kill herself. Quinn knows all about her boss's gut, but her own gut is saying that this young woman is telling the truth. Olivia begins to believe this once she mentions that Fitz called her "sweet baby." It's an affectionate phrase she's heard before.

Olivia meets with the president in the Oval Office. They duck away from the view of the overhead cameras to speak freely. We learn that Olivia and Fitz had more than a professional relationship in the past. The president corners her saying he loves her and then he kisses her. They are interrupted when a surprised Cyrus enters the room because not even the president's right hand man knew about this particular affair! Olivia is completely rattled, but she later tells Cyrus to let the president know that Amanda Tanner just became her newest client.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast


Olivia & Associates explaining to Quinn Perkins how OPA is not a law firm.

Olivia: We're not a law firm; we're lawyers but this is not a law firm.
Stephen: Law firms are for pansies.
Olivia: We solve problems...
Abby: Mange crises, save reputations.

Olivia continues to explain to Quinn how their crisis management firm works.

Olivia: First we interview Sully. … We listen to him. We watch him. … In this moment we are the judge and we are the jury, the media and the public opinion. … This is the moment where we decide who he is. … My vote always comes down to my gut, my gut tells me everything I need to know. … Next I set the rules. … Then I warn them, I always warn them.

Harrison explaining more to Quinn about how things work.

Harrison: Now, look the reason we’re not a law firm is we don’t have to play with the rules of the law. We’re fixers, we’re crisis managers. We make the problems of our client, big or small go away. It’s not about solving a crime. It’s not about justice. It’s about our client.

Quinn telling Olivia why she thinks Amanda Tanner is telling the truth.

Olivia: Tell me why?
Quinn: Okay. She tried to kill herself, but she didn’t want to die. She called you right after she did it, because she wanted him to find out she was hurt and come see her.
Olivia: Quinn!
Quinn: She was going on and on and on about how she thought he'd come and call her "sweet baby" and everything would be fine…. (interrupted by Olivia)

"Fixer" Speeches

  • Olivia to Vlad — bartering to get an Ambassador's child back
"Nyet! What's going to happen is you and Vlad are going to take the three million and leave right now for Dulles to make your flight to the motherland. The reason you're gonna want to go right now, besides the fact that it's just good travel sense to give yourself enough time for international check-in, is in exactly four hours and 15 minutes both of your names are gonna suddenly pop-up on Homeland Security's "No-Fly" list. Lucky for you, you're booked on a flight that leaves in two-and-a-half hours. So if were me, I'd much rather spend $3 million in Kiev, than here in Georgetown, way more bang for your buck. In fact it may even feel like six once you're there.
"We may never know who killed Paige. This isn’t about you not going to jail for Paige’s murder; this is about you not living a lie. Sully I saw that kiss, you love that man, whoever he is, you love him. You’ve been living with a secret for a really long time. I know what that’s like I honestly do; and you think you’re doing it for the right reasons, you think you’re doing it for your country and for the people who look up to you. But the thing is who you are who you love, that shouldn’t be a secret; it shouldn’t have to be a secret should it?"

Notes & Trivia

  • Filming for this episode began on March 8, 2011.
  • The very first scene filmed for the episode was the scene where Olivia, Quinn and Amanda Tanner are in a hospital and it was filmed on the set of Grey's Anatomy.


→ See and enjoy 35 pictures from Sweet Baby at Images from Sweet Baby.

Promotional Video

Scandal 1x01 Series Premiere ABC Promo

Scandal 1x01 Series Premiere ABC Promo