*Warning* – The following Episode Guide contains spoilers and recaps on each episode.
Episode 1 – “Sweet Baby” (recap courtesy of ABC.com)
Original airdate: April 5, 2012
SUMMARY– Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) is more than ready blow off blind date Harrison Wright (Columbus Short) after they meet up at a DC-area bar. The problem is this isn’t a blind date. It’s a job interview. Okay, it’s not a job interview either. Quinn’s already got the gig if she wants it. Harrison says she’ll have a crap salary, but will be one of the good guys-a gladiator in a suit. That’s because Quinn will be working for the best fixer in Washington. She’s just been hired by Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington).
Olivia asks her associate, Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cusick), if he proposed to his girlfriend yet. It seems like an odd time to inquire about such a thing as they are 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. They have a deal. Oh, and the answer is no. Stephen has yet to pop the question.
Back at the offices of Olivia Pope and Associates, Quinn meets the rest of the team. Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield) is a top-notch investigator. Huck (Guillermo Diaz) is a tech genius who used to be with the CIA. He doesn’t like to talk about the old days. 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 says Sully is innocent, so they take the case. Why? Because Olivia’s gut is never wrong.
Olivia persuades the U.S. Attorney, David, 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. She was his best friend. Olivia believes him.
U.S. Attorney David lets Olivia know that time is up. 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. He wasn’t 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. It’s 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.
Smack-dab in the middle of the case, 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. Actually, we get the sense Abby wasn’t part of these plans. Judging by the way she looks at Stephen, we’re thinking she’d prefer he remain a single guy. As for the proposal, Stephen finally does pop the question after one final pep talk from his boss.
Olivia knows that Sully loves the man he was kissing. He shouldn’t have to keep that a secret. He shouldn’t have to hide who he is. As 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. He’s also now free to live his life without secrets.
Top tier political figure Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) 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 Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn), 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. Her gut is never wrong, right?
Olivia tracks down Amanda Tanner while she’s out walking the dog she claims the president gave her. Quinn watches her new boss 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. Back at the office, Huck catches the new girl crying in the ladies room. That’s not something they do there. He says Olivia fixes things, including the people in her office.
Amanda shows up at the office demanding that Olivia give the president a message. That’s not going to happen. 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. Then he kisses her. Their embrace is interrupted when a surprised Cyrus enters the room. Not even the president’s right hand man knew about this particular affair. Olivia is completely rattled. She later tells Cyrus to let the president know that Amanda Tanner just became her newest client.