Villain Protagonist: In all honesty, Olivia is actually this. She is the protagonist and she did agree to have the election rigged so that Fitz would win and become President of the United States. By the end of season 2, it will all come back to haunt her.
Woobie: Season 3 seems to just be an experiment in how far she can be pushed before she breaks. Losing Jake, twice, finding out both her father and her mother are BigBads, and the increasing awareness she and Fitz will never be together are causing her to become a walking shell.
Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield)
I would gladly follow you over a cliff, but you gotta show up.
Dating Catwoman: In season two, she sleeps with David Rosen mainly to distract him from his investigation into Pope and Associates. Then she starts falling for him - before Harrison fakes her into believing David is an abuser, triggering her into leaving him. The truth is revealed, but they do not reunite until season 3, becoming the show's Beta Couple.
Domestic Abuse: The victim thereof, and what brings her to Olivia's attention (and eventually team).
The Resenter: "Seven Fifty-Two" reveals Abby is starting to resent Olivia for the debt she owes her, regarding her divorce from Charles. Abby wonders if that debt cost her a chance to be genuinely happy with David.
You took in a wild monster and you groomed me and petted me and trained me to sit at your feet, but that doesn't make me puppy, Liv. That just makes me a very loyal monster.
A former marine and CIA official who now works as the technical support in Olivia's firm. He is extremely loyal to Olivia and, while his CIA training led him to enjoy hurting people (and made him very good at it), he tries to avoid doing so, and attends AA meetings to try to cope with this.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Just one of the many skills "the Agency" (presumably the CIA) taught him. The Agency also taught him to enjoy it, a fact which horrifies him.
Is the victim of it when he is thought to be the shooter that tried to kill the president. And we learn that he was kept in a dark hole for two months in order to make him forget about his wife and baby.
Hidden Depths: Huck's dossier is apparently thicker than most spy novels, most of it is redacted, but he has CIA/espionage/military training as an assassin and Olivia trusts him to break a dictator's wife and children out of the embassy with only five minutes' leeway. He's also spent time homeless and suffering from PTSD, begging on the DC subway, which is when Olivia found him. He also falls for a woman he thinks is a fellow addict, but she turns out to be a spy and assassin like him.
Madness Mantra : "Seven fifty two". The hour at which he met his son again, while he was homeless in the metro.
Retired Badass: He does not want to hurt people anymore. This does not mean he does not still enjoy doing so.
Retired Monster: According to him, especially considering B6-13 trained him to effectively and thoroughly torture people and very much enjoy it. He says as much to Olivia during a somewhat What the Hell, Hero? speech that informs Olivia that she is his Kid with the Leash.
Huck: “No, you went too far.”
Olivia: “Excuse me?”
Huck: “You took in a wild monster, and you groomed me and petted me and trained me to sit at your feet. But that doesn’t make me a puppy, Liv, that just makes me a very loyal monster. So I didn't go too far, I went exactly as far as my leash allows. And you hold the leash."
Secret Secret Keeper: In "Blown Away" he says to Olivia, "Do I tell you who to love? No! So don't tell me!" This strongly implies he knows about Olivia and Fitz, and never told Olivia.
Face Monster Turn: From baby-faced newbie to torture-obsessed spy in less than three seasons!
Fake Defector: Maybe. She deliberately let herself be seen on one of Huck's security cameras taking the Daniel Douglas file. Whether she's faking or just wants to keep OPA "in the loop" remains to be seen.
Hidden Depths: Her real name isn't Quinn, and she didn't exist in that identity until two years ago. Not only is her name falsified, but it's stated that agents from all corners of the US government have warrants for her real identity. As season two reveals: her real name is Lindsay Dwyer, she was framed for a bombing that killed seven people, and the conspiracy surrounding why stretches to not only Olivia, but the Supreme Court, the First Lady, the president's most trusted adviser, and the national security of the United States.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Uses it in the Season Two finale when Huck freezes up. This may be one of the things that triggers Olivia to focus more on her employees, although it's not clear if she knows about it.
The Mole: Briefly becomes this for B613 after a complicated series of events leads to her unknowingly murdering a watchman on video camera. However, Huck quickly finds her out. He apparently tortures her, but a series of flashbacks at the end of "YOLO" reveals that it's more complicated than that. It's not yet clear how this is going to play out.
Turns out, she didn't take Huck's torture well. She quits working with the team and finds new employment by joining B6-13 for real.
You must really hate me for falling in love with you.
The President of the United States of America and Olivia's lover. He is a popular president overall, in large part due to Olivia's work in his campaign and presidency. Currently serving his second term in office.
Mellie: Every married couple alive pretends. They pretend they don't hate their in-laws or their husband's stupid jokes or their wife's laugh or that they don't actually love one of their children more than the others. Marriage is, well, it's almost all pretend. For everyone. That's the reality. That's what's real. Buying into the delusion that there's any other way to live together, to get through an entire life together, that's, well that's the fantasy. That's pretending.
Fitz: Did I do this to you? Or have you always been like this? Because if it was me, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Sympathetic Adulterer: Or not. She had chances with Andrew Nichols, Fitz's former lieutenant governor, but turned him down.
Until she started having an affair with him, that is.
The Woobie: The layers of bitch fall away every now and then, especially once it was revealed she was raped by Fitz's father. And she attempted suicide over it a year later. She was saved by Andrew Nichols, Fitz's lieutenant governor at the time.
Trauma Conga Line: By "YOLO" and "A Door Marked Exit," it's clear the show is trying to break him as much as it's trying to break Olivia. He now seems to believe he is literally the devil. having his husband cheat on him, then realizing he was indirectly responsible for murder can do that to a man.
And now his husband is dead, unintentionally via a favor that Cyrus himself called in.
Camp Gay: While an exceptional journalist, James is also quite fixated on the idea of having a "fat, smushy baby" and, in a flashback to the early days after Fitz's election, excuses himself to make wedding plans after he and Cyrus are newly engaged.
Dating Catwoman: What counts more as a journalist's enemy than a politician behind a massive conspiracy and cover-up? Especially when he contemplates putting a hit out on you.
House Husband: James quit his job some time before the series began because his husband promised him a baby. Unfortunately for Cyrus, he didn't deliver, which led to James returning to his work.
Killed Off for Real: By Jake, after Cyrus asked Jake to assist in handling the coverup of the murder of Sally Langston's husband. And this is right after James decided he wasn't going to help David expose his husband.
Mistaken for Cheating: While investigating the vote-rigging Conspiracy, the lies about his location and the frequent calls from David Rosen make his husband think he's having an affair.
Sympathetic Adulterer - When he realizes that his husband Cyrus set him up to be an unwitting Honey Trap for Sally Langston's husband, he decides to actually go through with it and sleeps with him. Partially because he's learned how morally bankrupt his husband actually is and what he has done and also because he cannot believe that Cyrus set him up like that.
Really Gets Around: Before he dated his husband, James was (to quote his husband) "a bit of a slut". Which Cyrus found quite appealing.
The former Vice President of the United States, a religious conservative. She and President Grant had a tenuous relationship, since he mostly offered her the VP spot to appeal to the religious right while she mostly accepted for the sake of his endorsements in future endeavors. Cyrus and Olivia both dislike her. Eventually split from the administration to run against Fitz.
Well, technically she already knew he was gay. It was the cheating on her part - and the fact that it was with the husband of her main rival at the White House, no less, who's a reporter and could bring it up in an article if he chose - that really upset her. That and the fact that he implied in their final argument that she never would have gotten anywhere in her political career without him.
Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher)
Initially chief of staff to Vice President Sally Langston.
The Bus Came Back: After roughly a season of not being seen, is revealed towards the end of season two to have been "Albatross", a mole that has been causing the Grant administration problems for most of the season.
Armor-Piercing Question - When Olivia is berating her for hiring an assassin to kill the president, and implies that Verna did it to avoid implicating herself in the election rigging, Verna throws her argument back in her face.
Verna: "Then turn me in. Go ahead. You're such a pillar of courage, go over to Justice and tell them I shot the president....except you can't, can you?"
The Conspiracy: Is a member of one. See the trope entry on the main page for details.
Politically Incorrect Villain: He repeatedly refers to both Cyrus and his husband, James Novak, as each being the other's "wife". Cyrus is not amused.
B 613 Affiliates
Jake Ballard (Scott Foley)
A naval officer who seems to be particularly close to the President, he is also introduced as a romantic interest of Olivia's in the latter half of the second season. Grant assigns him to spy on and protect Olivia from various threats.
Hidden Depths: He was involved in something called "Operation Remington" with Fitz Grant during the first Gulf War. At the start of the third season, Cyrus had to get his security clearance raised to read about it. It horrified him.
Not So Different: Olivia calls him as much by comparing him to her father, who he inherited Command from.
Jake Ballard's current and Huck's former boss, he is also implied to be the head of the CIA's classified B613 program. His actual name was not given for much of the series. However, the season two finale has Cyrus refer to him as "Roland" and reveals that he is Olivia Pope's father. Season Three gives him the nickname "Eli" and the complete name of "Rowan Pope". Not that this is a surprise, given B613 members tend to use assumed names.
The Chains of Commanding - He gives a speech to Olivia about this, saying that the number of people he's responsible for ordering the deaths of weighs on him every day.
"183. That is the number of people I am responsible for killing... I always suffered a bit with each one. The responsibility of that - the gravity of that, the weight of it - It marks me, it stains me, it never leaves me. I am responsible."
"When I say the word 'fire,' I am employing a euphemism."
Good All Along: Or at least not completely evil. It turns out at the end of "YOLO" that the case against Olivia's mother was not fabricated.
Evil Versus Evil - Jake outright tells Olivia that just because her mother was the true villain does not mean that her father is good; he is still a bad guy, and is still the man who did horrible things to him and Huck.