The gladiators are back! “Scandal” is set to return to ABC for its fourth season on Thursday, Sept. 25. But fans might need a little refresher before the new season kicks off – especially since one major character will be missing in the premiere.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
For those who may have missed it, Harrison (Columbus Short) was killed off of “Scandal.” In the Season 3 finale, Harrison figured out that Maya Pope (Khandi Alexander) wasn’t the one responsible for killing Fitz’s(Tony Goldwyn) son, Jerry Jr. (Dylan Minnette). Piecing the clues together after Rowan (Joe Morton) was reinstated as Command for B613, Harrison came to the conclusion that Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) father was behind the whole ordeal.
Rowan was the mastermind behind the murder plot. He previously promised Olivia that he wouldn’t hurt a hair on Fitz’s head … however he also wanted revenge on the President for taking his child. Because Fitz took Olivia, Rowan took Jerry Jr. With Secret Service Agent Tom (Brian Letscher) still loyal to him and B613, Rowan stole a vial of rare form of bacterial meningitis. Tom used his position to prick Jerry Jr. with the bacteria before joining Fitz on stage for his final campaign speech. The bacteria killed Jerry Jr. almost instantly.
Needless to say, Rowan and Tom weren’t willing to let Harrison walk away with the knowledge of their involvement in the murder of the President’s son. The Season 3 finale of “Scandal” closed out with Tom pointing a gun at Harrison.
“Scandal” viewers didn’t see Harrison get shot, however the character’s death was confirmed by the actor after the finale aired. Columbus Short released the following statement in late April:
“At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble on television today. I would like to first thank [creator] Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the ‘Scandal’ series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful.”
Columbus Short’s confirmed departure from the series came a couple weeks after a bar fight and domestic violence charges. He was accused of threatening his wife, Tanee Short, in early April. TMZ reported that the actor allegedly “put a knife to her throat” and “threatened to kill her and himself.” Tanee Short filed a report saying that her husband was intoxicated and attacked her after accusing her of cheating on him. In July, Columbus Short was arrested in Dallas, Texas for public intoxication after getting into a fight with security at a bar.
The legal trouble with Short sparked rumors that his character hadn’t been killed off of “Scandal” – but instead would be recast. Deadline reported in May that “World War Z” actor Eric West would be replacing Columbus Short as Harrison. However the report turned out to be a hoax.
“I’ve never heard of Eric West,” Shonda Rhimes tweeted after the hoax went viral. “Harrison is not being recast EVER. How about reporters CHECK THEIR SOURCES before running with a story?”
Harrison’s death will be addressed in the Season 4 premiere of “Scandal,” which picks up approximately two months after the events in the Season 3 finale. While Olivia ran off with Jake (Scott Foley)and might not be aware of Harrison’s absence, Abby (Darby Stanchfield) will reportedly have a hard time dealing with the loss.
“It’ll be devastating for Abby, but in a surprising way,” Rhimes revealed to TV Guide. “I think you’ll see how she’s coping with it in a very different way than you would expect.”