Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) will attempt to "make a positive impact on the nation" when "Scandal" returns to ABC on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 9 p.m. EDT.
It’s time to break out the white hats, Gladiators. After a summer hiatus, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and associates are returning to ABC for Season 4 of “Scandal.” Get the scoop on the upcoming drama before episode 1 airs at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 25:

1. New Time – “Scandal” is jumping time slots. While the drama aired its first three seasons at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC, the show will be moving up an hour to 9 p.m. EDT. “How To Get Away With Murder,” the new series from “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes, will premiere at the 10 p.m. EDT time slot on Sept. 25.

2. Episode 1 Synopsis – The “Scandal” premiere is titled, “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia.” According to the synopsis the episode will kick off with a two month time jump from the shocking events that occurred in the Season 3 finale. “Everything has changed” between Olivia and Jake (Scott Foley); and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Cyrus (Jeff Perry) are doing whatever they can to “make a positive impact on the nation” with another four years ahead of them.” Meanwhile, the Gladiators are struggling with Olivia’s absence, and Mellie (Bellamy Young) is still having a difficult time dealing with the loss of her son.

3. The Mysterious Season 4 Twist – Olivia may not be in D.C. when “Scandal” kicks off, but she’ll eventually return to get back to “fixing.” However that doesn’t mean that things will return to normal.

“Every season we try to tell this show in a different way, and we’re doing that again this season,” Rhimes dished to TV Line. “There is an organizing principle that brings us back, in a weird way, to more of where we were at the very beginning of the [series].”

3. New Characters – “Scandal” fans will meet a couple new faces in Season 4. E! Online revealed in early September that one of the newcomers will be a character named Bitsy Cooper. Bitsy is described as “an elderly wife to a beloved politician.” Also new this season will be a character called Lawrence Carnahan. Lawrence is said to be a “sweet introvert who’s been in jail for 30 years.”

4. Andrew And Mellie – Andrew (Jon Tenney) and Mellie’s relationship was on fire in Season 3. Those shipping the couple will be happy to learn that the Vice President will reappear in Season 4 and share some scenes with Mellie. But don’t expect an affair between the two to strike up immediately.

“Mellie’s child died and her world blew up – an affair is the last thing on her mind,” Rhimes told TV Line.

5. The Murder Of Jerry Jr. – The death of Fitz and Mellie’s son in Season 3 came as a shock to all. But the biggest jaw dropper in the whole ordeal was who played a part in his murder – Rowan (Joe Morton) and Special Agent Tom (Brian Letscher). “Scandal” fans will remember that Olivia’s dad framed Maya (Khandi Alexander), his terrorist ex-wife, for Jerry Jr.’s (Dylan Minnette) death. Fitz gave Rowan the go ahead to kill Olivia’s mother, however Rowan chose to lock her in the “hole” instead. The President is in the dark about Rowan and Tom’s involvement, but he won’t stay that way for long. Shonda Rhimes confirmed that Fitz will learn the truth by the end of the first half of Season 4.

6. A New First Daughter – Jerry Jr. might be gone, but Fitz and Mellie still have two other children. Madeline Carroll previously portrayed Karen Grant, Mellie and Fitz’s daughter. However the ABC series decided to recast the role for Season 4. Karen Grant will now be played by Mary Mouser of “Body of Proof.” The actress will make her on-screen debut in an October episode.

7. Abby’s History – In Season 3 viewers learned a lot about Harrison’s backstory. This year fans will learn more about Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and her history prior to joining Olivia at Pope & Associates.

8. No Harrison Replacement – The role of Harrison (Columbus Short) will not be recast in Season 4 of “Scandal.” Despite recasting rumors, the show has confirmed that the character was killed off in the Season 3 finale.  

“It’ll be devastating for Abby, but in a surprising way,” Shonda 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.”

9. Huck’s Family – Season 3 of “Scandal” concluded with Huck (Guillermo Diaz) showing up on the doorstep of his ex-wife. But it doesn’t sound like fans will hear much of that storyline in the first few episodes.

“We’re starting to shoot episode 6 and we haven’t really touched on it that much,” Diaz explained to TV Line. “But our show is all about flashbacks, so I’m sure at some point Shonda is going to flash back [to that moment] and we’re going to find out what [happened].”

10. Matthew Del Negro – Matthew Del Negro of “Mistresses” will be jumping to “Scandal” in a recurring role. According to Entertainment Weekly the role is being kept under wraps.

11. Portia de Rossi – “Arrested Development” actress Portia de Rossi is another star whose role is being kept a secret. Her wife, Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter to reveal the news.

12. Sonya Walger – “Lost” alum Sonya Walger is joining the series in a “potentially recurring” role. TV Line teases that her mysterious character might have ties to one of the show’s regulars. Walger’s casting on “Scandal” comes two years after Henry Ian Cusick’s character, Stephen Finch, was written off the show. The actress previously played opposite Cusick on “Lost” as Penny, the love interest of Cusick’s Desmond.

13. Brian Benben – A Shonda Rhimes alum will be making his way to “Scandal” this season. Brian Benben of “Private Practice” will appear in the upcoming fourth season … however his guest-starring role is being kept under wraps.

“Scandal” Season 4 will premiere on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 9 p.m. EDT. What are you looking forward to seeing unfold? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.