SCANDAL: Jeff Perry Reflects on How Badly Cyrus’ Honey-Trap Backfired (2013)


It is said that politics makes strange bed-fellows, but truly Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) never expected that it would be a literal prophecy. In the drama series SCANDAL, the third season has taken an unexpected detour as we have seen how horrifically political maneuvering can destroy marriages, friendships and personal relationships. As the White House Chief of Staff, it is Cyrus’ job to always be in control of all the behind-the-scenes schemes and do everything to protect the President and keep him in office. Yet in Cyrus’ haste to quash Vice President Sally Langston’s (Kate Burton) independent bid for the presidency, he out-maneuvered himself — Cyrus put his own husband unwittingly in a “honey trap” and once James (Dan Bucatinsky) realized it, he turned the tables on Cyrus and took the honey-trap too far.

As of this last episode, Cyrus had quite a big storyline blowup in his face. What fall-out can we expect from Cyrus pushing James into a situation where James may have cheated on Cyrus?
JEFF: I’ve always imagined that the minute we cut away from Cyrus’ anguish over those photos that there is a railroad train of dread washing over him of, “Oh wow, these are photos of consensual adultery. It can’t really be spun any other way. They may be useless in having any leverage over keeping Sally in the fold. If I can’t keep Sally in the fold, I can’t get Fitz reelected.” And simultaneously, he’s thinking, “I may have screwed my marriage, and who is the architect of this who plan? This grave miscalculation? This backfiring? It was me.” Cyrus is horrified and disoriented. All I can tease about what happens is that he is in a kind of twisting hell, which you would imagine.

Is Cyrus going to want to keep it to himself that he knows about it, or is he going to confront James about it?
JEFF: (Laughs) That’s why it is going to be incredibly fun to watch the next two episodes.


Can you possibly say what is Cyrus’ priority: his marriage or getting Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) reelected?
JEFF: They are simultaneous and fundamental priorities. That’s why he’s so screwed.

Are you going to be satisfied the choice Cyrus makes, if he chooses one or the other? Or will you be just as frustrated with him as we are?
JEFF: (Laughs) As an actor, I’m just in heaven with any exquisite, horrible problem that Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers create because that is kind of what actors live for. But in Cyrus-empathy, I’m just trying to honor the horror and disorientation and dread and not knowing how to rebound and fix this. Cyrus is a man built for fixing things, like Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) built for it and Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) built for it. I’m thinking this is a gigantic mistake with such reverberations that he doesn’t know quite what to do — and that’s rare for Cyrus.

Cyrus is normally in complete control and can see all the angles, but this situation seems to have blind-sided him a bit. And he also seems to have taken his eye off the situation with what is going on with the Popes: Olivia, her dad, and now her mom’s back in the picture. Is that situation even on Cyrus’ radar?
JEFF: Outside of knowing the Rowan (Joe Morton) is the scariest animal on the planet in Cyrus’ universe, I think Cyrus’ eye is kind of off-the-ball. But the audience knows more about that than Cyrus does.

But surely Cyrus is aware that the Remington problem could be brewing just as Fitz’s reelection is heating up and he should be paying attention.
JEFF: Yeah, he should be, but he is kind of not able to contain that as a priority right now.

So will we see Cyrus spiraling out a little bit? It seems again like he has lost such control.
JEFF: Hmmm, what can I say? He’s pretty much in exquisite hell.

Another thing that has cropped up is Charlie (George Newbern). That’s Cyrus’ go-to-guy. He uses Charlie for all his dirty work. But Charlie has been working with Papa Pope. He’s recruited Quinn and that’s making a mess in Olivia’s world — who Fitz and Cyrus wanted on their side for the reelection campaign. So Cyrus seems to have lost control of his people and everything that is going on right now. Is he going to lash out at Charlie as we’ll?
JEFF: Rowan in the rose garden made it very clear to Cyrus that Charlie was off limits and Cyrus remembers that. Warnings and threats from Rowan are deeply considered by Cyrus. (Laughs)

With Mellie and Cyrus working on the same side right now and they have been kind of getting along, does that bode for bad things ahead or are they going to keep playing nice for the sake of the reelection?
JEFF: As far as I know, Cyrus and Mellie are joined at the hip right now. They are going to get Fitz reelected — somehow, someway. So for the moment, they are BFF’s.

To see if Cyrus completely loses his mind and control over the reelection because he failed to see how far people would go to evade his schemes and retaliate against him, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of SCANDAL on Thursday, December 5th at 10:00 pm on ABC. Cyrus’ personal hell has only just begun. More information about SCANDAL can be found at

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