Darby Stanchfield, who has played Abby Whelan on "Scandal" for six seasons now, would do anything to be able to know what really goes on in the writers' room.
As she explained to AOL Entertainment during a recent sit down, the scene-stealing actress isn't sure which aspects of her DC-based show are intended to be a reflection of our contentious political climate and which are simply coincidental.
"It's a really exciting time for creators on TV to grapple with that very question," Stanchfield said when we asked her about her show's approach to tackling politics in 2017. "That's some of the fun of getting to be someone like Shonda Rhimes: You get to explore themes that may or may not reflect real life. But I always want to be a fly on the wall in the writers' room. It's like, 'Is this just a coincidence, or is it a parallel?'"
Though it was recently announced that "Scandal" would be ending after seven seasons, Stanchfield has enjoyed her time with Rhimes (the show's creator), who she called "very collaborative."
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A couple of seasons ago, Abby's left Olivia Pope & Associates to join the White House administration as Press Secretary, and she recently reached the "peak" of her professional career as President Grant's right-hand woman. As she explained to us, Stanchfield was particularly pleased with the writing when it came to Abby's relationship with Fitz because of what wasn't included.
"I love that they didn't particularly jump into bed together," she told us of Abby and Fitz. "It would've been such an easy thing to write, because that's such a common theme [in television]. I love the way the writers treated it. It was an unexpected partnership, and she sort of becomes his work wife, which I loved."
Stanchfield's six years on "Scandal" has led her to some memorable experiences offscreen, as well. She recently traveled to Indonesia to visit Pure Leaf's awe-inspiring tea estates for a closer look at how their teas are made and manufactured. It was an experience that she called "incredibly moving."
"I had no idea what I was getting into," she told us about her trip, which was the subject of the documentary Journey with a Tea Master. "It was incredibly moving for me. I kept getting choked up, because I was so taken aback by the beauty and true care of it. I had no idea that the quality of tea had so much to do with how carefully you picked the tea leaf and how you treated it when you're blending and drying and rolling it. So, to get to see it from the very seed all the way up to the bottling process was amazing. I was just so overcome that it was a true art, and there was so much craftsmanship involved."
Stanchfield credits her Alaskan roots for giving her adequate preparation for the refreshingly rustic experience.
"That's why it was a good fit," she said with a laugh. "We were out in such a remote place, and the elements, the earth, the weather are all larger than life. I felt immediately at home."
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