Things to Do

6 Degrees of Scandal

Turns out the gladiators (and their enemies) have more in common than Pope & Associates.

Columbus Short starred in the sequel to the movie that provided Kerry Washington her breakout role, Save the Last Dance. Photograph by ABC/Eric McCandless.

Over my two and a half seasons of Scandal watching I’ve noticed a lot of familiar faces pop up in the show’s universe. I knew Liza Weil (Amanda Tanner) as Paris from Gilmore Girls and Scott Foley (Jake Ballard) as the dreamy Noel from Felicity (no offense if you were Team Ben). And I knew Shonda Rhimes liked to reuse actors in her projects, as in the case of Jeff Perry (Cyrus Beene) and Kate Burton (Sally Langston), who played Meredith Grey’s parents on Grey’s Anatomy. But a look at IMDB turned up more overlap than I expected among the various actors’ careers, along with some truly delightful discoveries—such as the fact that Matt Letscher, a.k.a. Psycho Billy Chambers, romanced Catherine Zeta-Jones as the goateed Captain Harrison Love in The Mask of Zorro.

Read on to find out which TV shows boast performances from the most number of Scandal players, as well as some more places the actors’ careers have overlapped and connections with other Washington-set shows. (Know of something I left out? Leave it in the comments!)

Grey’s Anatomy and/or Private Practice

Paul Adelstein (Leo Bergen), Tom Amandes (Governor Reston) Nazanin Boniadi (not yet announced), Dan Bucatinsky (James Novak), Kate Burton (Sally Langston), Scott Foley (Jake Ballard), Katie Lowes (Quinn Perkins), Joshua Malina (David Rosen), Debra Mooney (Verna Thornton), George Newbern (Charlie), Jeff Perry (Cyrus Beene), Liza Weil (Amanda Tanner), Bellamy Young (Mellie Grant)

Law & Order (of any variety)

Paul Adelstein, Khandi Alexander (Maya Lewis), Kate Burton, Henry Ian Cusick (Stephen Finch), Guillermo Diaz (Huck), Scott Foley, Tony Goldwyn (Fitzgerald Grant), Joe Morton (Rowan Pope), Jeff Perry, Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope), Liza Weil, Bellamy Young


Paul Adelstein, Khandi Alexander, Tom Amandes, Gregg Henry (Hollis Doyle), Debra Mooney, Columbus Short, Brenda Song (Alissa)

The West Wing

Kate Burton, Matt Letscher (Billy Chambers), Josh Malina, Jeff Perry, Liza Weil, Bellamy Young


Nazanin Boniadi, Henry Ian Cusick, Darby Stanchfield

Ghost Whisperer

Katie Lowes, George Newbern, Darby Stanchfield, Bellamy Young

They Go Way Back
Lisa Kudrow stars in Web Therapy, which Dan Bucatinsky created.
Tony Goldwyn and Debra Mooney both appeared in episodes of Tales From the Crypt.
Bellamy Young, Paul Adelstein, and Scott Foley all appeared in Scrubs.
Brenda Song and Columbus Short both appeared on That’s So Raven.
Debra Mooney and Guillermo Diaz both appeared in Weeds.
Gregg Henry has been in both Bunheads and Gilmore Girls with Liza Weil.
Darby Stanchfield and Nazanin Boniadi were both on How I Met Your Mother.
Bellamy Young and Darby Stanchfield both appeared in the early 2000s series American Dreams.
George Newbern was in Friends with Lisa Kudrow.

Nazanin Boniadi had an arc on Homeland.
Joe Morton and Matt Letscher both appeared in Brothers & Sisters with The Americans’ Matthew Rhys (along with Scott Foley’s real-life wife, Marika Dominczyk).
Matt Letscher and Sally Pressman (Candy Marcus) both appeared on The New Adventures of Old Christine with Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Debra Mooney appeared in Arrested Development with Veep’s Tony Hale.
Scott Foley was in Felicity with The Americans’ Keri Russell.
Jeff Perry appeared in My So-Called Life with Homeland’s Claire Danes.

If you remember only one thing from this post, let it be this: Not only did Kerry Washington appear in Save the Last Dance as “Chenille” (with the perpetually ageless Bianca Lawson)—but her future right-hand gladiator Columbus Short starred in the sequel.