'Scandal' cast reflects on 7-season run ahead of series finale

NEW YORK (WABC) -- After seven seasons, the story of Olivia Pope and the Gladiators is drawing to a close.

One original member of the "Scandal" cast describes the end of the series as a mixture of joy and sadness -- sad because it meant saying goodbye to colleagues and the end of a great job, but joy the comes from the satisfaction of knowing the job had been done so well.

"This whole journey changed my life," said Bellamy Young, who was hired for three episodes but stayed through all seven seasons. "And there wasn't a day I didn't think about that."

She played Mellie Grant, the first lady trapped in a love triangle with Olivia Pope, the star of the show, and President Fitz. But by the end, Mellie Grant is president and Pope is her ally.

"They literally take hands and go over the cliff together," Young said. "They pledge their fidelity, and they have to trust each other."

Judy Smith, a real Washington, DC, crisis manager, inspired Shonda Rhimes to create "Scandal" and hire Kerry Washington to play a fictionalized fixer.

"All the drugs in the world could not make my brain as creative as the writers on our show," Washington said in 2015. "They are just out of this world, and I love it because we get to be consistently shocked and awed episode after episode, season after season."

The last shot of the series takes place in the offices of Olivia Pope and Associates, where the cast gathered to be together. Only Scott Foley was absent, and he FaceTimed from a film location.

"When they called the last cut, of course, there were tears, but there was also so much pride and love and joy at having really done something together," Young said. "It was like 3 in the morning. We stayed there until 4 in the morning, drinking and talking and hugging and crying, and it was just huge. It was a really huge moment."

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