‘Scandal’s’ Dan Bucatinsky Talks Show’s ‘Subversive’ Gay Relationship

The Emmy winner discusses his explosive on-screen marriage and where the ABC drama starts off for Season 3

From left, Jeff Perry as Cyrus, Dan Bucatinsky as James. (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Emmy-winning “Scandal” star Dan Bucatinsky plays one-half of the ABC drama’s most explosive couple – aside from Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and President Grant (Tony Goldwyn), of course.

In “Scandal,” the marriage of James (Bucatinsky) and White House Chief of Staff, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) is filled with danger, frustration and manipulation. Gay marriage itself is not an issue on Shonda Rhimes’ DC-set series.

“The issue is not really our right to be married or our right to have children,” Bucatinsky told TheWrap. “That’s taken as a given. And in doing so, it allows the drama of the actual scene and situation to come through without an agenda. In that way it’s subversive in itself.”

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Bucatinsky credits “Scandal’s” writers for creating a world that treats James and Cyrus’ marriage just like any other relationship on the series. “It’s such a heightened world and I think it’s so brilliantly written,” he said.

The episode that nabbed Bucatinsky the Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama series was Season 2’s Episode 13, which featured a heated argument between James and Cyrus that left them both naked in the end.

“Shonda and the team of writers wrote these little one-act plays in the middle of these episodes in Season 2 that Jeff Perry and I were so lucky to be able to perform,” he said. “They’re personal and they’re deep and they’re profound and they’re heart-wrenching and they make us naked and vulnerable and yet mean to each other, we run the gamut.”

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When the series returns on Thursday, it picks up right where the series left off and delves right into the surprise cliffhanger at the end of Season 2.

“There’s going to be a huge preoccupation with who leaked the information about the president’s affair,” he said. “It’s going to be huge in the first couple episodes for Mellie [Bellamy Young] and Cyrus. Once again, we’re back in an extremely fraught, emotionally tense episode that’s just as heart pounding as the one before it where they’re literally trying to stop a leak. Who did it? What happened? And how will they quote, unquote ‘handle it.’”

“Scandal” returns Thursday at 10/9c on ABC.