Olivia worked tirelessly to get justice for a 17-year-old black child shot and killed by a white Washington DC police officer on Scandal’s most timely episode, “The Lawn Chair.”

Scandal 4×14 “The Lawn Chair” Recap:

The episode began with Jake (Scott Foley) trying to convince Liv (Kerry Washington) to talk to someone – a therapist or a “war buddy” – to help her through her recent kidnapping experience, but she brushes him off and tells him she’s at home resting. Of course, Olivia Pope is doing nothing of the sort. Instead, she’s on her way to a crime scene where a neighborhood has gathered to confront police after a white officer shot and killed a local 17-year-old black man, Brandon. The cops called Olivia in to see if she could help control the optics of the situation – the police chief wants to avoid a riot at all costs.

Liv has barely arrived when Brandon’s father (Courtney B Vance) emerges onto the scene carrying a shot gun and demanding to see the cop who killed his son. Liv convinces the police not to shoot the grieving father – the crowd is no doubt armed with cell phones and the cops don’t want that kind of press. Instead, she approaches him and tries to reason with him. Neighborhood activist, Marcus Walker (Cornelius Smith Jr.), a community organizer and friend of the family’s, however, encourages Brandon’s father to stand his ground. If they want justice, he says, they will have to demand it. He sets Brandon’s father up with a lawn chair, placed directly over Brandon’s body, so that his father can protect his son’s body until the cops comply with his demands. In an effort to contain the situation, Liv promises Brandon’s father that she will get the US Attorney General down there to oversee the investigation and ensure the police act within the law to get to the truth. She loses the man’s faith when she fails to come through on her promise.

Meanwhile, Attorney General David Rosen (Joshua Malina) is busy meeting with the President (Tony Goldwyn) and Cyrus (Jeff Perry) to determine what their options are for replacing Vice President Andrew. They have two options: either impeach Andrew, which would cause a lot of drama for the country and the party, or they can quietly appoint a replacement and hope nobody challenges them (due to Andrew’s stroke, it’s unlikely they would face any opposition). Cyrus wants to appoint someone who could really make a difference, not just a haircut who can smile and wave, but Fitz promised Mellie (Bellamy Young) she’d be next in line to run for President, so he wants to elect somebody boring.

Liv Tries To Prevent A Riot

Unable to do much at the crime scene, Liv goes to the police and meets with Officer Newton (Michael Welch), the officer who shot Brandon. Newton claims that Brandon matched the description of a man who had stolen a cell phone from a nearby store and that he was walking around carrying a brand new phone in his hands. Newton says he stopped Brandon and asked about the phone, but Brandon refused to cooperate and eventually reached down into his pocket to get a knife, prompting Newton to shoot. The only issue with the story is that a knife hadn’t been found because the police have been unable to inspect the crime scene. Liv accepts Newton’s story, but gets Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Huck (Guillermo Díaz) to work on finding any kind of surveillance footage they can to get the real story.

The next morning, Liv returns to the crime scene and tries, once again, to bond with Brandon’s father. Unfortunately for her, tensions are escalating and the police are getting restless. But, Brandon’s father stands firm in his position. Liv isn’t having better luck with Marcus the activist, who is leading the crowd in a chant against the police. Marcus challenges Liv’s loyalty, pointing out (accurately) that she’s being paid by the Washington police and accusing her of betraying her race by working tirelessly to get a “white Republican elected President.”

After a particularly harrowing exchange with Brandon’s father, Liv goes back to David Rosen and begs for his help. She finally breaks down about her ordeal, confessing that she feared for her life every second she was gone, and she identifies with Brandon and his family because they feel that every second of every day just walking around their neighborhood. David caves and agrees to grant her a subpoena for the nearby surveillance video that the police were keeping locked up in evidence.

The video appears to confirm Officer Newton’s story, though what exactly Brandon was reaching for at the time of the shooting wasn’t visible to the camera, and Liv and Marcus both stand together to present the video to Brandon’s father. Brandon’s father is adamant that his son never carried a knife, but allows Liv and Marcus to check the body. They find a knife hidden underneath Brandon’s dead body, but instead of it allowing Brandon’s father to come to terms with the realities of Brandon’s death, he becomes enraged. He knows his son would never carry a knife, and brandishes his gun, pointing it at Liv and Marcus. Liv yells at the police, warns them not to shoot. Instead, she and Marcus back away slowly and allow Brandon’s father to stay with his son.

Fitz And Mellie Find A Vice President

Back at the White House, Fitz followed through on his promise to Mellie. After Cyrus found a perfect potential VP candidate, one that could be the future of the party, Fitz leaked it to the press and found that she actually owns a prison that her state sends inmates to. Now that she’s out, Fitz can get his empty suit! And Mellie has the perfect candidate in the form of an anti-vaccine, sweet, but not particularly bright, senator, Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani), who was just elected.

Ross actually tells the President that she thinks she would make a horrible Vice President and admits she has no desire to be President. But, it seems that Mellie and Fitz might just sway her anyways.

Liv Gets Justice For Brandon

Liv still isn’t convinced that the security tape told the whole story, so she asks Quinn and Huck to go over it again and this time, they find something. There was a suspect arrested in Officer Newton’s police car at the time of the shooting, but he was let go afterwards and doesn’t appear in any official police records of the incident. The suspect was arrested with a knife, but now both the suspect and the knife are gone. Liv quickly understands that Officer Newton must have taken the knife from the suspect, planted it on Brandon’s body and then let the suspect go on the condition that he keep his secret. When she confronts Newton, he explodes. “You people,” he says, don’t respect him as they should, and Brandon got killed because he wasn’t raised with the right values and disrespected an officer of the law.

Needless to say, after the truth comes out, Newton’s fellow officers arrest him, and David Rosen announces that the Washington DC police has promised to cooperate in an independent investigation. Not only that, but the police also won’t be arresting Brandon’s father for his actions. Instead of taking Brandon’s father home, Liv takes him directly to the White House form the crime scene because Fitz knows what he’s going through. After all, a law enforcement agent killed his son too.

Scandal airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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