Prepare to meet the mother of all Gladiators.
E! News confirms that Treme star Khandi Alexander has been cast as Olivia Pope's (Kerry Washington) late mother Maya Lewis. The actress, who will appear in multiple episodes throughout the third season, will first appear via flashback in this week's all-new episode, "Icarus."
As of now, Scandal fans know very little about Oliva's mother. However, we do know that she helped shaped Olivia into the strong, fiery, and successful woman that she is today. Last week our fixer made a rare reference to Maya, when she mentioned that it was her mother who always taught her to speak her mind. A statement that Rowan (Joe Morton), her super-shady father, was less than pleased to hear.
Fans were shocked at the end of last week's episode (OK, let's face it: We're shocked after every episode!) when we learned a major game-changer surrounding Maya's death. True, Olivia's mom died in a plane crash when Olivia was 12 years-old, but the circumstances surrounding that death are much more complicated that we could have ever imagined.
Huck (Guillermo Díaz) and Jake (Scott Foley) did a little B613 digging and discovered that Operation Remington, season three's big mystery, was actually a cover-up for a commercial plan crashing due to "mechanical errors" In reality, Huck believes that Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) shot it down on behalf of the U.S. government. and guess who just happened to be on that plane? Yep, Olivia's mother! We're still heartbroken, and super intrigued to know what role Olivia's father could've played in Maya's death. (Ugh, isn't he just the worst?!)
Fans will finally get to know more about Alexander's Maya through a series of flashbacks this season. And if the saying, "Like mother, like daughter" is correct, then we have a feeling that Olivia Pope inherited her badass gladiator genes from her mother.
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the casting.
Don't miss an all-new episode of Scandal Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.