Scandal Alert: Columbus Short Won't Return For Season 4

Spoiler Alert: The following contains some in-depth discussions about Scandal. If you're not caught up, you may want to bail on this article and come back and read at a later date.

Several days ago, Scandal ended an explosive third season on a cliffhanger that left character Harrison Wright hanging out with a gun stuck to his head after learning about some of Rowan’s machinations. The Harrison plotline quickly became a great point of speculation for fans, especially after showrunner Shonda Rhimes capably avoided answering any questions about the character’s fate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the character will be getting a happy ending. Over the weekend, actor Columbus Short, who plays Harrison in the series, confirmed he will not be returning for Season 4 of ABC’s drama.

THR is reporting that Columbus Short was the person who came out to make the statement rather than Rhimes or the network.

"At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I've called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble on television today. I would like to first thank Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast.”

The fact that Short made the statement might lead some to believe that the actor made the decision, but the issue is a little more contentious. First, Rhimes is known for killing off characters in shows ranging from Grey’s Anatomy to Scandal. The cliffhanger meant that Harrison Short could just as easily be written as dead in the series opener as alive. It’s also good for ABC, as Columbus Short has been in the news a lot lately, and not just because his character’s life was on the line.

Columbus Short is actually going through a spot of trouble right now. In March, he was hauled off to jail after getting into a fight in a restaurant in Los Angeles. More egregiously, his wife Tuere Short filed for divorce following a misdemeanor spousal battery charge from February. Afterwards, a judge stated he must stay away from his wife. While the court of popular opinion is not enough to convict Columbus Short, it is enough for ABC to decide to take a step back. Of course, the network’s staying mum about Short’s decision to leave as well as the actual fate of Harrison Wright on Scandal at this point, but the timing is a little suspect.

Whether ABC nudged the actor or he simply saw the writing on the wall, Columbus Short’s response to leaving Scandal was thought out and included plenty of gratitude for the opportunity, the cast and the fans.

"Thank you gladiators, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the Scandal series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Everything must come to an end, and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful."

Scandal hasn’t officially been picked up by ABC, but with good ratings and a solid fanbase, the show is all but guaranteed to return for Season 4. We’ll find out what officially happened to Harrison Wright then.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.