Stephen Disappears from 'Scandal' After Season One — What Happened to Him?

Henry Ian Cusick's character was written out of the show because he didn't get enough to do.


Mar. 5 2024, Published 1:47 p.m. ET

Henry Ian Cusick looking at documents in 'Scandal.'
Source: ABC

Like so many of Shonda Rimes's shows, Scandal was basically an immediate phenomenon when it was first released. The show, which tells the story of a former White House aide who finds herself pulled back into the orbit of politics, was steamy, sensual, and filled with drama.

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Although many of the characters on Scandal are hugely memorable among the show's fans, there are some characters who didn't work out quite as well. Among them is Stephen, who was played by Henry Ian Cusick in the first season and then disappeared after that. As people discover the show for the first time or rewatch it, many naturally wondered what happened to Stephen. Here's what we know about the characer's fate.

Henry Ian Cusick and Kerry Washington in 'Scandal.'
Source: ABC
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What happened to Stephen on 'Scandal?'

The explanation for Stephen's departure from Scandal turns out to be relatively straightforward. Stephen was meant to be a litigator who works with Olivia and one of her best friends, but as Shonda developed the show's first season, she realized that there wasn't much for Stephen to do in the story she was setting up. Because she knew how talented Henry Ian Cusick was, she wrote him out of the show so that the actor could pursue other projects.

"Henry Ian Cusick is such a great guy," Shonda explained in an interview with TV Guide. "[But] in the making of the show, there was less for him to do than is deserving of him. I felt, why hold him back from doing other things?"

There was no ill will toward Henry or toward the character that he was playing, but the story didn't really have a clearly defined role for him moving forward, so they wrote him out of the show.

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Henry Ian Cusick has had a long career on TV.

Although he was only a series regular on Scandal for the first season, Henry Ian Cusick has had a long career on television both before and after his role on Scandal.

His first major breakout role came on Lost where he played Desmond Hume, one of the show's most popular characters to arrive after the first season.

He also had major roles on The 100, MacGyver and Big Sky, and he's also guested on a wide variety of shows.

Source: YouTube
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Henry even made his return to Scandal briefly during the show's fourth season, giving the actor a chance to close the loop on the character several years after he was introduced.

Of course, if there had been work for him, it seems like Henry would have enjoyed being a regular part of the Scandal ensemble.

After all, Scandal was a massive hit that made a star out of Kerry Washington, and it came at a time when there weren't very many massive hits left on TV. Stephen may not have worked out the way either Henry or Shonda wanted the character to, but Henry has had plenty of work on TV in the years since he left the show, so he's doing just fine.

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