When I took on the task of writing this article I really had no idea how I was going to do it. Anyone who’s a Shonda Rhimes fan and watches her shows as religiously as I do would understand how difficult it is to pick just five characters. I still think that there are characters who should be on this list but I had to narrow it down to only five, so here it is, my ranking of Rhimes’ characters. Truthfully, if you were to ask me tomorrow if they’re still my top five, it might be different.
#5 – Charlotte King
Charlotte King is a long-forgotten Rhimes character, but still one of the most prominent. The strong, career-focused woman that we originally met and grew to know on Private Practice proved to be far from who Charlotte actually was. After being raped and beaten by an attacker in her office, Rhimes showed her viewers a side of Charlotte that I certainly never thought existed. The way that she dealt with her struggle of being an addict and not being able to take pain meds after her attack, as well as dealing with the depression and aftermath of everything that happened to her in such a strong way makes her easily one of my top five characters.
#4 – Huck
Huck is one of the most powerful characters for me, simply because of the way he makes me feel. There have been nights (the night “Seven Fifty-Two” aired) that I’ve cried myself to sleep because I feel so sad for this man. The things we have seen Huck go through over the seasons of Scandal have ripped my heart out for him. When he was tricked into loving a woman who turned out to just be framing him for the assassination attempt on the President my heart broke for him. But even more than that, finding out that Huck had a family was one of the most shocking and emotional things I’ve ever seen on the show. He is beyond loyal to Olivia and everyone he holds close, even though that’s a very small number of people. Huck’s role on the show may sometimes seem small, but for me will always be one of the most significant.
#3 – Mellie Grant
Mellie Grant is an absolute powerhouse on Scandal. Whichever version of the First Lady you prefer, you’re bound to get a strong, kick-ass woman. Mellie has been through hell and would do anything for her country. For the longest time she was that character we all loved to hate, but after revealing that she was raped by Big Jerry (Fitz’s father) in Season 3, everything changed for me. Everything about her clicked, and I suddenly could no longer hate her, but started to love her more and more. This season, we’ve seen a side of Mellie that most of us thought was never possible, and I kind of loved it. “Smelly Mellie” as Rhimes named her, became the go-to Halloween costume for Scandal fans, and she barely had a care in the world, other than her dead son and fried chicken. I love Mellie more than I would like to admit, and I always look forward to her verbally destroying whoever decides to go up against her.
#2 – Olivia Pope
If I had to describe Olivia Pope in one word, it would be fierce. She is arguably one of the most powerful people on the Scandal planet (maybe even our planet), and she uses her ridiculous skills to solve every problem she is confronted with. The flip side to the fierceness that is Olivia, is that she so seriously struggles with every aspect of her personal life. Her personal life consists of being in love with a married man (who just happens to be the President of the United States), her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jake (who used to work for her father and also was once close friends with the President), her father (who is the head of the Nation’s secret spy agency, the person who killed Olivia’s best friend and also the person who killed the President’s son), and last but certainly not least, her mother (who is a terrorist for hire). Olivia’s plate is pretty messy on the personal side, which is the polar opposite of what she’s like in her professional life. I have a feeling we’ll be watching Olivia Pope run the world for a long time, but probably not as long as we would like her to.
#1 – Cristina Yang
Cristina Yang will always be my number one. If you had asked me when Grey’s Anatomy first started if I would fall in love with the headstrong know-it-all, I would say never in a million years. But over 10 seasons she worked her way into my heart and when she left the show at the end of Season 10, I think a little part of me died inside. Cristina was the spark of sass to a usually morbid Meredith Grey, and she taught me what it’s like to have a person, and how to be someone’s person. We’ve seen her fall in and out of love and each time it was just as emotional for everyone watching as it was for Cristina herself. I never thought that I would miss a fictional character so much until she left us. I could go on for hours about how much I love Cristina Yang, but the moral of my story is that if I had to choose one fictional character to be my best friend for the rest of my life, Cristina would be that person.
Just for the record, I didn’t leave out any How to Get Away with Murder characters because I don’t like them, but simply because I feel like I haven’t gotten to know them well enough yet. But don’t worry, if you ask me to revisit this list in a couple months, I’m sure it’ll be drastically different. Rhimes has written some of television’s most recognizable and loved characters, and I can’t wait to see who she brings to our screens and into our hearts next.