Emmy Episode Analysis: Will Joe Morton (‘Scandal’) be latest to win for villainous role

Joe Morton earns his first Emmy nomination, for Best Drama Guest Actor, as Rowan Pope, the father of crisis management expert Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington).

Watch: Joe Morton defends his villain on ‘Scandal’ as ‘best guy in the world!’

SYNOPSIS: Morton’s episode, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” intermittently flashes back to five years earlier. Olivia has begun having Sunday dinners with her father in exchange for him paying off her college loans. On her way home, she is mugged in the subway, but rescued by a homeless man named Huck, who used to be a member of a CIA offshoot called B6-13. She asks her father to look into the group.

Olivia eventually figures out that Rowan is involved with the group and confronts him about it, but he tells her not to get involved. When Olivia defies his order, he tells Olivia that her fiancé, a senator, has been involved in a car accident and that he isn’t the right man for her.

Kerry Washington dishes ‘dark, dark season’ on ‘Scandal’ (Exclusive Video)

In the present, Rowan visits Olivia at her office and tells her that she needs to let one of her clients take the fall for having an affair with the President, which the client did not do. By the end of the episode, it’s revealed that Rowan is not only involved with B6-13, but in fact leads the organization, and he releases an injured prisoner the group has been holding right onto Olivia’s doorstep.

Can Morton take the Emmy? Let’s look at the pros and cons:


Morton plays the sinister angles of Rowan Pope very well. The Emmys have rewarded manipulative villains in this category before, including Michael Emerson (“The Practice,” 2001) and John Lithgow (“Dexter,” 2010).

“Scandal” is no stranger to this category; Dan Bucatinsky won just last year for his performance on the show.

Morton has been acting for over 40 years, and that veteran status in the industry certainly doesn’t hurt.


The soapiness of the show’s storylines could be a turnoff for voters.

Despite growing in popularity and buzz, “Scandal” only earned three nominations (just one more than last year) and nothing beyond the acting categories.

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Morton is currently in fourth place in our predictions with 25/1 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or are we underestimating him? Make your predictions below.

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