Viola Davis' Annalise Keating and Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope will meet when How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal crossover for the very first time. That's all very exciting, but the first thing I thought of upon reading such news was how the shows would deal with a different interaction. How would Olivia deal with the fact that Liza Weil's Bonnie Winterbottom shares a face with murdered White House intern Amanda Tanner?
The answer, apparently, is quite simple. According to Entertainment Weekly, Bonnie won't meet Olivia at all during the crossover episodes, which are scheduled to air back-to-back on March 1.
Weil — whom fans may know as Paris Geller from Gilmore Girls, because of course you do — has not appeared on Scandal as Amanda since season 1, but HTGAWM's Bonnie won't be by Annalise's side when the lawyer meets the head Gladiator, either.
That might make things easier in the short term, but the fact remains that Olivia and her Gladiators exist in the same world as Annalise and her Keating 5. Even if we're totally ignoring the fact that Weil plays two roles within the universe, there is still plenty of continuity confusion. Who is the President of the United States on HTGAWM? Why doesn't Michaela (Aja Naomi King) have a photo of Olivia over her bed? If these two Shondaland shows exist in the same realm, can Olivia and Annalise swing by Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital as well? The Bonnie/Amanda dichotomy is just the tip of the iceberg, really.
The Scandal and HTGAWM crossover isn't the first to have to make a tricky decision about what to do when an actor portrays different characters within the same extended universe. American Horror Story brought in the same actors to portray different roles across their anthology series, which was complicated by the fact that, on occasion, actors would have more than one vastly different role to play within a season. Instead of acknowledging that, say, Sarah Paulson's Billie Dean looked just like Paulson's Sally on American Horror Story: Hotel, the series chose to ignore it.
Despite the strange implications, there's always room for a fun wink-and-nod to loyal fans who noted that Weil made an appearance on both series. Alas, Olivia won't have the chance to be freaked out by someone resembling Amanda's ghost — at least, not in this crossover episode.