Scandal's Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was a different kind of hero. She, like Meredith Grey of Grey's Anatomy, was very firm in what she wanted. She wanted to fix things, stat, and she knew exactly how to get them fixed. She wasn't afraid of saying exactly what she wanted, and, better yet, she was the creation of Shonda Rhimes. Shonda Rhimes loves a monologue. Her shows subsist on the meat of people griping for three minutes straight. You could teach a class entirely about the Rhimesian monologue. (Colleges, now's your chance!) They are 11 o'clock numbers for the 45-minute television episode. Just when you think Olivia Pope is bested — blammo, she wins again, by pure rhetoric.
"But the thing is, who you are, who you love — that shouldn't be a secret. It shouldn't have to be a secret, should it?" she told a forlorn Sully (Wes Brown) in the pilot episode of Scandal. That's essentially the thesis of the whole series, as Olivia works to cover up the secrets of those above her. And every monologue henceforth grapples with the "truth" and what that means in a world where power supersedes honesty. What's true in a world where lying is basically a job?
What's true is that Olivia Pope, paired with a white coat and a withering stare, will always win — especially when it comes to monologues. In honor of the show's finale, which airs tonight, here are Olivia's best speeches, ranked.