Darby Stanchfield
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

The SCANDAL actress reveals insights she’s gained from her quirky TV character, for better or for worse.

As the frequently foot-in-mouth Abby Whelan on ABC’s smash Scandal, Darby Stanchfield — who did stints on Mad Men and NCIS before landing the Shonda Rhimes drama — never knows what’s coming next. At the table reads for the show, “we’re gasping and muttering oh-my-gods under our breath,” she says. “It keeps us guessing, but that’s what makes it so fun.”

Playing Abby keeps the actress on her toes too. “She’s quite a bit different than I am,” says Stanchfield. “She says whatever she’s thinking, whereas I care much more about what people think because I’m scared of being misunderstood. But like Abby, I’m very invested in being truthful and not pussyfooting around.”

We asked the actress to share three things she’s learned from the brash Abby:

BLACKMAIL WORKS.
“It’s a definite time-saver, that’s one thing I’ve learned,” Stanchfield says. Don’t ask her if she has employed it in real life, however.

BRIBERY WORKS TOO. “Specifically,” Stanchfield clarifies, “bribery through baked goods.” This is one technique Stanchfield has adopted. “My specialty is my grandmother’s homemade pie crusts.”

WHEN IN DOUBT, BE BOLD.
By that, she means go after what you want — and hold your own. “These days, with me, it’s what you see is what you get,” says Stanchfield, now in her 40s, citing her audition stare-down with Scandal creator Rhimes, which landed her the part of Abby in the first place. 

Although Stanchfield has learned quite a bit from her three seasons on Scandal, she believes she could teach her character a thing or two. “Abby dwells,” Stanchfield says, “but I let things go. If I were to give her any advice, it would be to move forward and not look back. I hope we’ll get to see her do that a bit more in the future.”