‘Scandal’ tops itself with season 3 finale

Editor’s Note: This article includes major spoilers for the third season finale of ABC’s “Scandal.”

Story highlights

"Scandal" ended its third season with a shocking finale

There were plenty of twists, but one in particular stunned fans

Even celebs like Mia Farrow were left saying "OMFG"

Creator Shonda Rhimes says she kills characters only to service the story

CNN  — 

ABC’s “Scandal” lives up to its name pretty much every week, but its season three finale on Thursday managed to up the ante.

Then again, death tends to do that.

Even on a series where body counts can increase in the blink of an eye – and Thursday’s episode wasn’t wanting for deceased – there was one twist in particular that took fans’ collective breath away.

After a church bombing and a seemingly lost election for Tony Goldwyn’s President Fitzgerald Grant, one of Grant’s kids suddenly takes a grave turn. And before “Scandal” viewers could find another bottle of wine to open, Goldwyn’s Grant was a bereaved parent.

The death of a child is a sensitive plot point for any series, but this one seemed especially cruel, as it was revealed that the young character’s death wasn’t an accident. It was a vindictive murder.

“For me, it’s never easy to say goodbye to a character. It’s really always about the story,” creator Shonda Rhimes told Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night show Thursday. “I feel like the Grim Reaper sometimes.”

Since this is “Scandal,” that murder was of course followed by the big reveal of its culprit and the insinuation that a longtime character is also a few steps from being killed off. Meanwhile, Kerry Washington’s fixer, Olivia Pope, moved to wash her hands of D.C. grime for good.

By the end of the night, most fans were left echoing Mia Farrow, who could tweet no more than “OMFG.”

In the words of star Washington, it’s been “a ROUGH & TOUGH season. Dark. Full of depth,” she tweeted Thursday. “Thank u 4 courageously riding this roller coaster w/ us.”