Kerry Washington Says Goodbye to Scandal: 'I Am Filled with Endless Gratitude'
Olivia Pope has left the building.
On Thursday, the final episode of Shonda Rhimes‘ acclaimed series Scandal aired on ABC, putting the soapy political drama to bed after seven jaw-dropping seasons.
Saying goodbye was hard for star Kerry Washington, who paid tribute to her time on the series with a sweet pair of photos on Instagram — the first of which featured the actress laying on the carpet used on the set of the show’s fictional White House Oval Office.
“This picture was taken when we completed filming our very final scene in the Oval Office set,” the 41-year-old actress said. “So many of @scandalabc’s most iconic scenes happened in that Oval. It has been, in many ways, the center of our #Scandal universe. Other sets were already being dismantled and we knew this one would be next. So, before saying good-bye, I stretched out on that gorgeous rug and tried to just take it all in.”
Washington was soon joined by “a few beloved crew members” on the carpet. “Because…. why not?” she wrote alongside the gallery of photos.
Also in the post’s caption, Washington thanked her Scandal fans for watching throughout the years. She then looked back on the show’s legacy and the strong bonds she built on set.
“Tomorrow morning I will wake up and begin to try to process the magical dream of the past seven seasons,” she said. “I imagine it will take some time to really understand what just transpired in my life. But, this much, I know… I am filled with endless gratitude for our #Scandal Family. Our glorious cast & crew and our community of #Gladiators. TOGETHER, we have changed history. Transformed television. And illuminated each other’s lives.”
“Thank you for watching. And tweeting. And being with us!!!!” Washington continued.
She signed the post, “With love & gratitude, My very best, Kerry.”
Though this likely won’t be the end of Washington’s time on the small screen (she’s inked an overall production deal with ABC and already sold two projects), the actress told PEOPLE she’s still grieving the end of the show.
“I think it’s a process. I think I am in a stage of processing,” she said exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands now. “I am not in complete denial, but I don’t think the processing will be complete for a while. I was on a hike today and I ran into Katie Lowes and we hugged for, I don’t know, five minutes straight.”
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It’s costars like Lowes who made saying goodbye so difficult. “What I will miss most about Scandal is the community, the people, not being able to see my closest friends every single day,” Washington said.
Still, Washington — a Neutrogena brand ambassador and creative consultant who recently created her very first palettes for the company —is looking forward to life post-Scandal.
“I mean, there’s so much going on,” she explained to PEOPLE. “It’s an adventure.”