But as an actress going about her daily life, Washington had a hard time giving fans of the series the answer to one simple question: Who is Quinn Perkins?
"[Quinn Perkins] represents my whole summer because all summer long people were walking up to me saying 'Who is Quinn Perkins!?' in supermarkets, airports ... It was so much fun! Luckily I didn't know [who she actually is] at the time because I don't know if I'd be able to keep it a secret for that long!" Washington, 35, tells PEOPLE.
Now the question, which came out of the show's season 1 finale, is being asked to the characters of Scandal in a series of videos, which can be seen at WhoIsQuinnPerkins.com. Watch Washington as Pope below.
Viewers won't have to wait too long to find out Perkins's true identity, which will be revealed on the Sept. 27 season premiere.
"Right away in the season premiere we address it," says Washington, who will present at Sunday's Primetime Emmy Awards. "However I will say in true Scandal style once you learn who Quinn Perkins is then you have about seven more questions."
Washington's character on Scandal is partially based on former Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush Judy Smith. And the actress (who recently spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of President Obama) serves on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. But Washington insists that's where her interest in holding a position in politics ends.
"Never ever. Never, never, never, never, never, never!" she says with a laugh about running for office. "I'm in the administration now and I'm very honored to serve and to serve in an appointed position but running for office is something I am not interested in in any way shape or form."
But on the set of Scandal, Washington and her costars rely on a little medieval fantasy to break up the intensity of politics.
"Our whole cast is a little bit obsessed with Game of Thrones," Washington says. "Last season they used to call me Khaleesi when I used to have a big leader moment."