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If you haven’t been watching Scandal, you’ve been missing out on one of the most incredible new dramas to premiere in 2012. Created by Shonda Rhimes, the force behind Grey’s Anatomy, and fronted by the stunning Kerry Washington, the first black woman to lead a network show since 1974, Scandal mixes political intrigue, compelling characters, and star-crossed romances to brew television magic.

So far, the second season has even managed to top its original brilliant first run, blasting its audience with a huge cliffhanger before taking a brief holiday season hiatus. The second half of Season 2 will premiere on ABC on Thursday, January 10, and promises to pick up right where things left off. Here are the five things that you need to know to get ready for the next run of new episodes. Spoilers ahead!

1. Olivia Pope is The Fixer - but she’s broken.

Olivia Pope is the star of the show and the leader of Pope & Associates, a crisis management firm based in Washington, D.C., and is played to perfection by Kerry Washington. Olivia has built her reputation after turning around President’s Fitzgerald Grant’s ailing campaign and winning him the White House. She followed Grant from the campaign to work as the Press Secretary until their affair proved to be too painful to endure. And, for all of her skill, her love for Fitz continues to trip her up.

2. First Lady Mellie Grant and Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene believe that “all roads lead to Fitz” ... so where are they going now?

Mellie and Cyrus have proven to be Fitz’s greatest assets though they’re far from his closest friends. More than once, they have gone behind the President’s back to secure his political standing. Both are incredibly driven characters, ruthless in their ambitions; with the president out of the picture, there’s no telling what either character will do to survive.

3. The Associates are ready to tear each other apart.

We’ve come to learn why each member of Pope & Associates has a reason to be devoted to Olivia but that loyalty has been strained over the course of Season 2. Huck thought he found another path to a normal life; Quinn is brooding over Olivia’s part in her coverup; Abby found comfort with U.S. Attorney David Rosen after Olivia pushed her away; and Harrison has compromised his relationship with his fellow gladiators for Olivia’s sake.

4. James Novak is a good journalist.

Thanks to a tip from David Rosen, Cyrus’ husband James has recently uncovered a scandal that stretches all the way from voting machines in Defiance, Ohio to Fitz’s closest allies in Washington.

5. Someone shot the president, and his press secretary.

Naturally, chaos ensued. The vice president has taken over the Oval Office while Fitz’s condition is left shrouded in a tense mystery. Olivia is back at the White House while Mellie, Cyrus, and the Associates, are left reeling without their leaders. And Huck was very, very wrong about his girlfriend, who has set him up to take the fall for the assassination attempt.

We'll all have to tune in on Thursday to see if Olivia can fix this!