Shonda Rhimes has paid tribute to her Scandal leading lady Kerry Washington ahead of the last ever episode of the hit television show.

The producer and creator of the US political drama shared a photograph of herself and Washington on social media, saying her love and respect for the actress and the entire cast were “boundless”.

“Pure joy,” she said.

“The respect and love I have for this woman and the rest of my cast is boundless.

“That #scandal is coming to an end is starting to sink in.”

Washington has played “fixer” Olivia Pope since the series debuted in 2012.

In 2017 it was announced the programme was coming to an end with the seventh series.

Washington shared a picture of herself with cast members Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes and Guillermo Diaz, with the hashtag “#TheFinalScandal”.

Many other members of the cast have also been posting photographs and memories in the run up to the last episode this week.

Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitzgerald Grant, Pope’s love interest, tweeted a throwback photograph of them on their first day working together.

He said: “How’s that #Scandal hangover? For those who were asking, this was my first scene with @kerrywashington.

“You can see that she was already giving me instructions. Love you kw. Only 1 more to go! #TheFinalScandal.”

Stanchfield shared a picture of some of the cast sightseeing in Washington DC, where the programme is set.

Midnight monument hopping. #Scandal fam in #DC. 🇺🇸🌙🏛🔦

A post shared by Darby Stanchfield (@darbysofficial) on Apr 12, 2018 at 7:10pm PDT

Katie Lowes shared a few sneak peeks at the finale.

Diaz, who plays Huck, one of Pope’s team, shared a picture of the cast and crew with the caption: “Family.”

Family. #Scandal #NationalMuseumOfAfricanAmericanHistoryandCulture

A post shared by guillermo diaz (@guillermodiazreal) on Apr 12, 2018 at 7:45pm PDT

The final instalment of Scandal will air in the US on April 19.