You must not put another scandal on him, That he is open to incontinency.

I’ve almost always interpreted this scene as an overprotective father attempting to extract some information on his mostly virtuous son – but reading this line today, reading “another scandal” as an actual scandal, rather than a fictional one just put on him by Reynaldo – I suddenly have a lot of questions about Laertes’ virtues. Has he already run into scandal? Is this fictional one that Polonius is suggesting to Reynaldo the second one Laertes might have? There is a suggestion from Ophelia that Laertes might need to watch out when he preaches, given his own moral standing.
I like the idea of a scandal in Laertes’ past, I confess. It makes him more interesting if, when we meet him, he’s just begun recovering his reputation from a mishap. He becomes a sort of prodigal son making his first journey back out into the world. His return to France becomes a much more significant event than a simple kid going back to a life abroad. It’s a kid with a real need to prove himself again, to truly get permission to leave. It’s a kid who has something to prove to his father – even when his father’s dead.
“Another scandal” might be quickly dismissed but if it’s weighted with the image of Laertes splashed all over the tabloids for getting caught with a prostitute, for example, it makes both Polonius’ trust and suspicion a lot more interesting.
Certainly Laertes is a guy who ACTS first and thinks later.
First, start a coup – THEN reconsider.
First, go after the king, then poison your sword for the prince.
Kill the prince, then confess your crime.
Another scandal.

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