In the most recent episode of the FBI, Special Agent Omar Adom “OA” Zidan (Zeeko Zaki) gets assaulted on the way to work, putting him in the same position as the victims he questions.
FBI: Despite OA’s protests that he didn’t see the assailants’ faces, the NYPD investigator on the case, Chavez (Carlos Gomez), presses him to provide a certain identification. But as a victim in the FBI case admits she can do more than she imagined to help, he starts to question whether he can do the same on his own — especially since he was able to positively identify both parties.
In this interview, Zaki talks about his time off work due to an injury, whether or not he would have opened up to Maggie (Missy Peregrym), and how much OA truly recalled.
How well did OA retain information? Has it now hit him that he recognized his assailants from the photos? Was he trying to bury it? Or was it only that he pretended to forget?
Zaki Zeeko: Actually, I believe OA was so shaken up by what occurred that he wouldn’t be able to confidently identify a single person in a line of a hundred. Nonetheless, I believe that by following his path in this episode, we are recognizing the human brain’s sensitivity to trauma and the influence that time and clarity may have on these catastrophic occurrences.
FBI: The point is that if that is the path you’re going to take, you need to just sit with it and let your subconscious fill in the blanks for you, regardless of how much you think you know. Simply putting yourself in that position and being open to having your mind fill in the blanks where the trauma or shame caused you to close them off is all that’s required.
FBI: Having to repeatedly answer “do I remember, do I not remember?” was a delightful part of this show. And I guess it boiled down to, “I just know that I can’t contribute in the capacity that I should be able to, so I’m pulling the plug. I’m claiming memory loss on my part. It’s something you have to find out for yourself as OA does, and I believe showing that it’s possible to do so with time and patience is a vital type of imagery to put out there.
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When the episode concludes, how does OA feel about what happened and how he dealt with it?
FBI: By the episode’s end, I think what’s really nice is the support system that he does have at work, and how it all comes together to show that no matter how alone you feel in something, there are people around you who care and that if you just let them in and do have some vulnerability with the people around you as you wish they [had] with you, then that’s a nice balanced place to even begin to approach these traumatic events. When we last left OA, he was certain that his crew would always have his back. In addition, I believe that going ahead, he is feeling somewhat more secure than he did initially.
The OA does eventually relax a little with Nina (Shantel VanSanten) in this episode. In the context of OA, please elaborate on that dynamic. I’m glad she’s part of the team, but I know it must serve as a reminder to OA of why Maggie isn’t included.
Correct. How quickly or slowly our characters deal with their own problems in real life may be influenced by how quickly or slowly we go through these crazy instances on the program. We need to be resilient in our own lives if we expect mothers to be able to keep it together for a few hours while talking about the death of a child or other loved one. The key is deciding on someone you trust enough to guide you through these privacy issues.
FBI: I think it’s very wonderful to demonstrate that there is aid all around and there is understanding regardless of how long you spend with someone, given the distance that exists between the Nina character and my girlfriend Maggie being gone, and she is the one with whom I’m working on all of my personal stuff. So, I think it’s a very important thing to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be your spouse of ten years to show you that something can be OK or that there’s understanding in a certain setting.
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But this episode is all about playing OA since ordinarily, he is so in charge of everything, but here is a circumstance where he couldn’t be in control.
Correct. It was a great joy to get to play it on screen, whether it was scripted or not, to sort of life in that area that we attempt to conceal from the world, the things that we can’t control while wanting to be in charge so much. Also, you have a lot of power as an FBI agent. I like that we get to show the flip side of that and give OA a defeat on his scoreboard.
FBI: It’s inspiring to demonstrate fortitude in defeat, and I look forward to exploring similar situations in the future since these are things that really occur in real life. It’s thrilling to contemplate the future and wonder whether we’ll get another opportunity to explore those risky terrains.
Would OA have been more willing to talk to Maggie if she had been there?
FBI: Yes, that’s a reasonable inquiry. Even if she were still around after what occurred, he could be hesitant to open up to her completely out of protectiveness and a desire to avoid seeming weak. Given that he is now acting in the role of protector for her, I believe he would be even more secretive about it.
Speaking of which, is there anything more you can tease us with until Maggie gets back?
FBI: To put it simply, I anticipate great things. Because we’ve been able to do so much with the rest of the cast, the writers here are particularly giddy about the prospect of her return; it will be a great pleasure for viewers to see how much of our absent co-star we’ve been able to work into the narrative. Consequently, it’s a fantastic total return. But I’ll leave it at that, and I’m certain that our relationship will be stronger after this trial is through.
FBI: You said that he is a guardian, yet the last time he was out in the field with her, he was attempting to lure her into that lab. That has had to have an impact on how they are as a couple when they go out for the first time as partners again after everything.
Exactly. And I believe it will be interesting to play that role, whether or whether it makes him more defensive.