FBI Post-Mortem: Zeeko Zaki on OA's Step Forward - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI Post-Mortem: Zeeko Zaki on OA’s Step Forward

May 11, 2022 by  

FBI Ghost from the Past spoilers

“Ghost from the Past” – The murder of a TSA agent leads the team to hunt down a killer who is using drug mules to exploit airport security checkpoints. Also, OA struggles to cope with the aftermath of the sarin gas exposure and the 10th anniversary of his army friend’s death in Afghanistan, on the CBS Original series FBI, Tuesday, May 10 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Pictured (L-R): Zeeko Zaki as Special Agent Omar Adom ‘OA’ Zidan, John Boyd as Special Agent Stuart Scola, and Katherine Renee Turner as Special Agent Tiffany Wallace. Photo: David M. Russell/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Tuesday, May 10 episode “Ghost from the Past.”]

On the Tuesday, May 10 episode of FBI, OA (Zeeko Zaki) became convinced that Tamir Hazara (Fawad Siddiqui), a terrorist who was presumed dead, was actually alive and on the loose in New York City.

His FBI colleagues were a bit more skeptical of the assertion: With it being the 10th anniversary of an army buddy’s death—not to mention the temporary loss of Maggie (Missy Peregrym)—new partner Nina (Shantel VanSanten) was concerned that he might be going down a wrong path. She warned Jubal (Jeremy Sisto), who was equally skeptical when OA insisted he saw Tamir.

“We kept kind of coming back to this term compartmentalizing,” Zaki says of portraying OA convinced he was right in the face of so much skepticism. “So the fun part about acting like nothing’s wrong is you act like you always do. The challenge in this episode, for me, was to almost be the other half of a team that’s agreeing that they’re not agreeing. So getting into kind of live in that and and have these moments that are so against the grain that it pulls you out, and you get to kind of play into that like, ‘Oh, you don’t believe me?'”

“Hopefully in that world, it’s just feels unbalanced, because there is no one’s hitting the ball back every time I hit,” he says. “I kept pulling out a new ball and hitting it across the net, and then another and another and no one’s really returning it [and agreeing OA is right], but I’m playing as if they are.”

But, ultimately, OA was correct with his hunch. The team tracked their investigation into a TSA agent’s death back to Tamir, who kidnapped a TSA agent’s family as a motivation to let dangerous materials through the checkpoints. After Nina saved the family, OA cornered Tamir, and was able to take him out.

With OA actually being right, “I think you can take a quote from my personal life on this one: I love lessons without mistakes,” Zaki says with a laugh. “The idea of, ‘It’s okay, we’re on the other side of it. It’s really nice.’ The exciting part about the stakes that we play at is you really have to kind of consider the long game of every move and the short game. And I think that’s also something that is really exciting long moves come back in further episodes, and we do get to play them and pull on notes from other things.”

“It’s just really fun to have, a massive collection of random moments—and then a very direct place to go from there and [go,] okay, this is a character note from season 2,” he continues. “Make it work and justify it in your head, so that every decision along the way works. And usually you end up with a very obvious answer to the decision because there’s not really that many ways to go. Things like that, that I’m blown away [by] and [it] makes me realize how you can have a show go 20 seasons just by following the Dick Wolf equation.”

Though Nina offered OA an ear to her partner if he ever needs one, he actually took it a step further: He sought out a therapist. “We learn how OA is gonna move forward and handle what feels like a kettle that has been boiling over for the past few episodes,” Zaki acknowledges. “We get to see just another stereotype being broken, and this one not necessarily living in religion or culture, but maybe just in gender or in the sense that he is such a strong character and [this allows] him to embrace his weaknesses. It hopefully will give more strength to the character. So it’s exciting to see how OA decides to process this overwhelming amount of stuff going on in his life.”

Zaki, personally, was thrilled by the step. “I clapped and I was like, ‘Thank God, you guys actually found a place for me to put it,'” he says. “So it’ll be exciting. I hope it plays well.”

FBI, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS


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