FBI: Zeeko Zaki Reflects on OA's Emotional Bedside Confession to Maggie - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI: Zeeko Zaki Reflects on OA’s Emotional Bedside Confession to Maggie

July 18, 2022 by  

FBI Zeeko Zaki OA Maggie

“Fear Nothing” – OA is forced to confront one of his biggest fears when the team discovers that deadly sarin gas may have been sold to terrorists, on the CBS Original series FBI, Tuesday, April 19 (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 and Missy Peregrym as Special Agent Maggie Bell. Photo: David Russell/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When FBI needed to temporarily write out Maggie for Missy Peregrym‘s maternity leave, the series’ writers had to find a way to have the character plausibly be away for a few months. (Peregrym announced she’ll miss the first few episodes of season 5, but return from her maternity leave in September.) As a result, in “Fear Nothing,” the federal agent was locked in a room and exposed to sarin gas—while her partner, OA (Zeeko Zaki), desperately tried to free her.

Ultimately, he was successful (and able to administer an antidote to the poison), but the damage was done, and Maggie was left comatose. Though the doctor was hopeful she’d eventually recover, OA was determined to see his partner to see how she was doing for himself.

“I need you to come back to work, because you’re not checking out on me,” he told her, while she was unconscious. He got emotional, admitting, “I can’t do this without you, I don’t want to do this without you.”

For Zaki, getting to dig into the emotion of the hour was an exhilarating experience. “It was really nice because every episode feels like they pull it straight from the headlines; every thing a character’s going through feels pulled right from our lives,” Zaki says. “So this was kind of the culmination of that. And it was a perfect parallel moment to the reality of the situation: an actress is taking [a] break for her maternity leave and I’ve just been conditioned to believe that the next day isn’t promised. In this moment, I got to really lean into just finding my real emotions with her stepping down [temporarily from] this team that we built.”

“My favorite part about our show is when it is an emotional moment or an emotional beat or episode, something important—we are allowed the space to those emotions,” he continues. “And having a strong director—we got Jon Cassar; he cast me in 24: LEGACY and it was a nice little moment where I got to do a love letter to my [on-screen] partner and a thank you note to the director for the journey we’ve all been on.”

As OA talked to his comatose partner, “everybody’s on the same page, story-wise,” Zaki recalls. “Everyone knew the intention. I asked for them to start [it as] the first scene of the day. It was the last day of the episode we were filming. I knew exactly where I wanted to go. And I asked [Jon] to just start in the close-up. They rolled the cameras and we got one off, a real just organic [take]. And then we got to play around with it. There were just a few notes of this here and there, but at the end of the day it was really beautiful, organic moment. I was really proud of how they edited it and how long they they kept the moments there.”

“And I’m just incredibly grateful for the opportunity to put that on screen,” he continues. “It definitely felt like a moment that not everybody gets to do. It’s all just real; I have so much love and respect for [Missy].”

Though Peregrym previously took maternity leave in season 2, the entire industry shut down for the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Zaki only filmed a single episode without her. (CHICAGO P.D.’s Tracy Spiridakos guest starred, in what was intended to be an arc; it got cut short when the shows were able to start up their new season.)

“Getting to actually film a few episodes with her gone [in season 4]—I’m calling her every day and I’m just like, ‘Oh my God, I get it,'” he says. “It just really is amazing the work that she did and what she brings to the table. It is a really big reason why we are number one watched on the network and getting that two season pickup. So I can’t wait for her to come back.”

But how will OA’s emotional outpouring—and his concern about losing his partner—impact their dynamic going forward?

“We went into it [with the mindset of] who knows what’s gonna happen,” Zaki says. “[It’s] this whole idea of someone really pouring their heart out when they think no one can hear what they’re saying. I think everything that was said, if her eyes were open, if her ears were open, could still be said. But I think getting to play that, I shared some stuff—I let down a wall. [Does] it go back up? We get to either play that or we get to play that it’s down…But I can’t wait; I hope we really get to play that whole spectrum, every rung on the ladder…I’m super excited for that arc.”

FBI, Season Premiere, Tuesday, September 20, 8/7c, CBS


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