‘FBI’ Star Missy Peregrym Teases Maggie & OA’s Dynamic Has Changed

Zeeko Zaki and Missy Peregrym on 'FBI'
Q&A
Bennett Raglin/CBS

Following a lengthy recuperation from her near-fatal sarin gas exposure in the spring, Special Agent Maggie Bell (Missy Peregrym, above) is finally back in action in the aptly titled episode “Ready or Not,” airing November 15. In real life, Peregrym was on maternity leave after her daughter Mela’s June birth.

“It’s almost easier at work. I sit more than I do at home!” jokes Peregrym, whose son Otis, now a toddler, was also born during her time on FBI.

The actress previews Maggie’s reunion with her partner, Special Agent Omar Adom “OA” Zidan (Zeeko Zaki), and what’s next.

How was your first day back on set?

Missy Peregrym: I was really scared! Like, “Hopefully I have enough brains to memorize my lines.” [Laughs] But actually, it’s been OK.

You returned only three and a half months after giving birth to Mela. That’s pretty soon.

I had the baby at home this time. It was a water birth and it was amazing. I got to literally climb right into my own bed right afterward. The whole thing was just to let myself really recover and be gentle with my body so that I also could come back to work earlier. I did have three weeks where I had to work very hard to stay in bed and recover. Luckily my husband would try to take both kids out so that I could sleep.

What kind of extra conditioning did you have to do to get in shape so quickly?

Nothing! Having not just a little baby, but a toddler, I think it was just chasing after Otis and going on mile walks every day to try to keep him from going crazy. That was enough motivation for me to get moving.

Does Maggie have any lingering effects from the poisoning?

Definitely mentally. She’s really nervous about getting back into the job. But she’s also excited to get into the routine again. She wants to get going. Maggie returning to work is really difficult for OA. He’s overprotective because he doesn’t want anything to happen to her again. It was traumatic for him to go through that experience as well.

Will that interfere with their teamwork?

It changed their dynamic. It’s a little bit reverse, where Maggie was the one who was more by the book and OA’s the one that would go off script sometimes. Now Maggie’s like, “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!” and he’s more cautious. It’s really hard when your partner is too worried to let you do your job. It creates dangerous situations if you don’t trust each other. The rest of the team is like, “She’s got it. She’s fine.”

Maggie’s first assignment is trying to figure out why a female law student headed to Quantico was killed alongside someone with possible gang ties.

Maggie goes straight undercover as a club owner, which worries OA because she’s alone in a space where things could go sideways really quickly. The feelings we’re sorting through don’t get resolved right away. We don’t have time to sit down and talk about our feeling and what’s going on with us in the middle of a case!

Maggie was trapped in a room filled with the lethal sarin gas. Was it a tough sequence to film?

Yes! It definitely was intense to shoot. I never want to ever experience that in my life. It’s pretty horrific. I didn’t watch any video of the effects of real-life situations like that to protect my head and heart over it. It was exciting to play though, because Maggie doesn’t usually get hurt like that. It was great to act with Zeeko in that story and to explore a different space.

Will Nina Chase (Shantel VanSanten) who came in when you were on maternity leave return in some capacity?

She will definitely be back. [Editor’s Note: She’ll return on a recurring basis; we now know that Nina is pregnant, and her then-partner Scola is the father.]

What are you looking forward to doing more of this season?

It’s really fun to work with different people. Zeeko and I have such a nice vibe together. Because we’ve played partners for so long, it’s easy and really lovely. But I’m really enjoying being able to do episodes with Katherine [Renee Turner], who plays Tiffany, and John [Boyd], who plays Scola. It’s fun when we can play differently against other. It’s just nice being in a fifth season, I have to say.

And to be doing very well in the ratings.

That’s wonderful news! I haven’t really followed that. I’m in bed by 7:30 if I can do it. [Laughs] I go to sleep when the kids go to sleep.

FBI, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS