‘Arrow’: David Ramsey Reveals That Diggle’s Drug Secret ‘Is Not an Addiction Story’

David Ramsey
Dean Buscher/The CW
David Ramsey as John Diggle in Arrow

Ever since Arrow premiered, David Ramsey‘s John Diggle has been the ultimate utility player. Originally bodyguard to Oliver (Stephen Amell), Diggs has served as a sounding board, sidekick, voice of reason, vigilante, best friend, team father figure and now, he’s even standing in as the Green Arrow to take the spotlight off of Ollie.

But ever since the injury that left him with nerve damage, our favorite Suicide Squad alum has been having some issues…which he’s treating with a secret medication that can’t be good for him. But it’s great for Ramsey (and his fans), who has gotten a sweet bump in screen time and storyline.

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Here, Ramsey explains what his character is really up to and how long he can keep this from the rest of the crew (hint: not too much longer).

It’s so cool to see you getting so much great stuff to do!
David Ramsey: I know! It’s so exciting!

But it’s also kind of heartbreaking because John is not doing the right thing. John was the moral center!
I know, there’s that. But you know, how great the mighty have fallen, right? You have to have that. Isn’t that good drama? I mean, you’re waiting for that, right? You have to bring John down. It’s funny that you start with that comment, because I think I even said at San Diego Comic-Con that [executive producers] Marc Guggenheim, Wendy Mericle and I had a conversation about Diggle before the end of the season, and it was just like, “What can’t this man not recover from?”

He’s been through it!
He killed his brother. You can draw a straight line between him and the death of the Canary—it’s because of his actions that she died. I mean, obviously he’s one of the lead characters, so he has to recover from these things, not just physically but mentally. Psychologically, he’s so strong. But the season is still long, so we still have some more piling on for Diggle. [Laughs]

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When did you find out what exactly he is ghosting himself with?
Well, you find that out near the end of the arc. I want to say it’s a 5-episode arc. So right around the end of his Arrow run is around the time you find out what is happening. And you’ve already seen some of the characters that will be kind of instrumental in [his story].

What is this going to do to him?
You know, it’s going to be less of him feeling guilty and more “I have to have the drug. I have to have the drug. I have to keep the charade up in order for the missions to be successful, so that means I must have the drug.” I don’t want to say it’s an addiction story. This isn’t Lance (Paul Blackthorne). This isn’t the struggle that Lance has had and continues to have, and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) had. Which is a very important story. So this isn’t, “Let’s now talk about drug and substance abuse.” It’s not that.

The story is framed in such a way that it is meant to illuminate the fact that you’re looking at a John Diggle you’ve never seen before, in the sense that his morality and his moral compass have been compromised. And to that extent, the drug he is secretly using is used to facilitate that.

And it’s 5 episodes; does that play into the crossover, as well?
Um, no. By the time you see the crossover, we’ve dealt with this issue. But John Diggle’s in the crossover. The team’s in the crossover. So we get back to some sense of normalcy by the time this all plays out.

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And what kind of fallout is John facing? Also, what kind of fallout is Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) facing for covering up?
That’s a great question. Dinah’s interesting because he’s the only one that he reveals his secret to, and there was some pushback from her. But where we left off in the [last] episode, Diggle is making this façade really powerful to the rest of the crew. So you’re going to see this his charade that’s working, in terms of the team. It’s not going to be working for Diggle. And that’s going to be something that he continues to conceal until he can’t conceal it anymore.

Arrow, Thursdays, 9/8c, The CW