‘FBI’s Zeeko Zaki on OA & Maggie’s Partnership and Dick Wolf Crossovers
Like other shows, FBI‘s current season was cut short due to the coronavirus, so the Tuesday, March 31 episode, featuring Chicago P.D.‘s Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), ended up being the Season 2 finale.
Series star Zeeko Zaki shared with TV Insider that while they filmed five days of Episode 20, he doesn’t think that material will be used. (Season 2 was supposed to have 23 episodes.) The CBS drama has yet to be picked up for a third season, and they “have heard absolutely nothing,” he said. However, “on paper, the show and the ratings and the viewership is incredible, so we’re very hopeful,” he added, pointing out that the network hasn’t announced any renewals yet.
Here, Zaki looks back on Season 2 and the crossovers with other Dick Wolf properties.
The team went through quite a few changes this season: the additions of Isobel, Scola, and Ryder, Kristen’s scare, Maggie’s undercover gig. It seems like OA was able to roll with it all.
Zeeko Zaki: Yeah, my favorite part about my character is he plays a lot off of me personally. It’s just gratitude and let’s keep it going and keep it positive. The additions of the other characters were very welcomed and very exciting workload-wise and storyline-wise and making the world bigger. It’s great.
There are so many people and I hope that the show and the cast gets to grow exponentially as we continue. They’re also really great people. Me and John are very close, Catherine’s awesome, Alana’s just like such a mother figure on set.
And Missy [Peregrym] with the pregnancy this year. It’s been a crazy year with things happening in the world and at work, and you’re learning and understanding how intense and how big everything really is. It’s just taught me so much. I’m just really grateful for it all.
OA and Maggie’s partnership has been so strong and so supportive; he mentioned in last night’s finale that he knew she’d be fine on her assignment, and she took the gig without talking to him because she knew he could talk her out of it.
Yeah, that little moment where I said goodbye to Missy, it was just really fun to have those parallels between acting and real life. You get to pull from those things and every word that came out of my mouth in that scene was pulled from how I really feel about her leaving because it was real. She was leaving, and she is such a big support system for me and for everybody on the show.
It was really easy to get to that emotional place and it just played so real and it just hit home for me. I love filming emotional stuff with Missy. She’s just so present, no matter what’s going on in her life. She’s a month out from having the baby at the time and still able to just be so emotionally available and just a great coworker.
We were supposed to not have her for five or six episodes. It was an exciting opportunity to see what I could do on my own, but after it’s all said and done, it feels a little right that we didn’t go too far down the road without her.
But he’s still concerned for Maggie because he’s not there to have her back, right?
Absolutely. I really feel like we got so lucky with our real-life chemistry and our character chemistry. That’s all I know, is my partner and going after the bad guys.
OA’s gone undercover before, but at this point in his career, do you think he would’ve been interested in an assignment like Maggie’s?
It would’ve definitely been a nice moment and a contemplation, maybe an old life left behind. I would be interested in taking on that kind of decision, but at the end of the day, I think I would’ve stayed in the bureau with Maggie.
We’ve gotten a few peeks into OA’s personal life. What have you enjoyed most about exploring that side of the character?
My favorite part is how casting has really nailed it. Sisters and aunts and uncles, it’s crazy how like my real aunts and uncles and siblings they all are. Every time I step up to set and you’re expected to go to this fake place. Again, such a parallel line between my real life. It’s been really awesome because my family watches it. It just really breathes life into the character, so every time I get to go into my personal world, I’m very excited.
In the P.D. crossover, OA and Hailey clashed a bit in the beginning. Do you think working with her and seeing the way she operates will change anything for him?
Yes, it’s really interesting to have my character begin his path in Season 1 by being very by the seat of his own pants and learning he has to also abide by these rules he was giving to Upton. I love how we film. You don’t get 20 scripts in a row. You get one and then you learn something new about your character in that script or you get motivated to change something about your character moving forward because of what you learned.
Reminiscing and bringing back a little bit of that rogueness might be interesting if the writers wanted to go there, but I like that idea a lot.
How do you think OA would do in Chicago, especially after working with Hailey? After all, the FBI wouldn’t really like PD‘s cage.
Personally, it’s just a fun idea, “oh, I hope that OA gets to go over to Chicago.” It’s a really interesting dynamic that I get to play, being a new actor and a new character, having this federal badge on. Getting to play with that just in this episode with her while I’m on the high horse, we’re in my court, I would be very excited to go over there and get to play that and get to observe them and bring in my things that I feel like would probably help a case and allowing things to happen that wouldn’t work in New York. There’s just such a world there that I think Dick is excited about exploring, if we get the opportunities.
There was also the FBI and Most Wanted crossover, and OA worked quite a bit with the Fugitive Task Force. Would he be interested in even a short stint with that team?
Absolutely. My favorite part about it is inside the task force, you have characters mirror a little bit of my backstory and you have military characters and you have really brilliant women. It’s nice that it’s similar but not the same.
I feel like OA definitely has a short leash when he’s in our world with the FBI, and it would be really exciting to get the opportunity to get a little bit more slack. I feel like he’s a very flexible character and we can go any way we want, as long as we can justify it morally. At the end of the day, we all have the same objective and it’s just get the bad guy.
Are there any Dick Wolf shows you’d like to see OA visit or have a character from one come over to FBI?
Of course SVU and getting to play with Mariska [Hargitay] would be incredible, just as an actor, and I watched that show to prep for this show. You fantasize about booking a role as heavy and as big as Mariska’s and then these dreams start to come true. It would be really nice and I feel like the writers would do it definite justice if we did an SVU crossover.