‘Blindspot’ Boss on the Season 5 Premiere Death & Why Madeline’s Plan Is ‘Very Scary’
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 5 premiere of Blindspot, “I Came to Sleigh.”]
The drone strike wasn’t nearly as fatal as it could have been on Blindspot. But one of the team didn’t make it out.
While Weitz (Aaron Abrams) was able to warn the team of the incoming threat and those inside the safe house escaped to the tunnel, they were injured — and Reade (Rob Brown) ended up sacrificing himself so the others could get Zapata (Audrey Esparza) free. (And the two had finally gotten together.)
Here, executive producer Martin Gero breaks down the Season 5 premiere and teases what Reade’s death means for the season.
Let’s start with Reade’s death and that toast to him at the end. Why kill him off the way you did and when did you know this would be it for the character?
Martin Gero: [Knowing a main character would die] started a very long conversation that lasted honestly months about which character it would be. For a bunch of reasons I can’t go into because you’ll see the reasons why as we go through the season, it made sense that Reade would provide us with the most stories going forward as to how it affects the other characters, specifically Zapata. You’ll like where that story goes.
We’re already seeing how it’s affected her, especially after they were so close to having a future together. She has that speech about wanting to be done but knowing they won’t stop. How indicative is that of what we’ll see from her this season, regarding the loss of Reade and the team’s missions?
It weighs heavy on her, and she, more than anyone, becomes very worried, has the most PTSD about losing one of them, somebody else, which is very possible. She really carries that heavily over the course of this season.
Jane and Kurt only get a couple moments alone together. How might this season’s journey, on the run, change their plans for life after?
That’s a big question about the whole season. Obviously there’s, “We need to get our life back, but then what does our life look like if we do get it back? Is there going back?” That’s a conversation they have over the entire season as they have successes and failures on their path back. This isn’t a season where suddenly in Episode 3, it’s fine, they’re not on the run anymore. They are on the run the whole season, but what remains is how much they love each other and what remains is that they will do anything for each other. Their love and respect and how protective they are of each other is really great to see.
And in general, for the most part, the team is so unified this year. The remaining members of the team really rally behind Reade’s death. It’s also the world versus them, so all they have is each other, so any sort of petty disagreements they had moving in to this season, those evaporate, and this is the most united our team has ever been.
You previously said that when it comes to Weitz, “It’s about identifying what his self-interest is.” And we see that in the premiere. Will that continue? Will we see him helping the team throughout the season? Can they trust him?
You just never know. As long as it’s his best interest to help the team, he will help the team. He’s a person that wants to be a good guy, and we watch him struggle with that. He’s got a much bigger part this year. He and Afreen obviously are in a lot of the episodes. They form the mini resistance inside the FBI under Madeline’s control now, and so there’s a lot of great storytelling about how unlikely he is to be the team’s last hope inside the FBI and whether they can trust that or not. … I wouldn’t want to pin my resistance on Weitz, but who knows? Maybe he’ll surprise us.
Madeline is now the Director of Federal Law Enforcement. Is she just going to keep getting new titles?
Pretty much, and you’ll see in the next few episodes what title she’s really going after, which is very scary, so she’s got a very good plan. She’s incredibly ruthless. And she’s winning is the thing. We’ve never had a Big Bad just win so hard against the team, and so that’s not something we can bounce back from right away. She’s got all the cards. We have almost none. We have incredibly limited resources and no protection under the law. It really makes the team be resourceful in a way they never had to be.
She’s the most corrupt person in the world at the moment, in our reality at least. It’s terrifying to watch her gain more and more power, and the more power she gets, the more corrupted she is. Her backstory, as to why she’s doing this, is totally understandable, but the means with which she’s doing it is unforgivable, and she is a formidable foe for us this season.
Rich DotCom went through quite the ordeal. How are we going to see him dealing with the psychological effects going forward?
A little bit. What’s so incredible about Rich is how resilient he is, what a survivor he is. So definitely he wavers in Episode 2, but he slowly gets his footing again going into Episodes 3 and 4 and becomes more concerned about how everyone else is doing.
In some ways, Rich and Jane are the two who are actually built for this. They’re used to being bad guys. They’re used to being on the run. They have those coping mechanisms and skills. Everybody else, this is completely foreign for them. So it’s fun to watch the dynamic of the team as they rely on Rich, for not just his hacking skills, but for some emotional support, which is such an insane arc, considering where the character started.
Should we be worried about anyone else dying or being sidelined from the fight this season?
I would be worried. The storytelling we want to do this season is very bold. It’s about threading a needle because there are some people — I’ve watched shows and felt like, “Oh, they didn’t kill enough people in their last season,” and then I’ve watched shows where, “Oh, you killed too many people,” so you really need to find a balance.
I have to say there was just something so probably unintentionally funny about Weller going towards Rich DotCom holding a machete to take out the tracker and then using a taser because the rest of the episode was so heavy.
For us, it’s so important for Blindspot to be fun. That was always our goal, especially these last few seasons. Yes, there will be moments of pain and death and hurt, but it’s so important that the show be fun and entertaining, and so finding those little moments between the two of them are so hilarious. They really worked on that moment to really fine-tune it, and I thought they really just killed it. And there’s a lot more of that to come. And especially, now, we’re all looking for just some really great escapist television, and that’s what Blindspot is.
Blindspot, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC