In Season 2 of the hit NBC series Blindspot, Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) is brought back in to the FBI to help the team who’s been deciphering the coded tattoos covering her body in uncovering an ever-widening web of conspiracy and corruption. And as the truth behind her real identity and the identity of the people who sent her to the FBI in the first place reveals itself, the team must work together to discover their true motives and stop them.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, showrunner Martin Gero talked about why the Season 1 finale turned out better than they expected, what they’re able to do now with Season 2, as a result of the first season’s success, new additions to the cast, the reveal of Jane’s true identity, the chances of a Jane-Weller romance, expanding the storylines for the rest of the ensemble, and the bigger story that they’re telling this season. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.
Collider: How did the Season 1 finale turn out exactly how you expected it to, and how was it completely different?
MARTIN GERO: I think it was better than what we expected, to be honest. Not to toot our own horn, but it was really wonderful and emotional in a way that we all hoped would pay off. I think the cast really gelled in a way that we were so satisfied with. To be able to have three different plotlines – a Jane plotline, a Weller plotline, and then our Reade-Patterson-Zapata plotline – and have them all dovetail into this amazing finale, for us, it was just so satisfying to watch. I was just so proud of our entire team. I thought Rob Seidenglanz directed the shit out of it. It was a very exciting episode for us. And for us, not a shot was fired. It was able to feel like it had all of the action and adventure without firing a shot. It’s nice to know that we’re not entirely reliant on gun fights to make Blindspot feel intense and scary.
What did the success of the first season allow you to do with the second season, that you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise?
GERO: Well, first off, to be totally blunt, we just have more money. The show sold very well internationally and here. We have a great deal with Hulu. And NBC has been extraordinarily supportive, as well as our good friends at the WB. So, to be able to have more money and a bigger palette to do things on the show that we weren’t able to do is great. It seems small, but we’ve added a bunch of days to the schedule, just so it gives us the ability to tell bigger stories. In the first couple of episodes back, you’ll be like, “Holy shit, this show feels enormous!” When you’re doing the first season of a show, you’re learning the show. You’re learning what your actors are great at and you’re learning what your audience really responds to. We started working on the second season in April, as we were airing our final episodes, and we were able to get what people are interested in and what they move towards. If anything, it’s just more assured. It’s more assured in the production and the writing, and the actors have a confidence now. They know they can take risks and we’re going to protect them. It’s great. And then, bringing someone like Archie Panjabi in is just a dream. She’s another huge bad-ass female who’s just so competent and so smart and so good. Just to have that energy on set even has been a real breath of fresh air. She’s amazing. And the same can be said about Luke Mitchell and Michelle Hurd. We’re trying to bring in elements so that the show will feel augmented and not transformed.
What can you say about the additions of the new characters?
GERO: Archie’s character is an NSA operative that joins the team. It turns out the NSA has been keeping tabs on the team. They know what’s up. They now some things that Weller and his team don’t know, and they need to be filled in on a couple of things. And she’s also just a neutral party. She wasn’t emotionally involved in the season, last year, so she’s able to act as a go-between when Jane needs talking down, or Weller needs talking down. Who wouldn’t want to be talked down by Archie Panjabi? She’s just such a calming presence. And then, Luke and Michelle play members of this organization that Jane was a part of, that have a deep and very storied history with her. They’re able to fill in a lot of pieces of Jane’s backstory that I know fans are craving to get.
We know now that Jane is not Taylor Shaw. Is that something you were always going to hold for Season 2?
GERO: Yes. The end of Season 1 was always going to be the revelation that Kurt’s father killed Taylor Shaw and that Weller would arrest her. That was always the plan. So, going into Season 2, we just had to take a look and go, “Did we just wreck our show? How do we bring this all back to life?” We had talked in vagaries about what we thought the second season was going to be, but once we started to get specific about it, we really saw the need for Archie’s character to come in. What’s amazing is that we used Archie as our prototype. We kept referring to the character as Archie because we were like, “We’ll never get her. She’s a giant television star. She’s probably busy.” And then, through an amazing confluence of events, she was available to join the show and we can’t believe we’re that fortunate. But, we’re a nice group of people. She was looking to be pushed and challenged, and she hadn’t really done a lot of action. It’s so funny, Kalinda was so bad-ass that you imagine she had gotten into a gunfight or two, but she had never shot a gun. Now, she’s training for fight scenes. That’s been really, really fun for her. She’s keeping her accent. It’s really been amazing to watch her thrive in our environment and to see how much she’s brought to the show.
What’s it going to be like for Jane, considering she’s also been lied to?
GERO: She certainly hates her old organization more than she hates the team. There is a vibe of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, to the beginning of the season. She feels totally betrayed by them. They lied to her. For a group that she was supposed to be leading, they really were not gentle with how they delivered that information to her. She feels pretty betrayed. She had all that baggage with Oscar, and what Michelle and Luke’s characters are trying to do is get past all of that baggage and reignite who she was, so that she can understand why they chose to do what they did.
Had you always planned to tease a possible romance between Jane and Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), only to horribly rip them apart?
GERO: They had such great chemistry that it was something we had to do. It’s a tough thing because people want it, but they also don’t want it. You want to want it, so you want to get really close to it and be like, “Oh, my god, is this going to happen?! Oh, no! Why would you do that to me?!” There are plenty of #Jeller moments in the premiere and going forward, but it’s going to take some time for them to organically get back to the place they were, if that’s even a possibility. It will be an evolution for them.
One of the best parts of the show is Patterson’s (Ashley Johnson) banter. Will she have people to banter with in Season 2?
GERO: Oh, for sure! The team is still the team, and she’ll be able to have that with them. Her and Archie’s character butt heads, early on, because Archie’s character works for the NSA and they have an enormous amount of computing power behind them and access to intelligence that Patterson doesn’t have access to. So, they really bump heads in the second episode, especially. And then, they start to form an uneasy alliance. They’re both computer nerds, when it comes right down to it. She has some great stuff with Archie this year.
You have such a great ensemble cast on this show. Will we be seeing even more of them?
GERO: Ashley [Johnson] was such an amazing find. A find who’s been on television for her entire life, basically. So, we wanted to give her lots to do this year. Also, if you look at Rob Brown and Audrey Esparza, they’re two ferociously great actors and we wanted to be sure we gave them the screen time that we gave Patterson last year. As the show evolves into an ensemble drama, we want to make sure that we’re giving them lots to do, as well, and they’re able to carry their own stories. They have an amazing arc, over the first part of the season, that I think fans are going to all flip for.
What can you tease about that storyline?
GERO: All I’ll say is that they get embroiled in a situation outside of all of this, and have to rely deeply on each other to get through it. It’s a mystery within a mystery, on our show.
What is the bigger story that you’re telling this season?
GERO: We’re trying to do everything organically. We want to have the same show, but we don’t want it to feel like we hit a reset button and everything goes back to normal. The importance of these missions is at an all-time high. How they’re working together will feel different, but the same. They understand that they all have to work together, but they aren’t exactly happy with it. So, those interpersonal dynamics, and the addition of Archie in there, gives it a fresher feel this year. It won’t feel like, “Oh, I’ve seen this a thousand times before on Blindspot.” We constantly need to evolve the relationships, we constantly need to evolve the plots, and we’re always careful to find that balance between a procedural and a mythology show.
So, will they have a goal that they’re moving toward?
GERO: Absolutely! If last season was about Jane being a Trojan horse inside the FBI, this season is about her going undercover in her organization, trying to bring them down.
Last season, everyone was keeping secrets from each other to protect each other. Can they be more honest now?
GERO: That’s what’s great about the beginning of this season. Everyone knows everything about everybody. All the dirty laundry is out there, for better or worse. There are no secrets. In fact, they start to keep stuff from Jane, just by default, and Patterson is like, “Hey, that’s what got us into trouble last year. We have to tell each other everything.” That’s a new dynamic for this show that is really interesting. They’re all in it together, which you haven’t had since Episode 9, last year. There will certainly be stuff that they don’t tell everyone. It is a show about secrets. But for the most part, operationally and with what’s going on emotionally, they are very focused on the same goal and all working together.
Will we see more of the dynamic between Weller and his sister, Sarah?
GERO: We won’t see a lot of that. There’s some other stuff going on in Weller’s life, this year. Jordana [Spiro] is amazing and we’re so lucky to have her on the show, but the reality is that she’s a hotly in-demand actress who’s constantly a lead on other shows. There’s no plan to bring her back yet, but we would jump at it. It would be great to have her back. It was an important character because Taylor Shaw was so important last season. As we move away from Taylor Shaw being important this season, it made sense to not have Sarah in every episode anymore.
Blindspot airs on Wednesday nights on NBC.