Over the course of five seasons, the NBC series Blindspot has seen its characters navigate life-or-death level missions, romances, mind wipes, heartbreaks, more mind wipes, and deaths, all while saving the world numerous times. The team — comprised of Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander), Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), Tasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza), Patterson (Ashley Johnson) and Rich DotCom (Ennis Esmer) — might not be totally unscathed by everything that they’ve been through, but they ultimately still have each other and their families to help get them through.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, showrunner Martin Gero talked about shooting this last episode over a two-and-a-half-month period, pulling off a series finale with over one hundred guest stars, who they weren’t able to get to return, whether there was a back-up plan if this hadn’t all worked out, what led to his own cameo appearance, and what viewers should make of that last scene.
[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the series finale of Blindspot, “Iunne Ennui.”]
Collider: When I spoke to you at the beginning of the season, you said that you had to shoot this last episode over two and a half months, on and off again, between every episode. Was that so you could get everyone in the episode that you wanted to come back?
MARTIN GERO: Yes.
What was that like to pull off, logistically?
GERO: We would never have done it if we didn’t have the best crew in television. We had the confidence in our production team and our post-production team that we could do this totally crazy thing. Not only were we shooting out of order, but there was a lot of visual in-camera transitions, from one scene to the next, that you would shoot two months apart from each other, and you would have to take all of these crazy measurements to make sure the camera was in the right place. It was really, really hard. There are over a hundred guest stars, in this final episode. To bring back that many people, typically a TV show shoots for about eight or nine or 10 days, and that’s a very narrow window to get a hundred people’s schedules to line up, especially when they’re very successful actor people. And so, we wanted to give ourselves the flexibility, so that if Archie [Panjabi] was like, “I have this day that I can come to New York,” we could say, “Okay, we’ll make it work. We need you back. It would be great to have you back.”
Was there anyone that you almost weren’t able to get, or that you couldn’t get, or did you get everyone that you wanted?
GERO: We were able to get everyone, except we would have loved Marianne Jean-Baptiste to come back. But that was the one piece that we just couldn’t make work.
Was there any back-up plan, if you couldn’t pull this off?
GERO: No. It would’ve just been slightly worse. It would’ve just been very obvious pieces missing, in some of those scenes, where you would have been like, “Wait a second, everyone was there except for Hank Crawford?,” or “Everyone was there except for Shepherd?” It was just a great tribute to the crew that, when I made those calls and said, “Hey, I know this is crazy, but can you come back and do two lines in the finale of Blindspot?,” these huge actors were like, “Oh, my god, I’d love to see everyone, one more time.”
What made you decide to cameo in this last episode?
GERO: I did a cameo in L.A. Complex, and then it got canceled, so I was like, “I’m never doing a cameo again, until I know for sure that the show is ending.” It was very last minute. Joe Dinicol, who played David, is an old friend and was the officiant at my wedding a couple of years ago. So it just felt like a fun alternate reality thing, where I be the officiant at his wedding to Patterson.
What should we make of that moment where we see what could have happened, if Jane hadn’t survived? Are we supposed to wonder which one is the real ending, or was that just her playing out that scenario in her head?
GERO: We’re not going to comment on that. What’s interesting about it is that it’s a Rorschach test for whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, and whether you want a happy ending or a sad ending. Some people vehemently are like, “Oh, she was just imagining another possible scenario,” and some people like, “Oh, my god, she died and this whole dinner doesn’t even exist.” I think both are valid. I’ve shown this episode to people, just in the making of it, and it’s so incredible to watch the 50/50 split happen, where people are like, “What?! No! That’s crazy! Why would you think that?!” And that’s on both sides, which is by design. We want it to be satisfying, no matter what, if that makes sense. But we believe, if you really want to dig down and look for what our authorial intent was, that there are markers, throughout the text, that clearly state what we think it is.
So, are Rich and Patterson really off somewhere in search of the Newtonian device now, and can we please get that spin-off?
GERO: Just tell me where and when, and I’ll do it. I would absolutely drop everything, to go do a treasure hunting show with Ashley [Johnson] and Ennis [Esmer]. Literally, tell me when, and I’ll start.
The series finale of Blindspot airs on NBC on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
Christina Radish is a Senior Reporter of Film, TV, and Theme Parks for Collider. You can follow her on Twitter @ChristinaRadish.