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It can be lonely at the top, especially when you’re at the top of a terrorist organization trying to bring down the U.S. government. But there are perks too: When Blindspot returns this week, Shepherd (Michelle Hurd) finds herself in Bangkok chasing down a weapon vital to her plans. We spoke with Hurd about filming in Thailand, as well as where the thriller is headed in the last four episodes of the season.
Because of the breakneck pace of television production, there’s not much time for shooting on location. Most shows that go to the Middle East or the jungles of South America are really just shooting about an hour’s drive from their main studio set. But Hurd and a skeleton crew — the director, DP, and writer — flew out to Thailand to get, in Hurd’s words, a “high octane” journey into Shepherd’s world.
In the clip, we get a taste of the frantic and stripped-down intensity of their shoot. “We touch down and we just shot like gangsters!” marvels Hurd. “Running through streets, jumping over cars, grabbing shots here and there, trying to capture everything we can in Bangkok.” The actress says the episode has more than just exotic scenery, though: “This is a moment where you really get a window into what Shepherd’s planning and the extent that she will go to fulfill her plans.”
Hurd has long since grown used to working apart from the rest of the cast. “It’s so bizarre, isn’t it? It’s so funny whenever we do table reads, because I’m always, like, ‘Guuuuys!’” Of course, there’s a good reason why you wouldn’t want to be in a scene with her. “The reality is, if you work with Shepherd,” Hurd notes with a laugh, “I’m either going to torture you or try to kill you!”
That extends to family as well. Hurd’s husband, Garrett Dillahunt, guested on the show recently as Reade’s hospital confidant, Travis. He asked her advice: “’Oh, they offered me this role. Should I do it? I really wanted to work with you.’ And I said the same thing: ‘Baby, if you work with me, I’m gonna kill you.’”
Hurd takes care to avoid accidental spoilers, but it’s clear that the team will feel the effects of her vengeance soon. “Betrayal is huge to her,” she emphasizes. “She’s such a loyal person, such a loyal soldier. And when there’s a betrayal and wrong has happened, she will go to whatever extent, to the ends of the earth to right that wrong.” Shepherd’s life’s work, after all, is basically payback for government negligence that killed her family when she was young. How do you think she’ll respond when her “children” turn on her? “Dreadful! Dreadful creatures!” she says with a laugh. “I put Weller through school! I paid for his entire upbringing, and this is how he pays me back?”
Hurd is joking, but at the same time, there’s a truth there about just what makes her relationship with Weller, Roman, and Jane so compelling. Shepherd has directly and indirectly raised these three, and all three, in one way or another, have turned their back on her. “I love anytime I get to interact with any of my ‘kids’,” says Hurd. “I just feel like it’s so rich, it’s loaded.” Even ordinary parent/child relationships have endless layers to be uncovered — and most of those don’t involve “little psychos,” as Hurd calls Roman. “There’s something so interesting and complicated about those relationships — I don’t think I could ever get bored with or ever be done with. Especially with Roman: There’s still a fluidity there. So you don’t know for sure, is he 100 percent over there with the FBI? Is he in the middle? Can I get him back? I love all that kind of stuff.”
And there are still more opportunities for Shepherd beyond those three characters, says Hurd: “I wonder what Shepherd and Zapata would be like. Shepherd and Reade — what would that dynamic be? Shepherd and Nas! There’s still a lot to explore with her.”
Blindspot airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. Watch clips and full episodes of Blindspot for free on Yahoo View.
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