FBI's Zeeko Zaki Talks The 'Case Of The Week Loop' And OA's 'Different Masks' To Deal With Triggers In New Episode

 Zeeko Zaki in FBI Season 6x11 as OA.
Zeeko Zaki in FBI Season 6x11 as OA.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

FBI returns from a brief break on CBS with an episode that will put OA through the wringer all over again, with a case involving the Taliban that will tie back to his time in the army. The 2024 TV schedule has already had plenty of stressful episodes for the agent, but this will hit close to home on more than one front. Actor Zeeko Zaki spoke with CinemaBlend about what's on the way, including breaking the "case of the week loop" and how OA tries to find balance.

The next new episode on May 7 is called "No One Left Behind," and will see the team pulled into a case involving members of the Taliban on U.S. soil, with no record of how they got into the country. The case will pack an extra punch for OA due to his time in the army, just as he continues to struggle to be open with Gemma after what they went through earlier in Season 6. It's never easy on OA when he's triggered by reminders to his traumatizing experiences overseas, and it remains to be seen if the relationship with Gemma is strong enough to withstand whatever he goes through next.

FBI is of course a heavily procedural show, but the stories of OA's experiences in the army (as well as his relationship with Gemma) are much more serialized. When I spoke with Zeeko Zaki ahead of "No One Left Behind," he shared that it has been more "exciting" to get to tackle ongoing storylines:

It's definitely the more exciting stuff that we get to tackle. When we're stuck in a case of the week loop, you kind of forget that you're truly standing on a platform representing a lot of people. My character being an ex service member, a veteran, and being in the FBI, it's just really nice to get the opportunity to remind the viewers of the heaviness and the darkness that a lot of people in their lives have dealt with. Whether it's them or someone they know, just getting to show that part of these extremely strong humans that we're representing is an honor.

While most FBI fans presumably don't personally know anybody with the same CV as Agent Omar Zidan, Zeeko Zaki pointed out that OA can be a reminder of the heaviness that plenty of people deal with in their own ways. It certainly sounds like this will be a tough case for OA, and I for one am curious about how it will compare to how he was triggered by the sarin gas even before Maggie was exposed back in Season 4. The actor addressed the obstacles that are ahead for OA on the personal front with Gemma, saying:

For the obstacles in this, this is the first relationship that I've been in on screen or off screen where there's such strong boundaries, and I look up to OA for his boundaries and the different masks that he puts on and how much weight he really carries. Getting to see this moment in this episode where she tells me how hard it is to be with someone that doesn't open up, and to realize that you can't do this alone, and you can't go through life alone and really struggling with that... it just shows [if] OA can make sacrifices with his boundaries.

OA has had romantic storylines before, but FBI has revisited the relationship with Gemma several times throughout Season 6. Depending on whether it survives whatever the couple goes through in the next new episode, perhaps they'll have what it takes to last in light of FBI's renewal for another three seasons. Zeeko Zaki did confirm that OA makes a choice this time around that he wouldn't have back in the earlier days of the show, saying:

I don't think he would have made it a few seasons ago. I think this episode really shows that you pack things deep, deep down and people hide a lot of trauma and ignore a lot of trauma. And when you're faced with these triggering events that bring it back up, what are you going to do? How are you going to move forward through it? How are you going to attempt to sort of heal these wounds so that they don't fester? So it's kind of nice to see how earned this moment... is with OA.

OA took a risk in the previous episode when he told Isobel that he believed Maggie needed to step away from 26 Fed to take care of Ella, without getting his partner's input because he knew she wouldn't do it of her own volition. It seems like a safe bet that he wasn't suggesting Maggie should be benched from action in the long run, but I am curious to see what their partnership looks like as Season 2 winds down, as well as what's up with OA and Gemma. For now, check out the promo for the new episode on May 7:

Tune in to CBS on Tuesday, May 7 at 8 p.m. ET for the "No One Left Behind" episode of FBI, followed by FBI: International at 9 p.m. ET and FBI: Most Wanted at 10 p.m. ET. The finales for all three shows will air on May 21, and you can revisit earlier episodes streaming with a Paramount+ subscription. You can also check back with CinemaBlend for more from Zeeko Zaki about what goes down for OA.