Everybody knows about the amnesiac woman covered in tattoos on Blindspot, but in Season 2, the rest of the team are also getting more time in the spotlight. Last week, Zapata (Audrey Esparza) discovered Reade standing over the bloody body of his former football coach with plenty of motive and no alibi. We talked with Rob Brown about the compromising situation his character has found himself in and what that could mean for the rest of the season.
“Over the hiatus, I met with Martin [Gero, the show’s creator], and he broke down episodes one through 10 for me,” says Brown. “I like information. I like to know everything,” not only as an actor, but also, “I’m a fan of the show, so I’m in a situation where I’m, like, ‘What the f–k’s about to happen next?!’”
Brown was actually taken by surprise with the introduction of Coach Jones last season. For Reade, it seemed like a happy coincidence that he’d get to visit his alma mater and reconnect with his old mentor — until they uncovered a conspiracy to cover up the coach’s serial abuse of his athletes. Reade was left wondering if he was one of those abused.
“That’s a big thing to not know about, but Reade didn’t know about it,” Brown explains. “You know what I’m saying? Jane is working on her backstory and, in certain ways, Reade is working on his backstory.” It’s almost like an alternate take on her amnesia; Reade is dealing with what appears to be suppressed memories of abuse.
It’s a fine line to walk — sometimes an actor knowing something the character doesn’t leads to problems. “Professionally, it’s kind of necessary that I don’t really know,” he says, but the actors work with the writers to find the balance. “It’s a collaboration, right? There’s things that I want to get across as an artist, and we talk and get on the same page.
“A lot of this should be shock,” says Brown about Reade’s response to the revelations, and what the audience is seeing now is grounded in emotion. But in the second half of the season, he says, “We’re going to get into it.” He says he’ll be working with a psychologist who specializes in memory disorders to research how people with suppressed memories act.
As Reade starts to spiral, his actions are beginning to drag the rest of the team down with him. As has been proven time and again, Reade and Zapata will do anything to protect each other. “You’ll see in the next coming episodes how much they care about each other. The team is really a family,” which, Brown says, is one of the keys to the show’s success. “When you work with people every day, you develop a relationship, and I think people can relate to that.”
Favorite Reade and Zapata moment? “The whole sequence where Zapata shoots Jane. It was superhot. It was ridiculously hot. And you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Brown says. The more uncomfortable the shoot became, the more fun the cast ended up having as they tried to lighten the mood. “Temporary discomfort is part of the job.”
And the bond between the two characters is only getting stronger. Regarding the second half of the season, Brown says he’s most looking forward to “the relationship that develops between Reade and Zapata and how they depend on each other both professionally and personally.” As the show goes on, the writers get better at translating the actors’ easy chemistry onto the screen, Brown says. “They ear hustle us!” he laughs. “They listen to how we talk, which is cool because we develop a shorthand and they figure out what fits in our mouth. Um, sorry how that came out.”
Blindspot airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. Watch clips and full episodes of Blindspot on Yahoo View.