Blindspot, which returns for its fourth season this week, has been on my must-watch list, since the series premiered in the fall of 2015. The series centers on Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) who was an amnesiac woman, with her body covered in tattoos found in the middle of Times Square. (This is nothing out of the ordinary for New York, right?)
What makes it more interesting is a large tattoo with the name of FBI Agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) on her back, which leads to her involvement with the FBI. The FBI soon learn that the Jane’s tattoos are a unique puzzle that helps decode/prevent a number of crimes. The core team of FBI agents are Reade (Rob Brown), Tasha Zapata (Aubrey Esparza), and Patterson (Ashley Johnson), who all work extremely well as a unit and, for the most part, are like a family. Also, events over the course of the season have led to a marriage between Weller and Jane (which fans affectionately call the relationship between the two: Jeller).
The series is not your typical/routine show by any stretch, due to its interesting plot points such as some characters venturing off into different directions. So far, each season has taking on new life, all thanks to Jane’s puzzle-like tattoos in which help the overall conspiracy evolve in front of our own eyes.
Last week during New York Comic Con (NYCC), I had the pleasure in meeting Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton during a press event. The topics ranged from the writing on the series to what we can expect this upcoming season.
Stapleton was down-to-earth in disclosing his draw for acting; it is not for the fame but the work itself. While discussing the series’ characters, he described them as “being at war with themselves”. This statement summed up a lot of the characters arcs during season three. We saw each of the characters struggle with the effects of their own decisions, such as harboring dark secrets and/or carrying emotional baggage thanks to doing something irrational.
At the beginning of the season, Jane felt guilty for abandoning her daughter Avery (Kristina Reyes) and was on a search to find her, while Weller concealed from Jane that he (spoiler alert!) actually had found her daughter, but he accidentally killer her. We later come to find out that Avery was alive and well and her death was part of an elaborate hoax by Jane’s brother Roman (played brilliantly by Luke Mitchell). Later, team loyalty with the FBI were upended when they learned Zapada was a mole for the CIA and was playing both sides. Stapleton credited the series writers for making the characters compelling and offering something different for each episode.
The addition of Ennis Esmer (who plays Rich DotCom) as a series regular was a great addition to the cast and it offers opportunities to shift away from the ‘serious tone’ of the series with lighthearted moments. The writers do a great job in striking the right balance where the dialog and the lighthearted themes do not seem out of place or forced. Both stars talked warmly about the addition of Esmer to the series and the fun plot points the writers offer each day. Alexander then disclosed to us that filming scenes with Esmer can be fun, and that in some cases, the camera operator laughs so much the camera literally shakes.
Looking ahead to season four, Alexander disclosed that Jane thinks she is a Sandstorm operative who infiltrated the FBI. Her memory of the past few years is now gone (or possibly suppressed?). In essence, Jane will have a ‘dual role’ this season – one will be “good” while the other side won’t be “not-so-good”. Finally, Alexander informed us that there will be visual clues that to help the viewers know ‘which’ Jane they are seeing on-screen.
In recent seasons the action has expanded beyond New York; it has gone internationally with locations including Venice, South Africa, Australia, and Morocco. According to Sullivan Stapleton, the new destinations will include France, England, and Peru.
I was lucky enough to watch the fourth season premiere at NYCC, and overall this series has not lost a step, yet at the same time offers something entirely new for the fans to enjoy. The series premiere starts off in Tokyo with an opening scene fitting of a James Bond introduction with an epic katana sword fight. The action and intrigue continues at a quick pace throughout the episode and at its conclusion, we were all left with the question: how soon before the next episode? It was that good!
During the New York Comic Con weekend, NBC setup a unique event for a small group of press to attend a Kendo sword fighting lesson that included Jaimie Alexander herself and her stunt double, Heidi Germaine Schnappauf. The event took place at Sword Class NYC. The event itself was extremely fun for all who attended, and we all took home a Shinai as a memento. After the event I had a chance to chat with Schnappauf, who joined the series in the latter portion of the first season. During our discussion, she told me that she finds it rewarding working each day for this series, and also stated that the stunts are like a ‘hard hit’ when doing them. They are that difficult/demanding to do.
I hold a high level of respect for the ladies and gentlemen who perform the stunt work. There are physical demands/risks of injury which they bravely do for our enjoyment; we sometime may take for granted in what they do. Schnappauf said that she does her work for the sense of accomplishment and not for an award. Personally, I would have advocate for a stunt category be added to the Emmys and Academy Awards as way to recognize the hard work these folks do to make a scene so much better for the viewers. It is pleasant to note that earlier in the day, Alexander showed her appreciation of Schnappauf’s work during the Blindspot panel at NYCC by pointing her out to the attendees – which drew applause of appreciation from the crowd. It was a touching moment that I won’t forget, and I am sure Schnappauf won’t forget as well.
So, that is it! As for the series itself, Blindspot returns this Friday night at 8pm ET, and if you want to catch up, you can find the series currently on Hulu.
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