FBI is back for its third season premiere tonight at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Tonight will also mark the return of Maggie Bell (Missy Peregrym) as she reunites with Omar Adom Zidan (Zeeko Zaki), Jubal Valentine (Jeremy Sisto) and the rest of the team.
CBS‘ Matt Weiss spoke with Zeeko Zaki and Jeremy Sisto about the new season, how they will handle COVID on the show and what fans have to look forward to.
MW: Zeeko, Jeremy, nice to see you both! FBI is back tonight as we kick of season three and whenever a cast and crew comes back together I imagine it’s a nice moment but especially in 2020 it had to be. What was it like all these months when you guys weren’t able to be together?
JS: I think we’ve all been dealing with it in our own way, a lot of isolation. For me, I was trapped with my family for six months [Laughs]. A gift in many ways and also, it’s nice to have some space, so you can appreciate them more. It becomes a little more difficult to appreciate every moment when you’re trapped in the same house.
We made it through without any huge tragedies, which we know a lot of people in the world and the country is dealing with. We felt grateful to get through it. I know I was extremely happy to get back to work and get back to what I love doing and back to a show I love being on.
ZZ: Yeah, you get taken away from your happy place for sure. A big part during the pandemic and everything that was happening, it’s always in the back of my mind was if we get to go back, do we get to bring this stuff into the show? It was really exciting the whole time having this group of people that are excited about how easy it is to shift our show, how educational our show is in the responsibility with that stuff.
The whole time it was just wanting to be let back in there. Let’s hope. Let’s do something different and new and kind of bring all these new notes to life. It was definitely waiting for the gates to drop and just get back with everybody.
JS: I wasn’t sure how they were going to use all that stuff. We understand people don’t want to see a constant reminder of everything, but it’s going to be reflected in the background. There’s going to be people with masks on, the waiters are going to have masks. It’s going to be a world where this is happening.
I was just ADRing something and there was a shot where I put some bacterial soap over my hands and wipe it off and they cut that out. For the avid watcher if I go off camera doing something you know what it is. That’s what it was. I actually pitched having a COVID test as my first scene coming back in the dock and they nixed that. It’s definitely obviously on their radar and they’re making very calculated decisions about how much to include it. But Zeeko doesn’t your character’s mom or dad have COVID?
ZZ: Yeah, there’s loose points with that, which is really kind of awesome. I think just the coolest part is the relatability between our characters are experiencing what the audience directly just experienced. It’s the first time on TV that, I think, when you watch these people act that they just went through exactly what I went through. I think it’s just going to kind of create, I don’t know just a nice atmosphere, kind of a closeness, kind of bring everybody together in a way. Hopefully plays nice.
MW: You’re also getting Maggie back this season so that’s a nice addition for the team. What else do we have in store for each of your characters here in season three?
ZZ: I think my character so far, is really reactionary. We get to see him kind of get hit with things. We get to watch him react. Another thing really exciting about this season so far is I feel like each character does get a lot more weight in specific episodes here and there. The team’s definitely all showing up. I think we all get some nice pieces.
JS: The fun thing about being on a TV show is revelations that you had no idea went on for your character in the past but a case comes up in the second episode where the results of the case we put somebody away and that becomes in question. I was learning that I was drinking a lot back then. I was still in the throes of my addiction and I was also having an affair on my wife, that’s something new. It was with the partner, the woman that I go and see about.
There’s a lot of depth added to Jubal’s back story in that episode. That was really, really fun. On a show like this, where your stuff is great when they dip into the past it’s worth even more in some ways.
MW: How much does that impact you when you’re playing a character to find out those hidden backstory elements?
JS: It’s great. First of all, the scenes are fun. It’s nice to have a departure, although I love doing what we do in the job every day, that’s something I’m passionate about. It’s really nice to be able to step out of that and speak to his Jubal’s less professional side. It makes it more exciting to get back to the job because you just feel like it’s a whole new character.
MW: Also, this season coming up, you have a new character played by Katherine Renee Turner. What is her impact, on the show?
ZZ: Well, I think it’s a really good one. Definitely she brings a nice tie in from an ex-cop world. Grassroots, Brooklyn raised. We’re definitely bringing a nice New York character to the show. She gets a really awesome intro. She’s really strong in episode one. I’ll leave what she brings to the show up to the viewers, but she definitely has a really kickass intro. It’s really awesome to see.
JS: A lot of it’s about her report with her partner in the beginning. They are working out their conflicts. They’re working out the differences of personality. She seemed so intelligent and nuanced in the scenes I’ve done with her. She’s like a Juilliard trained actress so I think she brings some cool stuff. I don’t know exactly what it is yet, but I’m excited to see it.
MW: To all the FBI fans out there who have been waiting a long time for their show to come back anything you want to say directly to them?
ZZ: I think you know what you have to look forward to. Hopefully, we deliver on exactly that.
JS: It’s going to be a great season. It’s been a lot of months off for these writers to sit around. A lot of months off for these actors, crew members to sit around and want to get back to telling more stories. We’re coming out hard and we’re all really, really excited about what we’re doing.
MW: Awesome. Looking forward to the new episode tonight and all the best guys!
ZZ: Thanks, Matt!
JS: Thanks man, same to you.
Tune in for new episodes of FBI Wednesdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Check your local listings for more information.