Zeeko Zaki addresses OA’s trauma on FBI

Zeeko Zaki as Agent Omar “OA” Zidan on FBI. Pic credit: CBS

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for this week’s episode of FBI. 

Zeeko Zaki is ready to take OA to a darker place on FBI. 

The actor discussed how his intrepid FBI agent was put in a darker place as the victim of a crime in this past week’s episode

This put OA in a tough spot handling his own problems while trying to solve a harrowing murder case.

Zaki shared how he feels excited to show a new facet of OA and how this trauma can affect him down the line. 

His words show that OA’s attack will haunt him for a while and put him on a different vibe with cases on FBI.

OA and his brutal attack

This week’s episode of FBI, appropriately titled Victim, had OA being mugged by some criminals, robbed, and hit with a pistol.

OA tried to ignore it to help the team track a possible serial killer as a detective (Carlos Gomez) pressed him on the details of the case. OA refused to face up to it, claiming he was fine when it was apparent he was shaken up.

It got worse when the same muggers shot another man, and OA felt guilty over not speaking out sooner. This frustration came out on the case with OA snapping at people and getting too rough on a suspect. 

Talking to Give Me My Remote, Zaki shared how he enjoyed showing a new side of the ordinarily in-control OA.

“I think the funnest thing as an actor was to look myself in the mirror and say, it’s season 5, I’m aggressively secure in playing OA—here is an episode that is an insecure OA. So I almost had to abandon sort of all confidence in the character and really fall back on how my craft has evolved; the ability to be present and comfortable on set, and to realize that these are new notes. These are new emotions and new scenes and new character situations. So it was really exciting to get to play such a fresh script five seasons into the show.”

Zaki talked of how OA put on a show called “imposter syndrome” as he didn’t want to face his fears about the experience. 

“Getting to put all this imposter syndrome in front of the other characters and in front of my coworkers, on purpose, as written, just really tugs at the imposter syndrome that I, at least, have experienced in this industry, in a positive way. Imposter syndrome is kind of ingrained in us. Hiding things from your coworkers and your loved ones is an example of that. So all of us kind of getting to play off of this new kind of energy in the episode is really fun.”

The episode addressed how OA, who’s risked his life countless times in the field, felt far worse than the actual victim of the crime. That connected to a past victim of the killer, likewise not wanting to admit her own fears, but OA helped her crack the case. 

While the muggers were eventually caught, thanks to OA identifying them, the emotional scars of the attack remain on the usually stalwart agent. 

OA and his support system

Zeeko Zaki
Zeeko Zaki as OA on FBI Season 4. Pic credit: CBS

Zaki addressed that while Maggie (Missy Peregrym) would have seen OA’s problems immediately, his new partner Nina (Shantel VanSanten), took longer to realize what was happening.

He enjoyed that dynamic as it allowed them to bond, and OA perhaps opened up to Nina in a way he wouldn’t have with Maggie. 

“What’s really nice is how we seem to be more vulnerable and open with a stranger on a train than a loved one. We will tell something very deeply personal to someone in passing if they’re willing to listen, and we know that they’re not going to remain sort of an audience member to the rest of our journey. In that same right, I feel like I would not be as vulnerable in a moment like that if we had been partners for any longer.”

Zaki praised his fellow actors for helping him with his performance, as it shows the family OA has to help him through this. He also acknowledged that this experience would change OA quite a bit. 

“For me, I try to really keep a grip on the reality of the character. It’s been five years, and this very potent, traumatic event happened to him. If it happened to him and it wasn’t directly correlated to that case that day, maybe it wouldn’t have been so magnified. But I think the idea is that we’re five years in, this has to change OA.”

The actor stated he was happy about this challenge. “You want a new moment and you want a new layer…But I’m excited and I hope it leads into more deeper, emotional, trauma-related episodes, where we get to really have more relatable cases to our audience, get to dive into there.”

With OA still handling his own assault amid other cases, Zaki is eager to tackle his veteran agent on a new journey for Season 5. 

FBI Season 5 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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