'We've Opened Up An Interesting Can Of Worms': FBI's Zeeko Zaki Addresses That Big Development For OA Without Maggie Before The Season 6 Finale

Zeeko Zaki as OA in FBI Season 6x11
(Image credit: Bennett Raglin/CBS)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 11 of FBI Season 6, called "No One Left Behind."

Only a couple episodes are left of FBI's sixth season in the 2024 TV schedule, and "No One Left Behind" put OA through the wringer with a high-stakes case that also touched on what he doesn't like to talk about from his time in the army. As if that's not enough, Gemma was struggling to be in a relationship with somebody who never opened up. With Maggie absent from this episode (but not for good), OA made some bold moves, and actor Zeeko Zaki spoke with CinemaBlend about what went down.

The case of the week involved the murder of four members of the Taliban and the kidnapping of a Taliban leader, perpetrated by American soldiers who were going rogue to try and trade the leader for a POW who had been left behind in Afghanistan. The situation was hitting close to home for OA, but it wasn't until the end of the hour that it was clear why he was so affected. As it turns out, OA had been a prisoner of war himself, and that was one of the elements of his past that he didn't want to tell Gemma about.

When I chatted with Zeeko Zaki about "No One Left Behind," he addressed the POW reveal and what he hopes the future could hold for OA and the relationship with Gemma:

I think we've really opened up a really interesting can of worms with the POW story, and we have a very interesting and unique jurisdiction with our show with having an Arab American Muslim on the protagonist side. So I love just the idea of diving deeper into those issues and representing that perspective and diving into that personal side of his story, which just like in my personal side of the story, it has always kind of taken a backseat to try and fit in and things like that. So it'll be exciting to kind of dive into his culture and dive into his past and kind of see it through the perspective of him and his partner.

While there are still two episodes of Season 6 left, it sounds like OA and Gemma's relationship is going to last into Season 7, and the show is already guaranteed to continue through Season 9 after a three-season renewal. FBI is also still delivering surprises to the stars, as Zeeko Zaki revealed what he hadn't known about his character even after playing him for more than 100 episodes:

I didn't know that he was a POW at all. My time in the army as a translator, there's some notes about that and there's some things about just serving in Afghanistan. I think [it's] very surface level and kind of what everybody can imagine and expect, but getting to learn this darker side definitely was very nice to learn and very nice to also then get to sort of see that's why he is the way he is. And in the same way, it taught me how good he is at compartmentalizing the things he's been through and then the lives that he's lived.

OA sharing with Gemma that he was a prisoner of war for 22 days not only filled viewers in on a previously undisclosed chapter of his life, but also helped Gemma see why he hadn't wanted to tell her. He didn't want her to think that he's "damaged goods," and she assured him that she could never and gave him the hug that he definitely needed after he opened up. We don't often see OA get so vulnerable with characters other than Maggie, thanks to their strong partnership.

With Missy Peregrym absent from this episode, I asked Zaki for his thoughts on whether OA would have handled the case any differently if his usual FBI partner was in the mix:

I definitely think that she would have definitely played a bigger part in his decision making, but I think our time together over the past six seasons is so ingrained in him that the decisions he made in this episode, her voice is always in his head. And they are such a team. Even if she's benched for an episode, or she's not in the game, she's definitely still there in spirit. And I think the way that it plays out, we see that OA's instincts, whether they were forged from his life before the FBI or during the FBI, are correct, and that just kind of goes to honor his whole system of operation and whoever is a part of that.

All in all, this was a great showcase of of both OA and Zeeko Zaki with time running out before the Season 6 finale on May 21. In a fun bit of trivia, "No One Left Behind" was directed by former Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund as her fourth episode of FBI behind the camera.

Keep tuning in to CBS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of FBI Season 6, ahead of FBI: International at 9 p.m. ET and FBI: Most Wanted at 10 p.m. ET. You can also revisit earlier episodes of all three shows streaming with a Paramount+ subscription now.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).