Archie Pan­jabi finds her spot on ‘Blindspot’

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Lorena Blas @byLore­naBlas USA TO­DAY Life

Archie Pan­jabi, best known to view­ers for her Emmy-win­ning role as pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor Kalinda Sharma on The Good

Wife, has a new as­sign­ment: NBC’s Blindspot (re­turn­ing Wed­nes­day, 10 ET/PT). In the se­cond-sea­son pre­miere, she plays Nas Ka­mal, who works for a se­cret divi­sion of the NSA.

Nas joins the FBI team that’s been work­ing with the mys­te­ri­ous, am­ne­siac Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexan­der), who’s cov­ered with tat­toos that are clues to a govern­ment con­spir­acy. “I was a huge fan of The Good

Wife, and just love what she did with the Kalinda char­ac­ter,” says

Blindspot cre­ator and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Martin Gero. “When we started to talk about Nas in the writ­ers’ room, Archie im­me­di­ately came to mind. We wanted some­one strong, in­sanely smart and in­cred­i­bly so­phis­ti­cated and al­lur­ing…so we wrote this char­ac­ter for her, and then some­how con­vinced her to ac­tu­ally do it.” She’ll ap­pear in sev­eral episodes, but “we’d love her to stay as long as she likes,” Gero says.

Pan­jabi re­cently took some time to chat with USA TO­DAY about Blindspot and her ca­reer.

Q How would you de­scribe your “Blindspot” char­ac­ter, Nas Ka­mal?

A Nas works for the NSA and has been watch­ing the Jane Doe case from afar for the past year. She’s been brought in to heal some of the wounds that were left at the end of Sea­son 1. She is so mea­sured and con­trolled that she has an un­pre­dictable ef­fect. ... She’s witty. She’s very pro­tec­tive of her team and will go to great ex­tremes to pro­tect (it).

Q Was part of the chal­lenge of play­ing Nas learn­ing the jar­gon used by the FBI and NSA? A Yes. There is a lot of NSAFBI jar­gon, which as ac­tors we re­ally have to un­der­stand to make it be­liev­able and to be able to re­cite it. One thing Blindspot does is it moves in­cred­i­bly fast. It’s prob­a­bly one of the fastest­filmed TV shows I’ve ever worked on. You re­ally have to be on top of your game.

Q “Blindspot” is an ac­tion show. We don’t see your char­ac­ter in­volved in ac­tion scenes in the pre­miere but, even­tu­ally, will we see her kick ass?

A ( Laughs) Ab­so­lutely. I think the pre­miere is sum­ming up what hap­pened at the end of the last sea­son. It very much is a bridge from Sea­son 1 to Sea­son 2 ... an in­tro­duc­tion to Nas and what her role is.

As the episodes go on, you def­i­nitely see her get­ting in­volved in the ac­tion.

Q You had a de­vel­op­ment deal for a show on an­other net­work (Fox). Is that still in the works?

A No. I worked with peo­ple at Fox who were great. They showed me a lot of projects. In this in­dus­try and in the po­si­tion that I’m in, it’s re­ally about find­ing that right mix. And so with Fox, we didn’t. I’m sure in the fu­ture I’ll get to work with them. ... I’m sure you’d agree that I’m kind of unique. I may not nec­es­sar­ily fit into the av­er­age cre­ator’s mind. ... So it’s just try­ing to find that unique match.

Q Was there any­thing you learned about work­ing in TV from “The Good Wife” that helped as you started work­ing on “Blindspot”?

A I think just the un­der­stand­ing that you go to work, you do your best. You can never take it for granted com­ing off a show like The Good Wife that you can walk into your next show and you’re go­ing to do a great char­ac­ter and a great project. ... You can’t as­sume that just be­cause you have a de­gree of suc­cess that it’s go­ing to hap­pen again or that it’s go­ing to hap­pen with­out you putting any work into it.


Ac­tress Archie Pan­jabi says she is “kind of unique” in a cast­ing di­rec­tor’s eyes.

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