Archie Panjabi finds her spot on ‘Blindspot’
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.