[Warning: This article contains major spoilers about Monday's episode of Blindspot. Read at your own risk!]
An "anonymous tip" about the "time-sensitive" tattoo that Oscar (Francois Arnaud) warned Jane about in last week's episode points to the case of a prisoner who's scheduled to be executed the next night. The man is on death row after being convicted of murdering his girlfriend, and an investigation into the crime leads the team to an underground prostitution ring. The team sends Zapata (Audrey Esparza) undercover to facilitate a sting operation on the group that's trafficking in young women to serve as the, um, entertainment for wealthy male clients at parties thrown by a wealthy businessman.
Meanwhile, Jane's duplicity is taking its toll. She initially takes a sick day, but can't resist coming into the office to tell Dr. Borden (Ukweli Roach) that she wants out of the FBI since everyone mistrusts her now. But, after Zapata's near-death experience undercover (more on that later) leads to a bonding moment between the two women, Jane decides that maybe it's Oscar and her past self who are not to be trusted. She's done, she tells Oscar, who is prepared for just such a response. He tells Jane that his higher-ups already have a plan in place: If Jane starts to push back on their plan, they're going to kill Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) - who, by the way, has resumed his romantic relationship with Allison Knight (Trieste Kelly Dunn).
TVGuide.com chatted with Esparza to get her take on Zapata's harrowing experience, as well as what the fallout will be from the investigation into her dealings with Tom Carter.
Zapata willingly puts her life on the line this episode. What's motivating her?
Audrey Esparza: I think something that was pretty huge for me in reading the episode is how interchangeable our lives are. I think in this particular episode, the women who are being targeted were all Hispanic, and it's really easy for Tasha to put herself in their shoes and realize that it is a luck of the draw. In many ways, a border differentiates her from the women who she's trying to save. So I think really seeing herself in them and being able to put herself in their shoes and empathize with these women is what drove her initially. And being a fierce cop is just kind of who she is.
When you started reading the script, were you worried Zapata was about to be killed off?
Esparza: (Laughs). I wasn't worried she was going to be killed off. Honestly, as soon as I read it, I called Martin Gero, our creator, and just thanked him. I just really appreciated that he trusted me with such a big chunk of the script, and that he was excited to write this character and we were finding out more about who she is and really where her moral compass lies. Everybody in the show can be a little shifty. There are lines of grey that we all walk. I think at the end of the day, we learn that she's good and has good intentions.
What is the fallout going to be from this on Tasha going forward?
Esparza: Going forward, there are a couple of things that she learns, and I think the most important is that she believes that whoever Jane is, wherever she comes from, her tattoos seem to be doing good. As questionable as Jane the character is to Tasha, I think after this episode she is able to let down her guard and say, you know what? Whatever it is you're bringing, I'm on your side, because clearly it helps these women. In terms of who she is personally, Tasha is a character who very much battles with her own demons. And I think that this experience, as traumatic as it is, may trigger some old habits that she uses as a coping mechanism.
In addition, she's being watched by the feds and we find out that her gambling ring has been busted. How long will it be before her colleagues find out?
Esparza: The audience can expect for this to come to a head pretty quickly. The consequences of her lifestyle choices have now infiltrated her work life in a very real way that very much threatens who she is, what she does for a living, and her friendships. I think what kind of played well with this particular episode was that she was so vulnerable. The idea of being watched, of being followed, of trying to live your life and realizing that there was somebody watching your every move was such an invasion of privacy for her character, for her as a woman, and for her as an FBI agent, that it just kind of makes her question how good she is at her job. I mean, she's an FBI agent. She didn't realize she's been followed the whole time. As women in general, that invasion of privacy is absolutely horrific.
As part of that investigation, we meet attorney Matthew Weitz (Aaron Abrams). It was previously reported that his character will be a love interest for Zapata. Is that true?
Esparza: I was so excited about that, [but] I found out from Martin [Gero] there was actually a mistake and it's not true at all. Aaron is on the show in a different capacity. He does interact with Tasha, not in a way that she likes at all. I can say that [he] plays an incredibly hungry, ambitious attorney that will make everybody's lives difficult.
Blindspot airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.