[Warning: This article contains major spoilers about Monday's episode of Blindspot. Read at your own risk!]
Jonas Fischer, we hardly knew ye.
On Monday's episode of Blindspot, FBI Internal Affairs Investigator Fischer (guest star John Hodgman) was revealed to be a double-agent working for the Russian government - shortly before he was swiftly taken out by Jane (Jaimie Alexander). Was she purely acting in self-defense, or was the Taylor Shaw part of Jane's brain telling her that Fischer needed to be eliminated, since he was getting too close to exposing her true identity?
Regardless of Fischer's motivations, the information he managed to dig up about Jane - including the fact that she's evaded her FBI detail on several occasions and has no alibi for the night CIA Deputy Director Tom Carter went missing - is pretty damning. And judging by the exchange between Reade (Rob Brown) and Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) at the end of the episode, his findings aren't going to get swept under the rug any time soon even with Fischer out of the picture.
Of course, Jane wasn't the only one whose skeletons were exposed by Fischer's polygraph. Zapata (Audrey Esparza) learns that the CIA is watching her, after a search of her apartment turns up a bug hidden in a light switch, exactly like the one Carter instructed her to plant in Jane's safe house. We also got confirmation that Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) was indeed previously involved with U.S. Marshal Allison Knight (Trieste Kelly Dunn), and it seems like there may be quite a story there. Reade also comes clean to Weller about dating Sarah (Jordana Spiro), and Weller promptly orders him to shut it down - but only because, as he tells Sarah, he's trying to protect his sister from falling in love with someone who puts his life on the line every day. Something tells me this does not bode well for Reade's future.
At the end of the episode, Jane once again demands answers from Oscar (Francois Arnaud)- this time, in Russian. He seems unimpressed (and maybe even a little amused?) by her new language skills and pretends(?) not to understand her. Interestingly, he looks stricken when Jane tells him she killed Fischer, and tells Jane it was her instincts that told her to fire the gun. He doesn't give Jane any of the answers she's looking for, except for repeatedly insisting that she knows exactly who she's looking for. Instead, he starts to tell her about her next assignment: there's a "time-sensitive tattoo" that she needs to bring to the FBI's attention. Jane insists that she's done working for Oscar and wants out, but that seems about as likely as Kurt Weller showing up to work clean-shaven at this point.
But back to Fischer. He certainly honed in on Jane like a moth to a flame as soon as he started his investigation. Is he somehow involved with her and Oscar's group, or did he merely see her as the most obvious target by which to take down Mayfair? TVGuide.com chatted with Hodgman, who previously worked with Blindspot creator Martin Gero on Bored to Death, about Fischer's untimely exit, as well as his own... interesting theories about Fischer's motivations.
This role will be a bit of a departure for you, for fans who are familiar with you through comedy. How was the character of Fischer pitched to you?
John Hodgman: The role was pitched to me as an officious bureaucrat who is essentially an Internal Affairs investigator for the FBI. And I'm like, officious bureaucrat? That's right up my alley. This shall be no problem whatsoever. ... And then Martin was [on set] and he said, "Oh, by the way, have I shown you the script for the next episode that you're on?" I'm like, "No. Why?" ... He said, "Oh, you're a spy. You're a spy for Russia." ... I'm like, "That's so exciting. I'm already getting to do something outside of my comfort zone. It's non-comedic. It's truly just drain the blood from your face, be a jerk, kind of acting. And now there's this whole other wrinkle? And probably this'll be going on for the whole rest of the season, right?" And he said, "Oh, no, you still haven't read the second episode. You get shot in the chest and die." I'm like, oh, well, I guess I should have seen that coming.
Well, even though Fischer is out of the picture, the after-effects of the dirt he dug up probably will play out for the rest of the season, if that's any consolation.
Hodgman: What do I care about the after effects?! I want to go back! I want to go back to my TV friends and hang out with them and be mean to them. But, that's ok. I will enjoy the rest of the season knowing that my death has propelled the story even further into insanely compelling suspense.
Is there a possibility that we'll see Fischer again, maybe in flashbacks?
Hodgman: I've spent a lot of time walking around thinking about how Fischer could have survived, and there's no way I can think of that he might have survived. I really think that he's dead.
I love the twist that Fischer isn't a likable character to begin with, but then we find out that he's not just this stuffy suit, but actually a really dangerous criminal. What was your reaction to the twist that Fischer was a Russian spy?
Hodgman: It made [the] character so much more fun to play. Especially once I knew halfway through the first episode that he's not merely a jerk who wants Bethany's job and believes that everyone around him is incompetent - but is so convinced of the incompetence of everyone around him that at some point he was recruited to be a traitor. I loved playing all those different levels and trying to find them. Because what I really didn't want is for him to just be a villain. No one believes that they are the villain, and I think that he genuinely thought, A, I would do better at this job than she would, and B, if I get this job, it's a huge feather in my cap as a spy. So, he was really motivated. He really feels that everyone around him is terribly incompetent, and he's not wrong! They took in a completely mysterious amnesiac covered with tattoos and are giving her access to sensitive information every day.
So you think Fischer really was an FBI guy and then he got recruited by the Russians, not that he was a Russian criminal who somehow managed to infiltrate the FBI?
Hodgman: My initial feeling going in, before I knew that he was a spy, was that he was an ambitious, highly competent investigator who truly felt that he had been passed over for the kind of responsibility that he believes he deserved - such as being in Mayfair's office, such as directing the New York office of the FBI. ... He feels real condescension for everyone around him, because this office is a mess. ... Once I learned the added wrinkle that he was a mole working for another government, it actually wasn't too far of a step for him to imagine, this whole system is so incompetent, I'm going to play every side against itself. And who knows if he didn't have in mind to one day become a double or triple agent? Because he just thinks he's that clever.
Do you know if Fischer has a connection to Jane's past - i.e., did he target her because he recognized her right off the bat and she just doesn't remember him?
Hodgman: I don't know the answer, and I will say that it never was suggested to me by the script or the direction on the day that Fischer and Jane might have known each other or seen each other before. It's possible, I suppose, that Fischer knows who Jane is. But Jane obviously wouldn't remember him. That did not seem to be the context, but it very well could be, for all I know.
Either way, now Reade and Mayfair are pretty suspicious of her - in Reade's case, even more than he was before.
Hodgman: Right. And as far as how it reverberates further on into the season, I'm along for the ride as much as you are, because they did not give me the rest of the scripts for the season when they shot me in the chest. That was not my consolation prize.
Is this the first time you've been killed on screen? What was that like?
Hodgman: It's really hard to lie there and not breathe as much as possible. This is the first time I've ever been killed on-screen where you see me be shot, for example. Falling down is fun. That's the fun part, and for me, the easy part. Once you figure out how to fall, I could just do that all day long. I'm a great faller ... but then staying down is the challenge. You become hyper-aware of your body in a moment when you're supposed to be completely insensate.
Any final thoughts you'd like to share about Fischer?
Hodgman: Working with Marianne Jean-Baptiste, from my point of view, my motivation was that Fischer and Mayfair had been lovers at some point. That drove my entire performance. And I created that motivation for myself because I am in love with her, because she's so amazing. I'm not sure that Marianne sees it that way.
Blindspot airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.