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Quantico: Is [SPOILER] a Terrorist Too?

Showrunner Josh Safran breaks down that reveal

Joyce Eng

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk.]

When there's a Will, there's a way to form an unlikely pairing.

Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) found a new ally on Sunday's Quantico in the form of Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson), whom she had dispatched Shelby (Johanna Braddy) to recruit under the guise of "helping" her figure out what the terrorists wanted Boyer to hack. Will does some coding magic before assuring Shelby that Miranda is innocent. But in the final moments of the episode, he calls Miranda to inform her that he knows what she is doing and that she didn't have to send Shelby to turn him -- because he is "in."

"In" for what? It seems too easy for both of them to be part of the AIC, but they both have clearly know a whole lot more than they're letting on, especially Will, if he can just hop on board the Miranda Terrorist Express at the drop of a hat. This whole episode was about illusion, after all.
Quantico boss on that Miranda twist: She's "definitely one of them"

Meanwhile, Alex (Priyanka Chopra) was about to be blown to bits before one of the terrorists saves her life. (Are there moles within the terrorists within the hostages? I feel like I'm getting incepted.) She takes off and runs into a totally free Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor) in the stairwell. And back in The Farm timeline, Shelby and Leon (Aaron Diaz) are getting cozy, while Harry (Russell Tovey) -- after Alex and Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) pull a fast one on him during their assignment -- reveals that he's an MI6 agent in an exchange program with the CIA.

Is Harry really just an MI6 agent (if that)? And what are Miranda and Will up to? Creator Josh Safran gives us the scoop.

TVGuide.com: Can you definitively say Miranda and Will are both terrorists and up to something very, very bad? Or is this some cover? Like Will said, he didn't need to be convinced to work with Miranda.
Josh Safran:
I think it depends on your definition of bad. [Laughs] Sort of the guiding principle of this season is how far will you go, what do you feel is right, what do you feel is bad. It remains to be seen. You can make a decision about it fairly soon. ... This is not a story that you will have to even wait until the midseason point to find out about. All of the cards of the hostage crisis will be turned over well before that.

It doesn't really reflect well on the FBI if Miranda is a double agent. Two of its instructors in the past year would have turned out to be terrorists.
[Laughs] Yes. Although if you're really playing along at home, it's been two years between the two in our timeline, but yes.

That's a little bit better. Is Shelby going to take Will to Miranda? Are they going to be in the same physical space to connive?
I can say that Shelby believes what Will told her. ... The next episode is probably our most intense episode we've had.

Did you always plan on bringing Will back in this capacity?
I think the best way I can say it is yes. It wasn't just Will necessarily, but ultimately we decided on just Will. That's all I can say about that. I'm so cryptic, I'm sorry!

Aunjanue Ellis and Johanna Braddy, Quantico

Aunjanue Ellis and Johanna Braddy, Quantico

Giovanni Rufino, ABC

Is anyone else going to team up, so to speak, with Miranda and Will, or will it just be the two of them for now?
I think that there are surprising people already part of that group, but you don't know [their identities] yet. You know the fact that they are hiding amongst us, so there's clearly more of them.

How did Lydia get out and run into Alex?
That's a direct pickup in the next episode. The question about whether you believe her or not is a different story in the story she tells.

Alex saw the message, "Alex Parrish is inside." Now that she's run into Lydia, does she think Lydia sent that?
She does not trust Lydia in any way shape or form, I'll put it that way. There's going be a lot of them [together] in the next episode. ... I don't think she's thinking about [who sent that message]. I think if you were to find that phone, you would assume that somebody saw her and knows who she is.

Is there a sense of déjà vu for her? She's obviously not being framed for this, but she's sort of being chased again, albeit inside a building.
I don't think so. Like you said, no one's framed her. She's trying to save the day, but that's about it. I don't think there's déjà vu, but in Die Hard 2, there was some déjà vu, so I guess maybe in that way.

I like that she's by herself this year. Last year, she was getting allies left and right.
Yes, she is definitely by herself. What I like about it is that she's totally in control. Not to toot our own horn, but we really upped the action this year. Priyanka has really brought it. Not that she couldn't last year, but I find the action this year is more muscular, more realistic. It's not people in a glass box throwing each other up against the walls. In order to have that happen, she has to be isolated, because every time she comes across somebody, it's immediate, sudden danger.

Who saved her?
So we had some fun like we did last year with The Voice. Last year, we had all the actors do The Voice and blended them together and didn't tell them who it was. This year, we had all of the actors do the voice of the savior terrorist and we didn't tell them who it was. We had modified it so much that I don't even think they're gonna know what the joke was supposed to be that they're going to have to wait to hear themselves. On top of that, Hindi is such that of course gender changes how you're speaking, so we had two different versions of Hindi and two different versions of Alex's reaction to the person. That's been a lot of fun. ... We didn't blend it this time, but we put it through a bunch of different filters. We also figured, they're behind a bulletproof mask, so it's gonna be all weird anyway. But you will find out the identity of that person, of course.

In The Farm timeline, is Harry really part of MI6? Is he being fully transparent?
Yes, he's completely transparent, like he says. That scene is one of my favorite scenes we've ever done, in the bar at the end. That scene is scripted word for word. There's not a single ad lib, not one word off the script, and yet they all make it seem so real and so off the cuff. I went down to the stage for that scene because it was just a master class with all of them.

Is he merely there for the exchange program like he says? He's not on a similar AIC-snuffing out mission?
Well, I can't say about the AIC, but I can say that he's not here undercover per se. He is there for the exchange program. Now that this card has been turned over, you'll learn more about him. These aren't twists as much as they are like, "You're getting to know them."

Giovanni Rufino, ABC

Are Alex and Ryan going to tell him about the AIC?
They definitely don't want to! [Laughs] They try to stall as best they can. ... Harry is out for himself at all times, so they can trust Harry to be out for himself at all times!

Since Harry is part of MI6, should we assume that anyone else in their class is part of another government agency?
I mean, everyone is more than a CIA recruit in that they've had lives, but there's no other hidden government people. This is based in fact. They do have an exchange program, a training program. Even the FBI has a thing where they go to The Farm for two weeks to learn alongside the CIA officers and the new techniques and how they work and all that stuff. We took that and ran with it, but it's only Harry.

Are all the pinned locations on Owen's (Blair Underwood) map all the locations Lydia has been to, like he tells Alex? Does he look at that with a sense of pride or jealousy?
Yes, it's everywhere she's been as part of the CIA. I think both. That is his big weakness in a way. He wants to be proud of her. He definitely is proud of her, but he also can't help but feel that he should have had the career she has. It boils over in the next episode.

Are all of Owen's tasks and assignments going to be related to him figuring out who leaked his name?
They're not going to all be related, but he definitely uses any opportunity he can. That is potentially his downfall. He's putting himself first.

He can't see the forest when he's in the weeds.
[Laughs] He can't! Recurring themes!

He offers Leon that Photoshopping favor in exchange for keeping Leon's secret. What is Leon's secret?
You will find out in Episode 9. ... It has to do with [his time in prison].

Leon and Shelby have great chemistry.
They have such great chemistry. It's one of those things where you create the story and you're a few episodes ahead in the story by the time you shoot, and you're praying, "I hope this works!" Because you never know. And they've never interacted before. They've interacted as people, as Johanna and Aaron at table reads and stuff, but on screen, it was instant. I've been loving where we're taking Shelby's character this year, including Johanna. She's growing up before everyone's eyes to have this mature relationship potentially, with a mature adult.

Are they both purely attracted to each other or are they playing each other? Or both?
You will find out in the next episode. There's a really beautiful scene between Shelby and Nimah (Yasmine Al Massri) that sort of explains Shelby's point of view on the matter. It takes a little longer to get inside Leon's head. Shelby's playing with fire.

Is Nimah right when she says that Shelby misses the adrenaline of being in the field?
I believe Nimah is right, but I think it's more complicated than that with Shelby. Shelby will come to grips with that in the next episode. This came out of a conversation we had with Veronica Maxwell, our FBI consultant in Season 1, talking about how an agent only gets two or three things in their lives and you have to be comfortable with that instead of chasing for more, because then you're not doing your job properly. It's not about "here's the case that's going to take all my energy to crack." You can't expect all of them to be monumental. What she said that was the most powerful was that you have to be grateful to only have two or three [cases] in your life, because that means there weren't that many monumental things that needed to be saved or fixed.

Does the CIA really just drug people and stage a threesome in the middle of a classroom?
I can't say whether the CIA does that, but I can tell you that definitely spies do that. You have to make things look like other things. Much like what ended up happening with Crawford and Leon and that photo, illusion is one of the greatest assets for an intelligence officer to have. Whatever illusion you have to present, you will present it. ... It was my idea to have them be in a threesome and I was like, "Maybe this is going too far," but then I found out that it wasn't at all. Then I was like, "Great! We're doing it!" But I did worry for a moment.

You got more underwear acting out of it.
So much underwear acting! And I just love my cast. They're just game for anything. It was so cute. Russell, Jake and Pri in bed together!

My co-workers who love Russell Tovey thank you. I made some gifs for them.
Oh, good! I mean, look, Russell is blessed by whatever it is he's blessed by. The whole cast is. I think it got cut ... but there was a joke in Episode 4 or 5, "Clearly The Farm recruits from the same modeling agency as Quantico" ... which is our joke here. Aaron Diaz, David Lim, Jake -- I mean, all of them! Don't even get me started on the women. You go down there [to set] and you feel shame, like, "I'm gonna go to the gym right now," except it's the writers' room and you sit and eat.

Quantico airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.