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The Blacklist's Amir Arison Was Very Scared to Take a Swing at James Spader

Find out what's coming up for Aram in this week's intense episode

Liam Mathews

The last two episodes of The Blacklist have been hard on Aram (Amir Arison).

First, his fiancée, Samar (Mozhan Marnò), left the task force because she was losing her memory due to vascular dementia, which was painful enough. But then Aram unwisely admitted to Samar's Mossad handler that she was losing her memory, which put her on a hit list, because she knew too much and the Mossad didn't want to risk her letting secrets slip as her mental faculties declined. So she decided to go into hiding, and Aram vowed to leave his life, too, and go with her. She said she would meet him later and they would leave together, but instead she stood him up and secretly went to Raymond Reddington (James Spader), who set her up with a new identity in an undisclosed location. Aram was devastated, and took out his pain on Red for helping Samar abandon him. He was so angry that he hauled off and slugged the world's most powerful criminal in the face.

"That was the scariest stunt I've ever done in my entire career. Hands down," Arison said of the punch. He went to set early that day to work with Spader's stunt double, because he was nervous that in his rattled emotional state after Samar told Aram that she was leaving, he would would actually "clock our executive producer, the legendary actor James Spader, in the face," he said. "But you know, you take that fear and you use it!"

They ended up not using a stunt double, so Arison took the swing at Spader. "James couldn't have been more of a mensch that day," Arison said. "He's always wonderful, and was really supportive and we actually were able to do it in just a couple of takes." Arison said he never thought Aram would get to do something like that, and he was so impressed with the show's writers for "earning that moment" by putting Aram through an emotional wringer to get there.

Mozhan Marnò Confirms She Is Off The Blacklist

This week's episode, "Olivia Olson," will find Aram going at Red through less directly confrontational but more consequential means. Arison said Aram is definitely up to something, but it's not quite the ominous threat the episode's preview sort of makes it out to be. "I think [the writers] are going to do something that honors who the characters truly are without changing who their core being is, and at the same time giving the audience something that I don't think they necessarily will expect," Arison said.

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 9/8c on NBC.

Hisham Tawfiq, Amir Arison, and James Spader, The Blacklist

Hisham Tawfiq, Amir Arison, and James Spader, The Blacklist

NBC, Scott Gries/NBC