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FBI's Zeeko Zaki Talks The 'Different' Way Season 5 Begins And OA 'Holding Up' Without Maggie

Zeeko Zaki as OA in FBI Season 5 premiere
(Image credit: CBS)

FBI is finally returning to CBS for Season 5, and all signs point toward the team facing a threat that is huge even by their veteran standards in the first episode of the new season. The hit drama is returning after Season 4 ended without airing its planned finale, in light of a real-life tragedy. Based on what actor Zeeko Zaki (who has played OA from the very beginning) shared with CinemaBlend about what’s on the way, FBI won’t miss a beat… even with Maggie still out of commission. 

The Season 5 premiere on September 20 is called “Hero’s Journey,” and will feature the team facing the considerable problem of a massive bomb possibly in the wrong hands. Although fans will have to wait and watch to see all the details, the episode description is quite different from what actor Jeremy Sisto described for the Season 4 finale that never aired. 

Speaking with CinemaBlend, Zeeko Zaki weighed in on whether Season 5 will pick up where Season 4 would have left off or start with a blank slate. Apparently, this one will get off to a “different” kind of start, as he shared:  

I think in true Wolf [Entertainment] fashion, the premieres are always very big, and our episodes traditionally don't connect or continue. So I think, from what I can feel, this one's not a fresh slate. We come in in the middle of an investigation, which is kind of different and exciting. It's just gonna be a really, really nice way of bringing everybody back into the world, and just reminding everybody of the scope, and just all the different things that we are dealing with. I think it's just going to be an exciting [episode] and show the health of the series and just get back into it. But it's definitely a really big episode, and a lot of really good stuff that ties a lot of things together, loose ends and not. So we'll see.

FBI tends to be one of Wolf Entertainment’s more procedural series, as opposed to Law & Order: Organized Crime as a more serialized show. Fans clearly won’t be missing any important plot details just because of how Season 4 ended without its intended finale, and the “different” beginning to Season 5 is something to be excited about. 

Cases generally start with the criminals of the episode breaking the law, and then the FBI team beginning their investigation. This time, the episode will pick up with the investigation already ongoing, and the official description reveals that a sting operation will be involved. Zaki previewed what’s on the way with OA’s undercover work:

The undercover opportunity that we have this episode was really exciting for me as an actor and character. I got to take off the tie and the jacket and put on some fun glasses. It's just really nice that we got to lean into it, and remnants of Mission: Impossible energy when we just start in the middle of an investigation and everybody catches up. It's just kind of refreshing to start that way, a little bit differently than the traditional briefing and assignments and going that route. So I hope it makes it feel like we never left and that we're right back in it.

What better way to start a season than to be “right back in it” with the team? Even though the agents have had to work without Maggie ever since she was exposed to sarin gas in the second half of Season 4 (so that actress Missy Peregrym could go on maternity leave), they’ve managed to keep fighting the good fight. 

The arrival of Shantel VanSanten’s Nina Chase to fill Maggie’s vacancy has certainly helped, but OA has still been without his longtime partner. He stepped up as more of a leader toward the end of Season 4 without Maggie, so how is he doing without her as Season 5 picks up? Zeeko Zaki shared:

He's definitely holding up, which is really nice. I think the fun thing for me as OA has been, you know, how is he going to lead when Maggie's gone? And I think we're kind of just exploring the simplicity of a good leader provides a space for others to lead and things like that. So I'm hoping that the team energy is really what feels like is leading the show. I feel that everybody has really carried a lot of weight and it should feel cohesive and all together and all there, and we'll see.

Missy Peregrym has confirmed that she’ll be back in Season 5, but OA and the rest of the team will be able to keep solving cases in the meantime. FBI did mix up the partnerships throughout the fourth season to show how the different characters worked together instead of always sticking with OA/Maggie and TIff/Scola. Nina Chase has fit into the team dynamic, and will be sticking around for at least a little while longer, according to the actress.

Be sure to tune in to CBS on Tuesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET to catch the Season 5 premiere of FBI (opens in new tab). If you missed the final episode of Season 4 that aired back in the spring, you can find it streaming now with a Paramount+ subscription. FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted both follow the parent series on September 20, so prepare for a full night of crime-fighting action on CBS! 

Don’t forget to check out our rundown of what to remember from the FBIs from end of last season, and take a look at our 2022 TV premiere schedule to keep planning ahead for primetime this fall. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.