Warning: spoilers ahead for the March 9 episode of FBI on CBS, called "Walk The Line."
FBI tackled an explosive case in "Walk The Line" when the team had to press an informant into giving up information on close friends under suspicion for a deadly bombing. Far from just another case of the week, this episode put Zeeko Zaki's OA in the spotlight, and not just because Yasmine Aker reprised her role as OA's girlfriend, Mona. The episode tackled the concept of unconscious bias and the significant toll that took on Muslim characters .
OA was in an impossible position as he tried to compartmentalize his work and his personal beliefs when he was asked to exert pressure on an informant who had gotten what seemed to be a fairly rotten deal with the government to stay in the country, but there were many sides to the story in "Walk The Line." Mona wanted OA to side with her against the FBI for the terms of the informant's deal and what he was being asked to do within his community, while the FBI was looking at the big picture with their tactics.
OA finally spoke up about his problems with how the deal was being handled, and the informant didn't get sent out of the country, but it was a complex hour of television that couldn't really come to a comfortable ending, although OA did get a pep talk from Wallace that let him know that he's not alone. Zeeko Zaki, who grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania, opened up about his big episode and shared his perspective on the case and what he hopes viewers will take away from the episode, telling TVLine:
It was tricky, because growing up with all of the stereotypes and the racism and profiling, all of those things weren’t so in my face as it was for other people—especially living in New York and in these cities closer to 9/11— so it allowed me to have this position that a lot of people have, which is, ‘Why are we still talking about this? We can’t just go and arrest every guy named Ahmed every time a bomb goes off.' But at the same time, I’m in this role as OA to navigate those waters appropriately, so I got to go on my own journey with it during this episode. At the end of the day, OA is written the way that he is and the way that I am, which is that lives are what’s important. The job is what’s important. It’s a shame that these things are circumstantial or are happening as they are. For me, it was a reminder that we shouldn’t get too comfortable when it comes to things like this.
As Zeeko Zaki said, OA's priority at the end of the day was saving lives, even if he couldn't be entirely comfortable about the way the FBI does things sometimes, and definitely not comfortable with some of what his bosses were expecting him to do. Of course, the fact that his girlfriend Mona was involved just made the situation more complicated, and not even Maggie landed on the best way to help him. Not a great day for OA, all things considered!
That said, the team did catch the bad guy and save the day, so all the work and all the stress and all the pressure did deliver results that saved lives in the episode. Zeeko Zaki took the episode as a reminder not to get too comfortable regarding unconscious racial bias, and then elaborated to say what he hopes people take from case:
I hope that after watching, people realize that we’re not out of the woods yet. It’s no one versus anybody else. We’re all in this together. We’re all capable of making mistakes and being subconsciously biased. But in today’s world, I think it’s important that we identify those spaces, and then work to avoid them.
OA has had to make difficult decisions when it comes to doing his job before, and FBI will surely have more in store for him as the series continues. He might catch a break next week, however, as the March 16 episode will focus on Isobel's relationship when the case of a political reporter's kidnapping connects to her boyfriend.
See what happens with the next new episode of FBI on Tuesday, March 16 at 9 p.m. ET, ahead of a new episode of FBI: Most Wanted, on CBS. The FBI universe on CBS may be getting even bigger with the addition of another spinoff, while the Dick Wolf universe as a whole is just weeks away from getting another show as well. FBI: Most Wanted recently featured a cameo of sorts from Law & Order, so the ties continue to be present even if crossovers like in Season 2 might not happen for the foreseeable future.