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Why FBI's Latest Episode Had To Change A Shooting Scene To Be Safer

Zeeko Zaki as OA on FBI
(Image credit: CBS)

Spoilers ahead for the March 29 episode of FBI on CBS, called “Protective Details.”

FBI tackled the case of an assassin taking shots at some high-profile targets in New York City in "Protective Details." A congressman with a reputation for hating immigrants was in the crossfire after the episode got off to a bloody start with a shooting at an ICE vs. DEA hockey game. An agent by the name of Mulder (but not that Mulder) was killed while the other players and bystanders leapt for cover. As it turns out, the original shooting was filmed differently than usual for the sake of safety. 

The agent was shot very suddenly, and in close proximity to some other characters. According to the Twitter account for Wolf Entertainment – a.k.a. the production company behind nine of the biggest shows on television – the episode changed from practical effects to special effects for this shooting:

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Although viewers undoubtedly couldn’t tell the difference between the hockey rink shooting and the various other shootings that happen on a regular basis on FBI, there were no squibs used as practical effects this time around. Instead, the bullets were completely generated by the special effects team. FBI isn’t the first or only show to use VFX for scenes involving firearms, as Law & Order: Organized Crime used CGI for a climactic courtroom scene in Season 2, and The Rookie banned live weapons back in October. 

Of course, using squibs isn’t quite the same as using live weapons on set, but increased safety measures in TV productions has been a trend over the past year. Plus, FBI still used squibs for a different scene in “Protective Details,” when the practical effects could be done without any risk to any actors. Take a look:

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It was a dangerous scene for OA in the episode, but actor Zeeko Zaki was evidently in no danger if FBI was able to use squibs rather than VFX. "Protective Details" was a rough episode for OA on the whole, so at least he wasn’t injured. He had a near-death experience in Isobel’s big episode just last week, and having to work with a congressman who promoted an agenda of hating immigrants for the sake of winning votes didn’t exactly improve his day.

OA was also paired with Tiff for the majority of the episode, while Maggie teamed up with Scola to mix up the partnerships. The pairs might be back to normal with OA/Maggie and Tiff/Scola in future episodes, but it was an interesting change of pace for “Protective Details.” Unfortunately for fans, FBI is heading into a couple of weeks of reruns before returning with a new episode on April 12. 

The April 12 return of the FBI shows will be particularly big for FBI: Most Wanted as it introduces Dylan McDermott as the new team leader after Julian McMahon’s departure, but it’s presumably safe to say that FBI and FBI: International have exciting things in store as well. You can revisit the earlier days of FBI with the full series streaming so far with a Paramount+ subscription, and find more viewing options on our 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.