NBC’s new thriller series Blindspot tells the story of an enigmatic tattooed woman who is found in a bag in Times Square, her back leading to a number of clues to crimes around the city. The Jane Doe, played by Jaimie Alexander, doesn’t know who she is or where she’s been. Oddly, one of the FBI agents who discovers her (Sullivan Stapleton) has his name stamped on her body.
“It’s a bonkers premise,” admitted the series’ creator Martin Gero, who had been yearning to do a show about treasure maps for some time; as a child he was fascinated by them. “However, we tried to ground this series in a Michael Mann or Paul Greengrass type of vibe,” said Gero.
Tattoos are a lifestyle choice: some people like them while others shrug ’em.
But that divide among the masses never curbed Blindspot‘s path to the NBC primetime schedule. Greg Berlanti, who serves as EP on the show, and during the series’ TCA Summer Press Tour session that NBC sprung to the concept. “Tattoos have reached a critical mass where everyone has them. It’s not weird to see someone in a small town with sleeves. They cross all ages and races. There’s not a stigma associated with them,” said Gero on why his crime thriller show isn’t freaky.
“Most of this is to sell commercials, and all the advertisers are so in,” beamed Gero.
Despite getting support from NBC and Berlanti, what were some of the takeaway notes from Blindspot‘s test audience?
Essentially, viewers wanted more ink and less boom. Explained Gero, “There would be an action beat where they would say ‘Oh, that explosion is too big or doesn’t feel real.’ We were like, ‘Wait that doesn’t feel real, but the girl with the treasure map on her back does feel real?’ Their response was that ‘it feels super real’. So, going forward we kept the show away from the Die Hard realm, and put it more in a Bourne Identity one, where all action and storytelling felt grounded. The type of cases on the show are prescient; they’re what everyone is experiencing right now and the show has a ripped-from-the-headlines type of feel.”
During the session, the big question burning the press corps was: Who from the cast has tattoos?
Alexander revealed that she has nine, which are strategically covered by her character’s tattoos. “I have four brothers and their initials are on my right arm,” said the Thor actress.
Said actress Ashley Johnson, “I can’t show you mine, but I have a butterfly.”
Stapleton mentioned that he has the title of the cult Australian movie he acted in on his arm: Animal Kingdom.