The episode outraged some fans of the Mumbai-born Bollywood star, who viewed it as a betrayal of her people. It led to the network and the series producers apologizing to Indian fans who took exception to the characterizations.
Quantico is wrapping up its third and final season. Chopra said she was “saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt” by the episode. “That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologize. I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.”
On Friday, the network and producers issued a statement that took pains to exclude any Chopra role in the storyline. “ABC Studios and the executive producers of Quantico would like to extend an apology to our audience who were offended by the most recent episode, ‘The Blood of Romeo.’ The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it. She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series.
“Quantico is a work of fiction. The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.”
The episode’s plot centered on a physics professor at a U.S. university who steals weaponized uranium in a plot detonate a bomb in New York. When the plotter is caught, Chopra’s character Alex Parrish discovers he has Hindu prayer beads, confirmation that he is an Indian nationalist, and the bombing was meant to frame Pakistan.
ABC said it pulled the episode before it could air in India (it aired in the U.S. on June 1). But Chopra, among the rare Bollywood-Hollywood crossover successes, has been the subject of online attacks, with calls to boycott her work and the brands she endorses in the territory like Samsung.