Missy Peregrym is back from maternity leave as Maggie Bell in tonight’s episode of the CBS series FBI and fans will be elated to see the character returns mostly unscathed. When viewers last saw Maggie 7 months ago, she was exposed to sarin gas poison but was saved just in the nick of time by her partner OA Zidan (Zeeko Zaki).
While she may be mostly in tip-top shape physically, her mental health has definitely been affected as she is showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder as she dives into a new case.
Maggie arrives at the office and before she’s properly greeted everyone and has put her bag down, there’s a shooting that requires attention in the Bronx. She’s honest with OA during a brief convo revealing she’s “got some nerves” about getting back to work. OA replies, “Yeah, I was surprised they cleared you so fast. The gas exposure was pretty bad.” But when Maggie admits she was given the option of taking a few more weeks off but decided it was better to get back to the grind, her partner is nothing but supportive and cautiously optimistic.
The case is focused on a deceased male and female, the latter of who was Marisol Lugo, an FBI hopeful attending Quantico. The team is hot on the trail of a gang leader with possible connections to the Bronx murders when OA discovers Maggie has anxiety pills in her trunk. She denies she’s taking any but opens up about meeting with a psychiatrist who prescribed them to take as needed.
OA is nervous about the pills because Maggie could lose her job if she takes them but she assures him she is fine. Just moments later while searching for a suspect named Matteo, she gets a vivid flashback from the traumatic accident, which resulted in her hesitating in front of OA.
Matteo agrees to help Maggie get access to the gang boss on her radar in exchange for protection; he wants to be part of the witness protection program and get a fresh start. But when the operation is botched leaving the gang boss dead, Maggie is questioned about what transpired. What could she have done differently?
In the end, the team gets their guy but the snags they hit along the way could’ve cost the FBI plenty of problems—maybe even lives. It’s obvious OA will need to work through the trauma he’s experienced too, as well as work with Maggie to rebuild the trust between them on the job. His worries are valid, Maggie is struggling and only time will tell if she made the right decision coming back when she did. In the meantime, she can at least count on OA as a friend who is committed to seeing her survive and thrive.
Peregrym spoke to Deadline via email about Maggie’s challenging future and what viewers can expect from her and OA.
DEADLINE: Welcome back! In tonight’s episode, Maggie is not in a great place. How has life changed for her since last we saw her, both personally and professionally?
MISSY PEREGRYM: Thank you, it feels good to be with the team again. Maggie has been off the job for 7 months and has been dealing with the effects of the sarin gas, physically and emotionally. Her world is working for the FBI and she’s been wanting to get back but she struggles with doubt.
DEADLINE: Maggie is definitely dealing with PTSD and it’s affecting her work. What can we expect from her moving forward?
PEREGRYM: I think it would be impossible not to be triggered in some capacity, returning to work, where she was hurt. As much as you can deal with the trauma through therapy, nothing can prepare you for how you will feel walking back into a new case where there is always a risk of it going sideways. She was given Xanax by her outside therapist which could put her job in jeopardy… but it seems to be the best option for her at the moment. A bit of a safety blanket in the immediate moment, but definitely not the solution. I think PTSD is a long-standing issue that sneaks up unexpectedly, and I guess we’ll see how this plays out for her and OA.
DEADLINE: How will Maggie’s struggles affect her team, especially OA who appears to also be dealing with trauma?
PEREGRYM: While Maggie was under scrutiny for her health before returning, OA didn’t deal with how it affected him as much and this puts a lot of strain on their partnership. They need to find a way to accept what happened and learn to trust each other again so that they can do their jobs well together.
DEADLINE: How long will he have to keep this secret?
PEREGRYM: I think the deeper issue is that they both think they are doing the right thing by one another. Maggie has been honest with OA, and he believes that he is being a good partner by protecting her, but they aren’t actually on the same page. There’s a lot of grief and fear underneath the behavior, and it needs to be addressed.
DEADLINE: Would you say things will have to get harder before they get better?
Peregrym: I guess we’ll see… I think it’s already difficult to come to work and want to have your partner believe in you, and instead, your abilities are constantly being questioned. Which again, creates a dangerous situation.
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