An episode of ABC’s Quantico featuring a terror plot involving Indian nationalists has resulted in backlash against the drama series’ star Priyanka Chopra, a Bollywood star in India. The network today apologized to Indian fans of the show, which is wrapping up airing episodes for its third and final season.
“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 network said in a statement. “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.
According to ABC, Chopra, born in Mumbai, a is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has been a National Goodwill Ambassador to India for more than a decade. She is the first Indian actor to star as the lead of a TV drama series.