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Blindspot boss on that heartbreaking death

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NBC/Barbara Nitke

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday’s episode of Blindspot. Read at your own risk!

 

As Jane’s true mission came to light, not everyone made it out of Blindspot‘s horrifically emotional penultimate episode alive.

After Mayfair was arrested on murder charges, Jane (Jaimie Alexander) confronted Oscar (François Arnaud) over the true nature of her mission, in which she learns that Mayfair’s ex Sofia (Sarita Choudhury) has been part of the plan: Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) needs to pay for what she wrought by using illegal intel and fake informants to forge convictions, a.k.a. Daylight. And the whole thing was Jane’s idea!

What wasn’t Jane’s idea? That Mayfair would end up dead as a result. That’s right. Mayfair escaped house arrest to track down those responsible for framing her and came face-to-face with Jane. But before Mayfair could lash out against her, Oscar shot Mayfair in the back, and she died. (EW was on set for Mayfair’s bloody end and has an exclusive postmortem with Jean-Baptiste here.)

But that wasn’t the only shocking twist of the hour, as Weller’s father revealed on his deathbed that he killed Taylor Shaw. If that’s true, then who is Jane Doe?! EW turned to executive producer Martin Gero to get the scoop:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When and why did you decide to kill off Mayfair?

MARTIN GERO: We knew from the beginning that Mayfair would be removed from power at the FBI — that that was the main goal of the first season as far as the bad guys were concerned. We started to have discussions about season 2 pretty early on in this season, because we always have one eye on the future and one eye on the present. We started to try to figure out, “Well, what do we do with Mayfair? How do you honor a character like that going forward into season 2?” I was really fighting the idea of killing her, because if you get Marianne Jean-Baptise on your television show, you should keep Marianne Jean-Baptiste on your television show. She’s an extraordinary performer, and an all-around great person. But the more we thought about it, the more it just felt we wouldn’t be able to create a space for her that would honor having someone like that play that role. This felt like this could be a defining moment for the series, and felt important enough to do.

Talk about shooting Mayfair’s death scene. What was the atmosphere like on set?

It’s always a little tense. It’s not a pleasant thing. It’s a really hard scene emotionally for the actors to do. It’s not a comfortable scene physically for anyone, because it’s all on the floor and there’s blood tubes. But it has been one of the privileges of my professional career to work with Marianne. It was really important to me that we got that character right. I can’t imagine anyone [else] having done it. Like I’ve said before, we got our first choices for everyone on the show. I thought she handled herself with such extraordinary grace, charm, and charisma throughout those final episodes. It was an amazing thing to watch, because it’s not fun being let go of a show, but she did it so magnificently. The episodes leading up to her death are some of her greatest performances on the show, and that speaks to what an extraordinary professional performer she is and class act.

When did you tell her that she was going to be getting killed off?

We told her around episode 16, while we were filming episode 16, so near the beginning of this year. And she had a lot to do, because when we really wanted to make the death really count, we started giving her a lot of emotional beats with everybody to really start sinking that hook. She was great. That’s never an easy conversation to have. It feels like a breakup in some ways, because we had become such good friends. Again, she couldn’t have handled it better and totally understood. The reality is, both Marianne and I are fans of shows that would do things like this. So you understand in the making of it that that goes with the territory. One of my best friends, Joe Dinicol, played David, Patterson’s boyfriend. I love Joe, but David needed to die for a lot of reasons. You just have to remove yourself personally from some of those decisions sometimes. It’s difficult, but I can’t say enough good things about her. She’s going to be fine. She’s Marianne Jean-Baptiste.

Mayfair was the boss and center of this team. How will her death affect them?

It changes the show in a really interesting way, and in a way that shows have to do to continue to evolve. It’s going to affect each and every single one of the characters moving forward. Immediately, the next episode is about Jane trying to get justice for Mayfair, it’s about Reade, Zapata, and Patterson trying to figure out what the hell happened, why she’s gone silent suddenly, and it will greatly inform the beginning of the second season.

How far will Jane go to get justice for Mayfair?

She’s willing to go the distance. She’s as horrified as we as viewers are. It’s a defining moment for her character, it’s a defining moment for the series. For Jane, this really spins her around. She’s been testing the water with Oscar and her former self, but we needed something cataclysmic and emotional to really make her make up her mind.

Mayfair’s death proves Jane’s mission may not be good after all. Does that make her question everything?

Yeah, it turns Jane’s entire world upside down, because up until this point, the tattoos seemed to be doing good things — the tattoos are stopping corruption, the tattoos are saving lives. She certainly feels an emotional connection with Oscar. He promised no one would get hurt. Certainly, she was pretty pissed that they didn’t tell her they wanted Mayfair out, but this is the first time she’s come face-to-face with the brutality of that group, that they’re willing to do anything. It’s all just a means to the end for them. That’s just not going to sit well with her. I don’t think that’s acceptable to her.

Mayfair’s death comes during a season where several lesbian characters have been killed off — the “bury your gays” trope. How nervous were you, knowing you had this planned from the beginning, as that started to become an issue on other TV shows?

It was built into the DNA of the show. It was something that when that all started gaining momentum, it was too late for us to make an adjustment. But I think it’s definitely a problem. I think our industry needs to be better, I think we need to be better. I’m glad it’s a conversation that we’re having.

At the beginning of the episode, Oscar says this is just Phase 1 of their plans. There’s obviously a bigger mission at hand, but as far as Phase 1 goes, was it more about taking down leadership first and destabilizing everyone, or was it Mayfair specifically?

It was Mayfair specifically for her involvement in Daylight. You’ll get more information on that in the next episode.

On his deathbed, Weller’s father says that he killed Taylor Shaw. What does this mean? And what lengths will Weller go to get to the truth?

The next episode is about Weller trying to figure out if his dad was delusional and high on morphine or whether that was true. If it’s true, it’s a paradigm shift between him and Jane — and one that I don’t know that they can recover from completely. The next episode is almost a purely character-based episode. We don’t have a tattoo case. It’s Weller trying to figure out if he can put credence in what his father said; it’s Jane trying to bring justice for Mayfair; and Reade, Patterson, and Zapata trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

The Blindspot finale airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. Read our exclusive postmortem with Marianne Jean-Baptiste here, and follow @NatalieAbrams for more Blindspot scoop.

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