The Brave star on the fall finale's intense cliffhanger: 'It goes a bit crazy'

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Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the midseason finale of NBC’s The Brave. Read at your own risk. 

After seven episodes, The Brave finally returned to the series premiere’s explosive cliffhanger in tonight’s “Desperate Times,” which saw Capt. Adam Dalton’s (Mike Vogel) team travel to Tehran to kill Fahim Jarif (Bobby Naderi), the man responsible for the beach bombing. When their initial plan to kill Jarif fails, Jaz (Natacha Karam) agrees to go undercover and meet with him in order to finish the job.

The plan seems easy-ish: Jaz simply has to poison Jarif’s tea during their meeting and then escape from the heavily guarded hotel without alerting the guards. Obviously, everything that could go wrong does. First, Jarif sees through her disguise before taking a sip, forcing Jaz to strangle him to death without making a sound. Unfortunately, the guards discover Jarif’s body before Jaz makes it down to the lobby. Seeing no other option, Jaz decides to jump through one of the windows; however, a guard tackles her to the ground right in the episode’s very stressful moments — which is the last thing she wanted because DIA Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) warned the entire squad that the U.S. would disavow knowledge of any of this if they were captured.

What’s next for Jaz? What will Dalton’s team do to save her? EW hopped on the phone with Natacha Karam to answer these questions and discuss shooting the intense hour.

Lewis Jacobs/NBC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you react when you first read the script and learned what was going to happen to Jaz? 
NATACHA KARAM: I loved it. I was so excited, because once you get 9 episodes in, you kind of wonder where the consequences are gonna start happening for your characters, when things are gonna start taking a toll on them. When I read episode 9, I was like, “Oh, this is it. This is what happens. There are consequences to our actions.” I think it’s even more loaded in episode 9 because she breaks the rules when she runs down from the window to try and take another shot [at Jarif]. She’s got that guilt on her at the same time, and then Dalton saying, “Regardless of me [telling you off] earlier, you don’t have to do this.” For her, there’s kind of no question of the fact that she is gonna do it and she is gonna go in. I love that everything that they do is wholehearted and 100 percent in the show. For me, I was so excited reading it. Episode 9, even before I found out that happened, was my favorite one when I was reading the script, because it seemed to pick up momentum very quickly.

Had you been anxiously waiting for the story to return to the beach bombing, or did you forget about it until you got this script? 
Oh God, no, I never forgot about it. It was a huge ending. It was so dramatic. The whole reason we did that was to show that there’s always infinite danger around the corner and no mission’s ever ended once it’s ended. I was so glad to see it come back around and that it kind of comes full circle…For us as a team, it’s great that we get to get revenge for something that happened directly to us, rather than passing it on to another team to go deal with it, which is initially what we were told was gonna happen.

What was it like filming the hotel chase scenes? 
What was amazing about this episode is that the chase scene, we could do for real, because we were at a hotel and there were flights of stairs for me to run down and there was a glass elevator that everyone could see me in. We didn’t have to pretend with that. There were guards everywhere. I had the visual. I was running down stairwells and then bumping into my castmates, who were looking after me with taking out guards. It started to feel really real, which is really important. We weren’t fighting against that.

The scene in which you actually strangle Jarif to death seemed pretty intense physically. Can you walk us through your experience shooting that? 
When you have stunts, you get to practice them. So, earlier that week, I’d had a couple of 15-20 minute sessions with my costar to practice the fight sequence that our stunt team had choreographed. So, we’d done it a few times and it was good. You get there on the day and you’ve got your costume on and it’s all a bit different. You’re figuring out the space, because it’s not the same as the room you practiced in and there’s furniture you can bump into. They always film it with a stunt team first, and they hide their faces and turn away from the camera. Then, Bobby and I did it maybe three or four times after that as a whole sequence. He hadn’t been at altitude very long. In New Mexico, we’re up crazy high and [the altitude] takes a long time to get used to. Doing physical activity at that kind of altitude is crazy. I’m strangling him. I’m not really, but we’re acting breathless when, in reality, he is totally breathless because the altitude is so high. [His] heart rate [was] so high by the end of the sequence that he actually had to get an oxygen mask for a few moments, which is not the first time that’s happened on our show. I think Bobby did so well just getting on with it and getting through that fight sequence. It was intense. It always feels kind of real when you’re doing stuff like that. I am on someone’s back. I am clawing at them. I am being flung around. We do drop to the ground. There are elements of it that are kind of staged, like the resistance; he’s pulling away as I pull toward his neck, so he’s not actually choking, but both of us are using all of our strength, so you feel exhausted. I mean, I loved it. I never turn away from [stunts].

When I spoke to Mike Vogel and [creator] Dean Georgaris before the show premiered, they made a point of saying this isn’t the type of team that goes rogue because real teams like this don’t do that; however, Jaz’s capture obviously puts them in a desperate position. Can Dalton and the squad move forward from this and try to get Jaz back? 
I can say that you’ve seen the team color outside the lines multiple times [for] things that aren’t necessarily all that close to home. It’s just them doing their job and saving lives. So just imagine how much further they’re willing to push those boundaries and color outside those lines when it’s one of their own. I think episode 10, you find out a lot about these characters and the way that they decide to react to Jaz having been taken. It goes a bit crazy. Everyone’s breaking rules right, left, and center.

Finally, what’s Jaz going through a prisoner? 
[It’s] pretty horrific. The experience on her end is going to be pretty horrific. She doesn’t have a team. There [are] a lot of unknowns. It’s dark. She’s not having a good time, let’s just say that.

The Brave airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC

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