Warning: The following contains spoilers from the season 3 premiere of Quantico. Read at your own risk!
A lot can change in three years. Quantico returned with a three-year time jump after the events of the season 2 finale, and in that time, Alex (Priyanka Chopra) left Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) and moved to Italy, where she built a new family. When the two reunited, she discovered that Ryan had married Shelby (Johanna Braddy) — yes, Shelby, her best friend from their days as FBI trainees. By the end of the premiere, she teams up with some former allies, Owen (Blair Underwood) and Harry (Russell Tovey), along with a new addition in ex-FBI agent Jocelyn (Marlee Matlin), to form a black-ops group working against threats to the U.S.
But is that truly what Alex wants when she has the perfect life waiting for her across the Atlantic? And is this really the end of Ryan and Alex? Below, Chopra chats about Alex’s future, her romantic travails, and how she feels about the series’ new look (including that cinematic opening sequence).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with Alex and Ryan, who are no longer together. Ryan’s now married to Shelby. How did you react when you read that in the script?
PRIYANKA CHOPRA: Well, it was horrible, you know? When I read it, I was mind-blown. She’s super-chill about it and she’s like, “It doesn’t matter,” because somewhere, she understands that she wronged him. They ran away together, and he was willing to give up everything for her, but Alex leaves. She disappears. She knows that it wasn’t right for her to do it, and now that he’s found her happiness with her best friend, it’s on her to accept that, so she can’t in any world hold it against Shelby or Ryan. They found each other in their grief, which she created. So it’s such a complicated, mature way of dealing with it, that I really loved it. And you’ll see through the season, their dynamics always pop up in a weird way.
So where do you think Alex’s headspace is at right now? Is she comfortable with being back in the game, with this team?
The one thing Alex knows, the only thing Alex knows, is she’s a patriot. She wants to serve her country, and her country and her duty comes first for her, before her personal life, before herself, before the people she loves. So that’s something that you see Alex coming to terms with, but at the same time throughout this whole season, you see her struggling with who she is. Like, as a person, who is she? What does she want? She’s always been so conflicted with the men in her life, so what does that eventually mean? You’ll see her really growing this season and exposing a very vulnerable part of herself.
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She did find a family and almost settle down in Italy. How does that affect her going forward?
I think Alex sees [Isabella] as her daughter, almost. She spends this time with Andrea and Isabella for two or three years, where she built a little family with them and they built a family with her, so eventually when she gives them up, she gives them up to keep them safe. She wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world, but she knows that she spells trouble, so she gives up her heart. But you will see both of these characters pop up again in the season, for sure. They’re very close to Alex’s heart.
Now, another addition in Alex’s life is Marlee Matlin’s Jocelyn. Did you learn ASL this season?
Marlee teaches me ASL all the time. Alex can speak it, but I can’t. My brain for some reason can’t coordinate with my hands. [Laughs] Marlee tries so hard to teach me, and then I just mess it up, so I basically just learn the bad words. [Laughs] As with every new language, you know? The first things you learn are the bad words.
What can you tell me about her character going forward this season?
Jocelyn’s a huge asset. She can read lips, she has incredible Spidey senses, and she comes in as a major asset to the team. And we love Marlee on the show — she’s like a big mama on the set, she’s always taking us all out. She’s really brought us together.
Showrunner Michael Seitzman said that each of the episodes this season is self-contained enough to allow anyone to jump in anytime. Can you tease some more of the adventures to come?
I agree with Michael. You can watch every episode and you would still be able to keep up with the storyline because that’s the format we’ve taken this year. With Alex, you see a lot of new things in her life. You’ll see a potential new love interest, you’ll see personal relationships — with her mom, with her family. And because Alex has always been a lone fighter, she has a hard time working with a team. That’s really interesting to see.
Now, I have to ask: Did you see the new opening title sequence? What did you think?
I love it! It’s like an homage to the old-world spy thrillers, you know? Old Hollywood spy thrillers. I love that about it, because that’s the vein of the show this year. It’s very cinematic. The point was to do a full revamp. I really liked it when Michael sent it to me. Before I even saw the show, he sent me that, because he was so excited about it.
Quantico airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.