Being dosed with an experimental memory-loss drug, covered in tattoos and left naked in a bag in Times Square sounds like a really bad way to wake up, but for viewers of NBC’s Blindspot, it’s just the start of one giant treasure hunt.
Each tattoo strewn across Jane Doe’s (Jaimie Alexander) body contains a riddle that the FBI, including Agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), will need to solve in order to unlock the mystery of her identity. “It’s not just lip service,” says executive producer Martin Gero, a self-professed fan of puzzle-centric entertainment like The Goonies and The Da Vinci Code. “These are actual clues and codes that if the audience wants to pause and think about it, it’s actually something they can [decipher].”
The show even enlisted the help of New York Times puzzle expert David Kwong to make sure they’re solvable to both the average and diehard viewer. “Everything has a meaning,” Gero says. “Everything is part of an incredibly complicated backstory — and the reasoning to do it this way is actually pretty sound even though it seems totally crazy. Nothing on her body was put haphazardly.”
The producers themselves have a general sense of what every tattoo means, even if they haven’t mapped out exactly how each will be used. With well over 100 hundred tattoos spread across her body, Gero doubles down by adding that many of the tattoos have more than one meaning — though none of them are inside jokes among the writers. “No, and now I regret not doing that, that’s a great idea,” Gero says with a laugh. “We were so focused on story over everything.”
As a special treat for EW readers, Gero clued us in on the symbolism of two of the tats to help get the amateur sleuths started. Happy hunting!
“This tattoo is actually an address,” Gero says of the two leaves on the back of Jane’s left knee. “They’re a great start to episode 4. There’s something that the audience can kind of figure out. All I can say is that it is a place. There are definitely symbols that help out, and unfortunately because of TV rules, it’s a fictional address, but you should be able to figure out how it all works and how someone could get an address from that.”
“The letters and numbers unlock a person,” Gero says of the ink on Jane’s right thigh. But you can’t solve it until viewers see how Jane and Weller decipher the tattoo clue in the pilot. “Luckily we’re going to do that for you,” Gero says. “There’s an encrypted message hidden in there that can actually be decoded by anybody that figures it out.”
Blindspot will premiere Monday, Sept. 21 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
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