By Jodi Walker
November 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST
Peter Kramer/NBC
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WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist—proceed with caution!

Consider Samar Navabi’s world officially rocked. For as much as we know about Raymond Reddington—actually, we know very little about Red—and as much as we’ve learned about Lizzie’s past—actually, that’s one big question mark too…

You know what, it’s incredibly difficult to get to know the Post Office players on The Blacklist, but on Thursday night, Blacklist fans were finally treated to a crash course in Samar Navabi 101. And we’re not the only ones: Ressler got to know Samar a little better too (in the biblical sense, if you catch my drift, which you do). But with the exploration of Samar’s personal life came the kind of revelation that tends to change a person: the brother she presumed dead for the last six years is actually the terrorist she believed to be responsible for his death.

We rang up Mozhan Marnò to talk about what Samar thinks of Liz, her uniquely outfitted moral compass, and Samar and Ressler getting down to business. And Aram—oh, Aram!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When we first met Samar she was working for the Mossad… then she became Red’s mole in the Post Office… and now she seems to be fully invested in being Ressler’s partner on the Task Force. The world needs to know: where are Samar’s allegiances?

MOZHAN MARNÒ: She’s one of those people who’s governed by her own moral compass. As long as she feels like she is working in service of something that she believes in, then the methods employed are irrelevant. Like with Liz: Ressler wants to get her in custody … and I think that Samar is very concerned that if she is in our custody… she’ll die. Her point of view is, let’s keep her alive. Whether she’s in custody or not is irrelevant. I think the essential character trait of Samar is that she has a very fluid and far less rigid idea of right and wrong than most.

In that way she’s very similar to Red.

That is the reason that she and Red understand one another.

And are they currently understanding each other on any level outside of Post Office-related affairs.

That I cannot comment on!

One of my favorite things about Samar is how she’s really the only person close to Liz that holds her accountable for her dubious actions. How does she think this should all end for Liz?

If [the Task Force] didn’t have a hostile entity among them, if it wasn’t for the Director, then Samar would be like, “You’ve got to turn yourself in.” I think Samar feels that if Liz is going to operate within a system, then she can’t just go around shooting people and be exonerated.

I just came up with an analogy: You know how people say, if you have sex you should be ready to be pregnant? Because that’s what happens when you have sex, right? It’s like that. If you enter this world, you have to be ready. You have to accept that the consequences may be grave. They might not be—you might not get pregnant—but if you’re entering the adult world in this way, you have to be ready for the consequences.

Samar faces some of her own consequences in “Zal Bin Hasaan.” How will the reveal of her brother’s true identity affect that moral code that drives her? I imagine he’s much of the reason she joined the Mossad…

It’s a massively disorienting headspace because everything she’s been doing and the reason she’s been doing it has been upended. And there are two discoveries—one is that her brother is alive, and the second is that her brother, who she thought was dead and is now alive, is this terrorist we’ve been hunting. It’s a massive reveal that sends her mind spinning

Should we expect that to pierce a hole in Samar’s usual self-assuredness?

You know, I got in this really bad car accident this summer and it did this thing to me which I can’t really explain, where I became less attached to outcomes. It was a shocking event, but it didn’t make me doubt myself… it just made me realize, you can’t control anything. And everything you think is going to happen may not happen, and the reason you want it to happen may not happen. These things that you’ve been holding onto so tightly, you kind of let go of. With Samar, similarly, I think that it’s possible she might be more unmoored, untethered.

Speaking of outcomes—ahem—Samar and Ressler slept together.


Is this just her reaction to a shocking event? Or could there be some ulterior motive to Samar wanting to get closer to Ressler?

The way I approached it—and I only know a couple of episodes ahead myself—is just that it’s an extremely emotional day. She’s had an extremely emotional experience and she’s in mourning. We’re partners, we clearly care about each other… I think it’s a moment of vulnerability that’s not really meant to be overanalyzed.

Okay, we can overanalyze something else! I’m sure you know that some fans were really rooting for Samar and Aram to be the Post Office pair that got together, and there was some hope when that photo of you two popped up on his refrigerator…

Wait, were people thinking that we were going out?!


It’s so funny what we do and then how it’s interpreted.  I think the idea behind that was to see them outside the office and then let that hang in the air as the question—what were they doing? Were they getting a drink? Was it Saturday morning? Was it just after work?

So can you at least assure me that Samar and Aram of BFFs? Will this risky Ressler business affect their relationship?

Well, that gets into the following episode, but the effect of having slept with someone else on the Task Force will necessarily have a ripple effect in some way.

The Blacklist airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

Episode Recaps

James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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