'Quantico' star Priyanka Chopra talks an 'explosive' midseason premiere and looks ahead to the switch to a single timeline in the back half of season 2

By Shirley Li
January 23, 2017 at 10:55 AM EST
ABC/Giovanni Rufino
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Priyanka Chopra may have recently suffered a concussion while filming Quantico, but she’s bounced back from the accident just in time for the ABC drama’s return — to a new timeslot, on Monday nights — with more twists for her terrorist-hunting heroine, Alex, to face.

Chopra spoke with EW about her accident, what to expect in the back half of season 2, and how Quantico‘s themes have affected her perspective on politics.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I heard you’re back at work. How are you feeling now after the accident?
PRIYANKA CHOPRA: I feel better. I had a concussion, and it was my first one, so it was a little scary, but the doctors got me home for a few days and then I got really bored and took off. They told me I can’t do any physical stunts or anything, so as long as I’m careful, I should be good.

Great. In that case, let’s talk Quantico: Last time we saw Alex, she’d just unmasked Ryan as a terrorist. Where do we pick up from there?
We pick up at the same exact place, where you’re like, “What? How can Ryan be a part of this?” That’s where Alex gets going. And you start at a place where it’s almost like a recap of everything that’s happened so new viewers get it. But we’re at a point where there’s such a big conflict between Ryan and Alex, so the episode still starts off in a dramatic way.

So she’s still in the dark about what’s going on with him and the Citizens’ Liberation Front. How soon will we find out who they are and what they’re really after?
I can definitely say that within the next two episodes, you’ll figure out what happened with the AIC and where it’s going. A good thing about Quantico is it satisfies your palate, it doesn’t stretch something so long that you’re like, “Oh my God, can you just tell me what happened?!” I like TV to surprise me, and I like the fact that my show does that.

At the Farm, Alex has been taken off the mission to infiltrate the AIC. Tell me about her mindset when Quantico returns.
For her, after Grand Central, her instincts became sharper. So when she wants to go after the AIC, she’s saying, “I know something’s up and again you guys are not listening to me, so forget it. I’m just going to do it myself. I’m taking matters into my own hands.” After everything she’s been through since her traumatic childhood, law enforcement is her family, it’s everything she knows. It’s her whole sense of being, and that is her calling in life, so I think that’s where she’s coming from… She’s in a dark place, and that’s alright, I love that about her, how she rises from the ashes.

She won’t give up. Going forward, I know Quantico will be moving away from stories about terrorism. How do you see the show continuing to tackle relevant topics and reflecting the news?
Well, Quantico has always been ahead of or with the news by being socially relevant. Even in the last season, you saw conversations about Israel and Palestine, you saw conversations about people that look like me or come from where I come from, and this season, we have a female president [Claire Haas, played by Marcia Cross] coming on the show, and that’s topical. We have an episode coming up dealing with fake news and how that transpires. There’s a lot of relevant, current topics that have come into the episodes that will keep viewers intrigued.

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How has working on a topical show affected your thinking about current events?
I’ve always been interested in [these topics], I’ve never shied away from them. I find it amazing to have a point of view through my work. So much entertainment that comes out is just entertainment — and I love that and that’s been great — but to be so mainstream and to have a voice is great. I’m really glad I’ve been given that opportunity.

Quantico will also switch from following two timelines to following just one in the back half of season 2. How big of a change has that been for you?
It’s a lot easier. I think it’s very interesting, because you still get to see what happened in the future timeline and you still have the mystery-solving of what happened at the Farm. Now it’s even more explosive, with more going on.

As long as you don’t get a concussion again.
Oh my God, I hope not. [Laughs]

Quantico returns Monday, Jan. 23, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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