'Quantico' showrunner Josh Safran answers burning questions
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Credit: ABC/Giovanni Rufino

This week on Quantico, Claire’s special task force tackled the proliferation of fake news — as well as their ability to work with each other. They’re starting to gel in both good and bad ways. One of the bad ways: missing the signals from León (Aarón Díaz), who showrunner Josh Safran confirms is dead at the end of the episode. “That body is Leon,” he tells EW. “Dead is dead on Quantico.”

Of course, that’s not the only development from episode 15. Below, Safran talks the team members’ mindsets as they continue to operate under the radar.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You told me a while back you would have an episode about fake news. When you broke the story for this hour, were there any other ideas for what the fake news item would be?
JOSH SAFRAN: We didn’t want to do anything that was supremely parallel to the world events. We just wanted to talk about fake news, so we took it like a Law and Order episode and we made our own version of fake news. I was more interested in the idea of who was hired to create the fake news as opposed to the fake news itself, so that’s where the character of Mallory was born from. She’s somebody who’s seen how fake news has permeated the media, creates that fake news story, and it’s the very thing that leads to her own downfall. So it was a fun plot to come up with because it was taking something that’s newly in the world and creating a plot around it.

Dayana listens as she hears that Mallory won’t be protected by the team. How does knowing that their work can’t save everyone affect Dayana going forward?
It doesn’t sit well with Dayana. I think it’s hard for Dayana, who’s always struggled with the bad stuff she did in the past and the good stuff she was doing in the present. She’s finally gotten to a place where she can balance what she’s doing because she’s found a moral way through it that works for her and yet here she is again watching people be compromised against their will, and I think that is incredibly hard for her.

Shelby and Clay have been spending a lot more time together. Are you planting a seed for a romance between them? She’s already been involved with his brother and his father…
It’s so funny, when we told Johanna [Braddy, who plays Shelby] that Clay the character was going to be on the show, she was like, “Oh my God, whatever you do, I can’t sleep with him!” When I told Hunter [Parrish, who plays Clay] who he’d be playing he was like, “Well of course I have to sleep with Shelby!” In his mind, you couldn’t tell that story without going there, so I’d say that the answer of what their dynamic is is that it lies somewhere in the middle.

Johanna always talks about how Shelby is like Goldilocks in that she has to find the one that’s just right and maybe Clay is the one that’s just right, but it takes some interesting twists and turns, especially after the introduction of Clay’s fiancée in episode 16, Maxine, played by Krysta Rodriguez, who will be in the show for several episodes, so that’s not just a one-and-done thing. I think that Shelby and Clay may be growing closer together and might actually feel a connection but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll act on that connection… I don’t know if they can be friends, but they definitely are very tied together.

Nimah was introduced as the outsider to the team. Would you say that by the end of this episode she’s feeling more comfortable with where she is?
She is but she still has trouble being accepted. I think she’ll never truly accept herself, even though Shelby has that conversation with her about how the person she really has to forgive is herself. I don’t think that’s easily said and done. I think Nimah still has to go through some more if she’s even able to do that, and we will be seeing Raina and they will have to deal with each other, and that story is really about, can those sisters bridge that gap that’s between them? And some danger may befall Raina that Nimah has to help out on in coming episodes, so you’ll see a whole bunch of Raina and both of them together, because we haven’t done that that much this year.

Lastly, how does Harry’s addition affect the team’s dynamics?
I think that Harry has always been a lone gunman who’s out for himself but he’s always been the cheerful lone gunman. I think moving forward he’s going to have to figure out whether he’s truly capable of being a part of the team or if he has to do this on his own.

Quantico airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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