‘FBI’ Puts Maggie Through the Emotional Wringer

by John Jamison

With network TV shows taking breaks over Thanksgiving, many of the episodes this week have felt more like finales than anything else. FBI is no exception. And Missy Peregrym’s Maggie Bell took this week’s episode to another level.

Here we are halfway through Season 4 of the hit CBS crime drama, and things aren’t getting easier for Maggie. Not only did she have to contend with locating a little girl who was kidnapped at gunpoint, but her sister returned and brought trouble along. During “Gone Baby Gone,” Maggie had to deal with the added pressure of her sister overdosing while simultaneously dealing with a drug-related abduction.

It’s safe to say her emotions were all over the place. It was difficult for her to even focus as the very nature of the case she was trying to solve brought the attention back to her sister. That said, this focus on Maggie as a character rather than an FBI agent was refreshing, to say the least.

Yes, FBI is a procedural show in the typical Dick Wolf fashion. But if the audience doesn’t know enough about a character to care, the show might as well be a law enforcement documentary. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that IMDb has this week’s episode tied for the highest-rated of Season 4. It’s rivaled only by “Charlotte’s Web,” the season premiere.

The recent announcement of Wolf shows like Dark Woods echoes the emphasis on story. It’s a serialized program following one story through to the finish instead of changing the situation weekly. Perhaps the production company is putting stress on narrative over procedure.

We know Organized Crime has found success in its first two seasons by doing just that. Maybe FBI will explore its characters more often going forward.

‘FBI’ Star Zeeko Zaki Realized the Audience is Invested in Watching His Character Grow

Speaking of character development, Omar Adom actor Zeeko Zaki is all over it. No one is criticizing the procedural format of shows like FBI. But why do people want to see Stabler and Benson get together so much on Law & Order? It’s because the relationship would demonstrate growth in their characters.

During an interview with CBS New York, Zaki talked about his takeaways following his first season as part of FBI.

“The whole thing I learned from season one to season two is the audience is on board with watching me grow. The character lined up with me personally… he just joined the FBI, and I just joined the show. Hopefully, they’re down to stick with me through the journey because I need them,” said Zaki.

It’s this kind of audience investment that makes the emotional stress Maggie Bell was under on this week’s episode so compelling.