‘FBI’ Star Zeeko Zaki Opens Up About the ‘Honor’ of Playing a Dick Wolf Character

by Suzanne Halliburton

As OA Zidan, Zeeko Zaki plays the perfect sort of FBI agent. He’s a West Point grad and a former Army Ranger with two tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He knows how to bust up terrorist rings and investigate other hideous criminals.

But he also has another perspective that sets him a part from his fellow agents. OA is of Egyptian descent and a practicing Muslim. In fact, OA shares similar traits with Zaki. And that’s what made him such special actor and character in the eyes of FBI creator Dick Wolf. As network TV tries for more diversity in casting, there still are few Muslims on the air. In fact, Wolf created a character for Zaki after he saw his audition.

“It was an honor to have the platform, to have the opportunity,” the FBI star told Entertainment Tonight. “And it’s really great it worked … and that we got to have all these different perspective in these shows. So hopefully. we will continue to open doors and change the narrative.

“The best part about it was when I did the research for the show, I realized how I was more like most of the FBI agents… And then we realized our job was to show the world the diversity and the enthusiasm of all the agents.”

Zeeko Zaki plays OA Zidan on FBI. (David M. Russell/CBS)

Like His Character on FBI Zaki Is a Practicing Muslim

On the show, OA was born in the United States and raised in NYC. In real life, Zaki was one month old when his parents immigrated from Egypt to Pennsylvania. This was back in 1990. Zaki’s grandparents already were living here.

But back in present day, Zaki was spending some of his final free, relaxing days on set with ET. He had a very special assignment. Entertainment Tonight is broadcasting from the Bahamas. And Zaki was the show’s co-host for Monday’s episode. Part of the fun was watching the 6-foot-5 Zaki go down a giant water slide.

Production for FBI starts later this month. And for the first few weeks of season five, Zaki’s OA will be without his partner, Maggie Bell. Missy Peregrym plays Bell. And she recently gave birth to her second child. Peregrym isn’t expected back from maternity leave until September. Peregrym’s final FBI episode in season four ran April 19. In “Fear Nothing,” Bell and OA chased a terrorist armed with deadly sarin gas. His plan was to launch an attack somewhere in New York.

Maggie and OA found Hakeen Abbas, the terrorist, at a lab. The two agents didn’t have time to put on protective gear. Maggie found Abbas. She shot and killed Abbas as he tried to get away. But Abbas knocked over a canister of the gas. Within seconds, the doors to the lab automatically locked to keep the gas from escaping. That left Maggie trapped. OA could see his partner through the window, but he couldn’t get the door to open. Finally, he jammed a fire extinguisher into the window, which unlocked the doors.

At this hospital, OA held Maggie’s hand and told her “I can’t do this without you, I don’t want to do this without you.” 

Season five of FBI premieres Sept. 20.