‘FBI’ Star Zeeko Zaki Opens Up About Missy Peregrym’s Delayed Return

by Suzanne Halliburton

Zeeko Zaki currently is working on his Bahama glow, but he’s ready to get back to work on FBI. But he’ll still be without his on-screen partner, Missy Peregrym for a few more weeks.

FBI, the Dick Wolf-created drama on CBS, will start production for season five later this month. The show is one of the most popular dramas on TV. On CBS, it trails only NCIS. Zaki, who portrays O.A. Zidan. Zaki was enjoying a nice side gig on Monday when he co-hosted Entertainment Tonight. ET is doing a week’s worth of shows on location in the Bahamas. So Zaki got to do all things beach related, including going down a giant water slide. Soon enough, he’ll be back at work, filming FBI in NYC.

On FBI, Zaki plays an agent who graduated from West Point, then served in the elite Army Rangers. He did two tours of Iraq. Although his character was born and raised in New York, OA’s family immigrated from Egypt. They’re also Muslim. So OA has a unique perspective on terrorism cases from the Middle East. In the episode “Ghost from the Past,” OA recognized a terrorist from Afghanistan that he investigated years ago. The terrorist was presumed dead and other FBI agents thought OA might be suffering from PTSD. But they kept the terrorist from blowing up an airplane.

OA and Maggie Bell (Peregrym) are partners on FBI. But Peregrym isn’t returning to work until September. She just gave birth to her second child, daughter Mela Joséphine Oakley. Peregrym announced the news last week, but she gave birth, June 6.

Peregrym’s final episode before she took maternity leave, also was a terrorism case. She was exposed to sarin gas as she shot and killed the bad guy. OA rescued her and waited by her bedside in the hospital. Bell took leave from the FBI to regain her strength.

This is a scene from Peregrym’s last episode on FBI before she took maternity leave. (David Russell/CBS)

So far, there are no official celebration to welcome Peregrym back to the FBI set. But there is plenty of time to plan one. Zaki thought of a way to incorporate Peregrym’s two kids into the show’s plot.

“Maybe her and the kids will enter undercover in an episode and we’ll get to kind of do it on screen,” Zaki said. “That’d be great.”

Playing OA is Zaki’s first starring role. But the character mirrors some of his own life. As written, the FBI agent originally was supposed to be of Latin heritage. But after Zaki auditioned, the writers made the character an Egyptian American. Zaki was born in Egypt, but moved to the United States when he was about a month old.

“It was an honor to have the platform to have the opportunity. And it’s really great it worked and that we got to show the business side that we got to have all these different perspective in these shows so hopefully we will continue to open doors and change the narrative,” Zaki told ET.

“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.”