‘FBI’: Why Maggie’s Backstory Didn’t Get Much Screen Time When Show Started

by Taylor Cunningham
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Maggie Bell is the star character on FBI. But for the first couple seasons of the hit CBS series, we didn’t know much about her backstory. According to actress Missy Peregrym, there was a reason for that.

Agent Bell is an undeniably interesting character. She was born and raised in Indiana to a family of police officers. And when Maggie left college, she followed in her family’s footsteps. But she was recommended to the FBI after she worked an intense kidnapping case—though, that case didn’t go exactly as planned.

The agent is known for having a well-above-average IQ and innate law enforcement skills. And she’s also a widow due to a long unspoken tragedy.

Everything about Maggie Bell’s backstory sounds like great material for the plot of FBI. However, it took some time for the writers to tell her story. But apparently, that was unavoidable.

“We’re dealing with such huge topics and we have 45 minutes to tell this story,” Maggie’s actress Missy Peregrym told Variety in 2018. “There’s going to be backgrounds of the characters, but at the end of the day, it’s really about the people who are working together right now to solve these cases.”

Peregrym noted that creating a series about the FBI is complicated. “There’s just so much to tell,” she said.

“Even the technology side of the FBI and how they solve these cases, there are so many different facets that come together. So we want to really be true to that and show how everybody does work as a team. And so you don’t have much time to get into that stuff.”

The actress told the magazine that the FBI writers would delve into the history of the characters later in the series (which they did). But their main focus was and always will be about the present day.

“As we’re getting to know the characters, it’s really about their relationships,” she added. “Especially Maggie and OA.”

Why ‘Nobody Wants’ ‘FBI’ to Be a ‘Horror’ Story

FBI showrunner Dick Wolfe is known for finding plot inspirations from real-life events. But he always adds a positive spin to the stories.

As FBI star Missy Peregrym pointed out during a recent Variety interview, Wolfe adds a “good side” to each one of his One Chicago and FBI episodes because “everybody knows the bad stuff already.”

“Everybody sees the headlines and understands the fear and relates to this maybe happening to them or a loved one day,” the actress said “Nobody wants to have a show that’s just a horror show the whole episode and we’re like, ‘Have a great sleep!’”

Outsider.com