Arrow: David Ramsey Talks Diggle’s New Mission, the Suicide Squad, and Slade Wilsonby Clarissa / March 19, 2014
When Arrow first premiered, Diggle was a mild-mannered bodyguard, albeit a former ex-military man who knew how to defend himself. Since he paired with Oliver and Felicity to fight corruption and crime in Starling City, he’s grown into a valued member of Team Arrow. In tonight’s all new episode, Diggle takes center stage as he’s recruited to head up the “Suicide Squad” in order to take down a man from his past. We recently spoke with David Ramsey about Diggle’s evolution, his moral dilemma in joining the squad, and how Team Arrow will work together to fight Starling City’s newest villain.
Recruited by A.R.G.U.S. “This is the second time [Diggle has] been ‘recruited’ and I would say recruited with extremely strong-arm tactics by Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. and he’s not happy about it. There was a relationship that Diggle [described] back in season 1, there was an experience that he had in Afghanistan where he saved a life and was charged with protecting a warlord. And he explains this story to Felicity, it was kind of a life-changing experience for him and he questioned whether or not he was a good person because he actually had to kill in order to protect this warlord. That warlord is now a very, very serious threat to A.R.G.U.S. and A.R.G.U.S. looked back at the relationship I had with him, or, at least that experience, and wants to manipulate that in order to infiltrate this warlord’s world. So they recruit me. And my wife, Lyla Michaels, helps recruit me. That’s how we get started and because he is charged now with being over a team, that team is the Suicide Squad and he’s not happy about it.”
Working With The Suicide Squad. Each member of the Suicide Squad are criminals that Diggle and Team Arrow have fought — and put away — in the past. How will Diggle reconcile having to team up with them now after working to stop them previously? “You’re going to understand [why he makes the choice to work with them]. But I think even deeper than understand why he chooses to work with…I think who Diggle becomes at the end and who Oliver becomes at the end and what lengths they’re willing to go to get their goals met [is the lesson here]. I think you’ll also have a new respect for what decisions they have to make. We also have to remember that this Suicide Squad — ultimately this story — ties us into a larger story of Slade Wilson. It might feel like a detour, but ultimately this will tie into that. Diggle in this [episode] has to work with the bad guys in order to take down a bigger bad guy. And Oliver, ultimately, is going to have to make that same choice because Deathstoke will make Malcolm Merlyn look like Mary Poppins. And he’s going to need all the help he can get in order to take down this guy.”
How Will Diggle’s Friends Feel About His Choice? Ramsey said that the rest of Team Arrow won’t know about his mission with the Suicide Squad. “This hasn’t come back to Team Arrow. This mission, unlike the mission that was kind of Diggle-led that was in Russia earlier this season [which Team Arrow was involved in] this is a solo mission for Diggle. The rest of the team doesn’t know. But what’s so great about the writing of this is that Diggle and Oliver end up in the same emotional place at the end and have to make the same choices at the end even though they’re both dealing with different circumstances. It’s just a very, very good piece of writing. But, no, Team Arrow doesn’t know about this decision that Diggle’s made.”
Diggle’s Relationship With Lyla. After rescuing Lyla from captivity in Russia, the two sort of rekindled their relationship by falling into bed together. In this episode, “this is the most intimate you’re going [to see them]. Even more intimate than the Russia episode. This episode really gets into the origin of their…you will see flashbacks. Diggle gets a flashback. [This episode] is a growth experience for Diggle and Lyla’s part of that growth because Lyla works for the guys in grey, A.R.G.U.S. The guys who are working, pulling the strings. They’re the puppet masters. And so she…if A.R.G.U.S. is a problem, Lyla’s part of it. And Diggle has to come to grips with that. There will be conflict in this episode in his relationship with Lyla, but at the end — like Sarah and Oliver at the end — their relationship is stronger. Sarah and Oliver’s, Lyla and Diggle’s by the time this episode ends.
Inter-personal Dynamics in Team Arrow. When Sara Lance joined Team Arrow we saw a bit of tension between her and Felicity, as Felicity had to adjust to being the odd woman out. When asked how the dynamics of Team Arrow stood now, Ramsey said that “there will be some dissension in the ranks but I’ll say it’s coming less from Sara than you’re going to have to be careful with Roy. Roy is going to be a very interesting character in how he relates to the team. There’s going to be some challenges with him. There’s still obviously some challenges with Sara as well. Sara has a very dark past with the League of Assassins and who and what she has become. We saw [in a previous] episode where someone was sent from the League to either bring her back or kill her. These things, they’re not just drops in the bucket. The chickens will come home to roost for Sara. So that’s not over. I don’t know if I’d call this dissension in the ranks so much as it’s another piece of the drama of what Oliver has to deal with in shaping the hero. All of this is about shaping the hero, right? Ultimately all these stories is about how Oliver Queen becomes the vigilante, becomes the Arrow, becomes the Green Arrow. All these stories leads back to him, leads back to his growth in becoming the Green Arrow.”
Felicity in the Field. With all hands needed on deck to fight Slade Wilson, we will see Felicity continue to take a more active role in the field: “I don’t know if you’re getting a line saying ‘listen, we second that emotion [of you wanting to get into the field more, Felicity’]. It’s just going to happen. Felicity will be getting out in the field. But she won’t be learning a martial art and employing that the way Diggle, Oliver and Sara did. She will be used in the field exactly to her talents, on the computer [and] hacking. We’re just not going to have much of a choice. What we’re going to face in Slade Wilson is just really going to be incredible. And we’re going to need all the help we can get in the field. Felicity’s part of that.”
The Evolution of Diggle. When asked about Diggle’s evolution from bodyguard to hero, Ramsey said that he’s been happy with the progress of his character, although there’s aspects of Diggle he hopes are never lost no matter what the future brings. “People have asked me ‘hey, do you want this guy to become whoever with superpowers?’ It’s tough to answer that because Diggle’s appeal has been that he’s the bearer of truth, he’s a regular guy — not an assassin, he’s not at the top 2% of all the smart people in the world like Felicity. He’s just a regular guy. He grew up in the Glades — the innercity — he joined the military, he become part of special forces and then just decided to better himself. That sounds like any guy’s, that sounds like somebody you could live next door to. So I think that’s been his appeal, that’s why people kind of lock into Diggle, he kind of says the stuff that you’re thinking about because he’s just a regular guy. So I don’t want to lose that. And if Diggle becomes a superhero, it doesn’t mean he has to lose that, but it’s just I want the truth of Diggle to always remain intact because I think that’s what’s appealing [about him]. I’m not quite sure who he becomes, if he just stays Diggle. I don’t even know what I want him to become besides the Diggle that we know and love right now. If that means he becomes this hero or that superhero he has to keep those elements [that I love about him].”
Watch some sneak peeks below from tonight’s all new episode of Arrow airing at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.