‘FBI’ Star Missy Peregrym Says Maggie and O.A. Had to Learn to Trust Each Other Again: ‘He Doesn’t Want Anything to Happen to Me’

Upon Maggie’s return, partner O.A. Zidan (Zeeko Zaki) gets overprotective as he worries she isn’t ready to be back yet

Missy Peregrym and Zeeko Zaki in “Ready or Not” episode of “FBI”
Missy Peregrym as Maggie Bell and Zeeko Zaki as Omar Adom ‘OA’ Zidan in “FBI” (Bennett Raglin/CBS)

Missy Peregrym returns to “FBI” on Tuesday’s episode, “Ready or Not,” after six months off for maternity leave and seven months off for her character, Special Agent Maggie Bell. Speaking with TheWrap, she admits neither she nor Maggie were, as the title of the episode suggests, quite ready.

In the world of the CBS series, Maggie was recovering from damage caused by exposure to Sarin gas in a dramatic episode from last season. Here she dishes on returning to the fast-paced Dick Wolf series and how she and partner O.A. Zidan (Zeeko Zaki) have to deal with the fears that she could be injured again.

TheWrap: We recently spoke to Zeeko, who said that O.A. is overprotective of Maggie when she first comes back.

Peregrym: Definitely. Maggie comes back and she’s a bit nervous. I think the bigger issue is that O.A. hasn’t really worked through his trauma from the whole situation. Maggie’s off, she’s doing therapy. She’s got to prove to the bureau that she’s okay and well enough to be back. It brings up a lot of stuff, just being back in our partnership, and that’s something that we have to work through over the next two episodes.

He could use some therapy as well.

Yeah, he doesn’t want anything to happen to me again. How do you trust your partner to go into dangerous situations when that’s what our job entails?

Do you have a lighter filming schedule or are you back at full speed?

Honestly, I thought we were gonna start off really slow. I didn’t know how my body was gonna do three and a half months after baby. And yesterday was my first day. I mean, full-on fight sequence, running – and I was like, “OK, I’m really bad.” It was heavy, heavy episodes returning. It was kind of great because at first I was like, “I can’t do it.” It’s full-on again.

Did you watch the show while you were on maternity leave or did you take a total break?

I tried, and I couldn’t stay up. I just was so tired when I left the show, and really was trying to rest.

They didn’t send me scripts. I mean, I could have read them, but I just was like, “You know what, I’m going to take a full break here and just be with the family because I know this is gonna go by so fast.” And it did. I obviously had conversations coming back, like, OK, what’s imperative to my storyline? What do I need to know? And as it turns out, we kind of jumped back in and I didn’t get started, which was kind of nice, honestly, because I basically had six months off, Maggie had seven months off, and we’re both coming back for Day 1 a little bit nervous, hoping we can do the job right out of it. So that was an easy transition to play.

What else is coming up for Maggie this season?

It’s a big deal that we have these two episodes [to deal with her coming back]. What’s really lovely is being in Season 5. We’ve got a lot of characters established, and so we get to mix it up with storylines, and each episode someone else has a bigger story to play, whether it’s Jubal (Jeremy Sisto) or Isobel (Alana de la Garza). And then we switch a partnership sometimes.

O.A. had different partners while Maggie was out. Do you get to overlap with Shantel VanSanten, who played Nina, at all?

No, I didn’t even get to do any. I did one tiny scene with her before I left and that was it. I was kind of hoping we’d be able to crossover our stories a bit.

Does the baby come to set with you? It doesn’t seem like a show about FBI agents would have a very baby-friendly set.

Abby [my nanny], comes to work with me with Mela [my daughter], who is so chill, thank god. She’s been the greatest little partner getting up in the morning. It’s so wonderful to have her on set.

It feels really good to blend both my worlds … That makes it really nice to be back at work with her. We’ll keep it for the rest of the season. She’ll be at work with me, and then we’ll reevaluate next year.

It’s kind of ironic. I have a weapon on me and I’m holding a tiny little baby at work. Kind of like life, juxtapositions all over the place.