'Arrow's' David Ramsey: Diggle Will Bring Out Oliver's Humanity
The actor talks with THR about how Diggle learning Oliver's secret will change the way they work together -- and Arrow's mission of redemption.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Oct. 24 "Lone Gunmen" episode of Arrow.]
That did not take long. In only the third episode of the CW's Arrow, Oliver Queen -- in an effort to save his bodyguard's life -- revealed that he was the hooded archer known as Arrow.
After Deadshot (Michael Rowe) took aim at Oliver (Stephen Amell) during a high-profile auction attended by a who's-who of Starling City, Oliver took off after the villain, tasking bodyguard John Diggle (David Ramsey) with getting his sister Thea (Willa Holland) and mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) to safety.
While Arrow's face-off with Deadshot (Michael Rowe) ends in victory with a fatal arrow to the eye, Ollie learns that his bodyguard wasn't that far behind him and suffered a bloodshot to the torso. In an effort to save his life, Arrow carries him to back to his converted foundry where Diggle realizes that the hooded hero who carried him to safety was the same man he's been hired to protect.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Ramsey to discuss how Diggle and Oliver's relationship will change now that he's privy to his Arrow identity.
The Hollywood Reporter: How will Diggle respond to learning Ollie's secret?
David Ramsey: It's going to challenge his sense of what's right. The way we've seen Diggle so far is he's a guy who gets his man and takes his job seriously. But he also seems to be a guy who has a sense of what's right. When he was working at the club and Oliver asked him to speak candidly and he told him how he really feels about him. We have a sense that Diggle has a very strong sense of what's right for himself and for the community that he's in. He's going to have some questions when he faces Oliver: Does he blow the whistle or does he make a decision to not blow the whistle and perhaps join Oliver. There are some photos where you see Oliver and Diggle training and that raises a lot of questions about their relationship and if it develops. Ultimately, their relationship goes further than just the chauffer/client relationship.
Might we see him continue to try to protect Ollie during his late-night adventures?
You're going to see some of that. This relationship will move past that. Ultimately, Diggle will be a moral center and moral compass for Oliver and is going to be there to help Oliver with his humanity. At the end of the day, Oliver is a vigilante and has a choice with who deserves to die based on this book that he has, which is really telling you who deserves to die and who doesn't and that will come into question in a large way.
Could we see Oliver and Diggle clash over some of the names in the book?
Oliver and Diggle won't only clash over the names in the book, they'll clash over a great many things and as well they should. There's a big question here about what's right and what's not, who deserves justice and who doesn't. There are some big things that will be addressed in their relationship. Ultimately, they do begin to work together but they don't always agree.
What will Diggle get from this new relationship with Oliver?
Diggle has always been a guy who wanted to make a difference and you see some of that become clear in Wednesday's episode. He made a decision very young that he was a guy to go into battle and jump on the grenades that make decisions to help people -- he always wanted to help people -- and that's part of the reason that he became a soldier and did the tours that he has done and now in the private sector, he feels out of the loop. Oliver ultimately gives him an opportunity to make a difference. That's what he really feels like he's doing and in the process of that he feels like he's not only helping his own sense of justice in helping the community of Starling City but he also feels as if he's connecting with this person who becomes a friend and helping him stay on a moral center.
We learned more about John Diggle's family, with his brother Andrew Diggle's name tattooed on Deadshot, which means Deadshot already got to him. Is his brother alive or dead?
His brother was a mark and killed by Deadshot. He was in the same line of business as Diggle, private security, and was a soldier and through a chain of events that I'm not privy to talk about right now, Deadshot did kill him. This comes up in a conversation between he and Oliver in the next episode about what to do about knowing Oliver's secret is very important.
What was the nature of his relationship with his brother like?
He was very close to his brother and his family. We met his brother's wife, Carly, and his nephew and he supports them. He has a very strong sense of what's right.
How will Diggle use his moral compass to keep Ollie on track? Will he be a typical superhero sidekick?
He'll absolutely break that trend. He's not a typical hero sidekick. He makes it clear to Oliver that he's not a sidekick and that he's not willing to be one. They're on a crusade; they're there to make a difference. Diggle is a soldier and Oliver is presents himself to Diggle as if he is one. Diggle takes some offense to that and doesn't think that Oliver realizes what he's doing to himself psychologically, so Diggle is there to help him with that journey.
Might we see Diggle set some boundaries with what he won't do?
Not per se; it's case by case. At the end of the day, he's dealing with life and death and I don't think that Diggle -- unlike Oliver -- deals in those types of absolutes. Oliver's book is an absolute, people on the list die. Period. Diggle doesn't deal in that and questions it. He wants to know why and that irritates Oliver but at the end of the day, that's what Oliver needs: that's humanity and the human side. They will clash over that but it makes Oliver not just a better assassin but more importantly a better man.
How do you think Diggle's awareness of Oliver's Arrow identity will change the series? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.
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