March 19, 2014 7:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'Arrow': David Ramsey on Eye-Opening Pasts, Enemy Team-Ups and 'Flash' Crossover (Q&A)
Sometimes working with the enemy is the best bet.
Arrow continues its villains chapter with a Diggle-heavy flashback episode devoted to the origins of the Suicide Squad. Recruited by Amanda Waller, Diggle agrees to help catch a dangerous criminal he recognizes from his time as a soldier in Afghanistan. What he didn't count on was being forced to work on the same team as proven criminals Deadshot, Bronze Tiger and Shrapnel -- not to mention his ex-wife Lyla.
David Ramsey talks to The Hollywood Reporter about "eye-opening" histories, teaming up with your enemies, the mystery of Diggle's brother Andy and why Felicity and Oliver won't work -- for now.
How eye-opening was it for you to revisit Diggle's first meeting with Lyla?
It was very eye-opening. Every piece that I can get of Diggle's backstory is always very interesting. I think Diggle's one of the most interesting characters, like everyone else, and I think the appeal and the connection people have with him is that he's a normal guy. Everyone else on the show, particularly Team Arrow -- with Roy, Sara and even Felicity -- are extraordinary. Felicity is the top 5 percent [in terms of] intelligence in the world; she's very smart, she can hack anything. People identify with Diggle because of that -- he's just a guy who decided to better himself. I'm always floored when I get more and more of the backstory.
Because this is a Diggle-centric episode, we finally see Diggle and Lyla's encounter in Afghanistan. Did their initial meeting match up with the ideas that you may have had?
When Audrey [Marie Anderson and I] first worked together there was an initial spark. Lyla was someone who Diggle got information from A.R.G.U.S., which is our "S.H.I.E.L.D.," and she was a lover from his past. The chemistry was such between us as actors that the writers really saw that and the audience responded to it, and they were like, hmm, how can we explore this? She ultimately became a bigger part of his backstory.
What's intriguing about this episode is that Diggle is forced to work with villains such as Shrapnel, Bronze Tiger and Deadshot, who aren't exactly on the right side of the moral compass. How does Diggle feel about having to be on the same team, if temporarily?
There's a constant theme with this episode with Diggle. Lyla says, "Diggle, you're rigid. You see the world through these strict lenses," even though he should know better than that because he's been working with the vigilante, who certainly bends the law. We all see what we're doing as the right way and that's the big lesson for Diggle. There's a lot of shades of justice. Even though he may not agree with how A.R.G.U.S. does it, A.R.G.U.S. is working for a greater good as he is. Their methods are questionable and so are his and Oliver's. I think he gets a good lesson in this episode and I think Oliver gets it too. From here to the finale, you're going to see Oliver and Diggle having to accept methods that maybe they never would have accepted in the past and having to work with people they would've never worked with, i.e. their "enemies," because they have a bigger enemy in Deathstroke.
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim had hinted that Wednesday's episode won't be the last we'll see of the Suicide Squad. How soon in the near future will they be back?
We only have a few more episodes before we have to mount up against the Mirakuru-injected Deathstroke. I put it like this: We're going to need all the help we can get and that's not limited to any member of the Suicide Squad.
What's the likelihood that we'll see Diggle's brother Andy in the future, perhaps in flashback form? Is that particular story something you'd like to explore further?
Not only would I love to, but you will. That's something the writers have absolutely said they're going to get in. We left a nugget some episodes ago and we even touched on H.I.V.E., the organization that hired Deadshot to kill Andy. That's a big thing. Andy's very much involved with that and H.I.V.E., as DC fans will understand, is a big story. The writers have the habit of dropping a nugget that they may not reach again in four or five episodes down the line, so H.I.V.E. and Andy Diggle is a big story come season three.
So still a chance we could one day meet Andy?
That I don't know. I don't know if you'll ever see Andy Diggle in flashbacks but that sure would be fun and that option we have discussed, that is on the table. No one has ever ruled out ever seeing Andy Diggle. With these writers, there's a very good possibility in a flashback we could be seeing Andy Diggle and a younger John Diggle.
Several more Flash characters will be coming by Starling City. Can you share details on their impending arrival and whether Diggle interacts with them?
Very much so. Team Arrow has some interaction with them [Caitlin, played by Danielle Panabaker, and Cisco, played by Carlos Valdes] in the investigation. I can't speak for [the writers], but obviously this is in the same time period even though one will be in Starling City and the other will be in Central City. So all things go well with the Flash pilot and people love it and it's picked up, I can't imagine that crossover universe ever not happening. The characters that you see cross over into Starling City this season, if the Flash pilot is picked up I think that will be more normal than not.
Is there a moment from "Suicide Squad" that you can talk about?
It's the last scene Diggle has with Lyla after he's gone through this experience with Deadshot and A.R.G.U.S. -- and being manipulated by the team. He has a line where he tells Lyla that the one who is in charge of protecting the world is not as honorable as the one who was hired to kill his brother. There are shades of gray and has always been something Diggle has been putting behind him; he likes it black and white. That's the theme of the whole show, that none of this stuff is easy, that all these characters, particularly Team Arrow, are trying to make the right decisions and find the right path.
Lastly, Diggle has been incredibly observant of Felicity's dilemma with Oliver. What's his take on the Oliver, Felicity and Sara situation?
Diggle has noticed, as we know, since he's talked to Oliver about it. Diggle's heart is, in terms of [Oliver and Felicity's] relationship ever forming, he thinks Oliver needs to grow up more. At this point, he probably knows Felicity is maybe too good for Oliver, only in the sense that I think that he knows that Oliver can be the man he should be. Right now, Diggle recognizes that Oliver needs to get his stuff together first before he can be with Felicity.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.