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Team Arrow is back on again.
Diggle made his return to the Arrow crusade when Sara’s untimely death changed his immediate priorities, a decision that wasn’t difficult for the Afghanistan veteran to make. “When Diggle comes back to the team in hopes of finding Sara’s killer, he’s back in full-duty mode, he’s fully active,” David Ramsey tells The Hollywood Reporter. “In his mind, all those worlds can co-exist.”
When Arrow returns Wednesday, Diggle will travel to thousands of miles away — the island of Corto Maltese to be more specific — to help Oliver bring back his sister, Thea, to Starling City and investigate the off-the-grid A.R.G.U.S. operative Mark Shaw (David Cubitt), who has surprising ties to Lyla.
Ahead of “Corto Maltese,” Ramsey answers five questions about season three for The Hollywood Reporter.
With Diggle back on Team Arrow, mainly to help find Sara’s killer, is there a limit to how far he’ll go now that he has a family to think about?
The short answer is there is no limit. There’s never been a problem with Diggle and the mission per se; Oliver [is the one who] has the problem. For Diggle, there’s a world that exists where he can have a functional relationship with Lyla and their child, and be a crime fighter. There’s no conflict for Diggle. Oliver, because he hasn’t come to the same place yet, is still dealing with that and he’s — to a great degree — projected that problem onto Diggle. Diggle’s crucible was Afghanistan and he’s become much more adjusted to his life than Oliver has [to his].
There is an evolution to Diggle and Oliver’s dynamic, where the two haven’t been seeing eye to eye on a lot of fronts, most notably Diggle and his conflicting responsibilities between Team Arrow and his immediate family.
The conflict Oliver has with Diggle being in the field again, even while having a family, is going to be less [of an issue] between Oliver and Diggle because Diggle really is his own guy. Unless you lock the Foundry door and change the key code, you’re not going to keep him from going down there. Oliver’s argument that you saw in the second episode — “Listen you can’t do this because you have a family” — that’s not going to be a way to keep Diggle off the team. Oliver isn’t going to undermine Diggle. Diggle came back to the team because he saw that Oliver needs him. He’s seen that Oliver has needed him since the very beginning — and Oliver really does understand that.
Speaking of last week’s episode, there was a moment between Diggle and Oliver in the Foundry where Oliver reveals his vulnerability when he admits that he “doesn’t want to die down here.” Is there added motivation for Diggle to keep Oliver from veering off?
I think so. There’s a great moment when Diggle says to Oliver, “You’d be dead 10 times over if it wasn’t for me.” There is a sense of responsibility that he holds and a certain affection where Oliver needs to be protected and needs to be helped. Oliver didn’t see that in the beginning and now he’s seen the worth of Diggle. Is there some extra motivation to help Oliver through this time? Absolutely. Diggle has seen from the beginning that Oliver has suffered from post-traumatic syndrome in the worse way. Diggle had a great line to Oliver when he joined the crusade, “You don’t know what killing people does to your soul, how it scrapes away a little bit of your humanity,” and that’s always been his purpose with Oliver, to guide him to this place where he can be a human and a crime fighter. That conversation in the Foundry in the second episode where Oliver says he doesn’t want to die there, it’s really that simple in Diggle’s mind: You can make a choice to be better than who you are. If anybody can see through the fog with Oliver, it’s Diggle. There isn’t a new motivation, except maybe, “How do we keep Oliver on course?”
In this week’s episode, the team travels to Corto Maltese to bring Thea back and along the way they encounter rogue A.R.G.U.S. operative Mark Shaw. What is Shaw’s history to Diggle and what is their interaction like?
Shaw had a friendship and a relationship with Lyla in the past and Diggle is sent there by Lyla to find him. We find out through the course of what’s going on with Corto Maltese and Shaw that A.R.G.U.S. and Lyla could be compromised, so there’s extra motivation for Diggle to get to the bottom of this.
Should there come a point where Diggle is forced to choose his Arrow family or his immediate family, where would he fall?
That’s a great question. That’s always a thing when you bring these very close-to-the-heart relationships into situations where the stakes are so high. When Oliver and Felicity get together, the stakes go higher because she’s in the field and he’s also in love with her. Diggle is crusading with Oliver at night fighting crime, but at the same time he he has a child at home. The stakes get higher. David Ramsey can project onto Diggle what I think he’d do but I’m not sure yet what those choices will be. I would hope that Diggle would never have to choose between his family and his surrogate family.
Arrow airs 8 p.m. Wednesdays on The CW.
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