‘Arrow’ Preview: David Ramsey Talks Suicide Squad Return, Big Bad HIVE

Wedding bells are ringing for John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) in the March 25 episode of “Arrow” — but as is often the case in Starling City, things won’t stay quiet for long. Diggle’s former nemesis, Deadshot — aka Floyd Lawton (Michael Rowe) — will interrupt the newlyweds for a new Suicide Squad mission, taking Diggle away from Starling while Oliver (Stephen Amell) comes face to face with Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) in his newly operational Atom suit.

Variety caught up with Ramsey to preview Diggle’s nuptials, the Suicide Squad’s return and what’s ahead for HIVE, the mysterious organization responsible for the murder of Diggle’s brother, Andy (Eugene Byrd).

We get to see Diggle’s wedding this week — how is he approaching the big day?
He’s excited, this is a very exciting day — second time around for him and Lyla, and much of him getting back with Lyla and straightening things out with her has a lot to do with him finding his purpose. His job with Oliver has a lot to do with that. Digg is a man of duty; he lost some of that when he left the military and he regained it when he started working with Oliver, and it just opened up his life again. He was able to see what he was missing, and Lyla was a big part of that. So he’s very happy, but it’s “Arrow,” so it doesn’t last too long.

It sounds like things get interrupted fairly quickly, but as far as the ceremony itself goes, was it nice to take a break from all the angst and darkness and just be able to see the characters in a celebratory mood?
You have to have that, particularly in a show like “Arrow,” because “Arrow” can become very brooding and dark very quickly. I always joke that thank god Felicity [Emily Bett Rickards] came in the first season so it wasn’t just Diggle and Oliver hanging around the Foundry brooding — you need some of that lightness, you need some of what “The Flash” has in “Arrow,” as “Flash” needs some of what “Arrow” has in [terms of] the darkness. It was a whole lot of fun, but here comes Floyd Lawton, spoiling the party.

How do things stand between Diggle and Deadshot now?
There’s a mutual respect, to some degree. I wouldn’t call them buddies by any stretch, but I think Diggle’s tuned into Floyd Lawton’s humanity, which he does in general — that’s just the kind of guy Diggle is, he tunes into people’s humanity and tries to find that [good side]. Certainly being able to work with, for all intents and purposes, a murderer in Oliver Queen in the first season, he really had to see beyond that, and I feel like that’s part of Diggle’s talent. I wouldn’t call them buddies, but certainly he sees more of the person in Floyd Lawton, and that allows him to work with him.

The Suicide Squad now has a new member; what’s the dynamic like between Cupid (Amy Gumenick) and the rest of the team?
There was a time when they first encountered Cupid, Diggle and Oliver, and [Diggle] said of Cupid that she was nuttier than Harley Quinn, so that tells you right there what he thinks of Cupid. But with ARGUS and the Suicide Squad in general, he kind of has to bite his lip and grin and bear it, because Diggle tunes into the higher purpose; there’s a US senator that’s been taken hostage; and the fact that he’ll be by the side of his wife and can protect her, he tunes into that and it allows him to look past some of the riff-raff that comes with it, aka Deadshot and Cupid.

Executive producer Marc Guggenheim has been calling this one of the biggest episodes of the show yet. What can you preview about the Arrow/Atom showdown that will be going on while Diggle’s away?
It’s gonna be big. What I love that Oliver Queen has is experience; he’s battling the Fastest Man Alive in The Flash and subdues him, and I can tell you that it’s not gonna be much different in The Atom; these other guys have super powers or technology, but he has experience. So it’s gonna be great. I love that the show makes these classic combinations and these fights that everybody wants to see, but it’s gonna be interesting if in four years the shows are still around and then there’s a rematch, I’m very curious about that. After our other heroes, The Atom and The Flash, have a little more experience under their belts and they challenge the teacher, I’m curious about what would happen then.

A few episodes ago in “The Return,” we got to meet Diggle’s brother Andy on screen — does that mean we’re going to be digging a little deeper into what happened with HIVE in coming episodes?
The show makes no secret that it plants these small nuggets and then a season later or half a season later, you’ll see the fruition of these things come to pass. You did see Andy a few episodes ago — you’ll see more of him, and it’s no small secret that HIVE will be one of the big baddies of next season, so we’re gonna delve into why they hired Deadshot to kill my brother, what my brother was involved in and who they are, and what business they have with Team Arrow. HIVE is going to involve us all in a very big way come next season.

What can you preview about next week’s episode, “Public Enemy,” since we’ve already seen Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) trying to undermine Oliver’s reputation in Starling?
Not only is Ra’s al Ghul going to be able to touch Oliver Queen, he’s gonna touch all of our lives in a personal way. It’s coming down to all of us having to make some very personal decisions, because Ra’s al Ghul is coming to Starling City and he’s going to get what he wants, one way or another — that’s just the kind of guy he is. So whoever has to be touched by him, recruiting Oliver Queen into the League, they have to be touched, and Team Arrow is not any exception to that.

Is there any part of Diggle that thinks Oliver could actually do some good if he took over the League of Assassins, or do you think he’s too suspicious of Ra’s to see it as anything but a trap?
I think part of Diggle’s evolution is learning how to embrace the grey — I think he’s a black and white kind of guy. The Suicide Squad and ARGUS are teaching him some of that — working with a team of mercenaries within a larger clandestine organization that plants bombs in the heads of their recruits, and having to work with that, is part of the grey that Diggle has to learn to deal with.

“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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