The CW’s “Arrow” has already demonstrated that it’s not pulling any punches in season three, unexpectedly killing fan-favorite character Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) in the final moments of the season premiere and propelling both Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Sara’s sister Laurel (Katie Cassidy) on a new quest for justice.
Danger is hitting close to home for everyone on Team Arrow, prompting Oliver to pull back from Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and try to dissuade new father Diggle (David Ramsey) to step back from the battle. Thankfully, every member of the crime-fighting gang is dedicated to avenging Sara’s death, and when Variety spoke to David Ramsey ahead of Wednesday’s new episode, “Corto Maltese,” the actor promised that Diggle’s not walking away from the fight any time soon. Below, Ramsey discusses Diggle’s paternal instincts, his take on “Olicity” and the upcoming exploration of DC Comics staples like ARGUS, HIVE and the Suicide Squad.
Last week, Diggle agreed to stay with the team until Oliver finds Sara’s killer — as far as he’s concerned right now, is he done after they’ve accomplished that?
The short answer is no — you’d have to change the locks to keep Diggle away from the Foundry. [Laughs.] The confrontation Oliver had with Diggle [last week]… Diggle reflected, to him, what his own inner problems were. Once they begin the investigation for Sara’s killer, Diggle’s on Team Arrow for good. But the current theme of the season is identity, so he’s going to be exploring what his identity is with Team Arrow.
How is Diggle truly feeling in the wake of Sara’s death? Obviously he’s always been aware of the stakes of Oliver’s mission, but this is a painful blow for the team.
Oliver didn’t really break in that episode until he was with Diggle, at the end when he said he didn’t want to die down there. I think there’s a sharing that he can do with Diggle in that moment that he probably couldn’t do with anyone else. I think Diggle’s approach to that is what it always has been: “You have a choice. You can decide to embrace your humanity, or you can decide to go back into the hole and die.” And it’s always been that simple with Diggle, and part of the guiding that Diggle has done for Oliver during the past two seasons has been about embracing your humanity. And part of that was [Oliver’s] date with Felicity; he told him, “you can be a crime-fighter and be in love with Felicity at the same time.” So he feels very hurt with Sara but as a soldier, he can place that hurt in a certain place.
What’s his take the ongoing Oliver and Felicity saga — does he just want to smack their heads together at this point?
I think so. I think he does — you’d have to be blind not to see it. Diggle’s crucible was Afghanistan, Oliver’s crucible was the island, and Diggle is much more adjusted at this point. There’s no conflict in being able to have a wonderful relationship with Lyla, being a father and fighting crime at night for Diggle. Oliver hasn’t reconciled those things yet, but he will.
What can fans expect in this week’s episode, which features something of a standalone story for Diggle?
I’m sent on a mission by Lyla to find Mark Shaw [aka DC Comics’ Manhunter] — who had a past relationship with Lyla. He’s part of ARGUS, he’s an agent who has gone possibly rogue but certainly missing, so she sends Diggle. ARGUS doesn’t want any other people in the field, so it’s a covert operation to find this missing agent. In the course of it, however, I find out that the things Mark Shaw is involved in not only threaten ARGUS, but more specifically threaten my family, Lyla and Sara. So there’s a personal, vested interest Diggle will have in getting to the bottom of whatever Mark Shaw’s involved in. He’s only on the mission as a surrogate operative of ARGUS, and we’re going to see more of that this season, too: what is Diggle’s involvement in ARGUS, and more specifically the Suicide Squad, and how that ties into who Diggle is.
So far, we haven’t seen too much of Diggle and Lyla’s home life — is that something we can expect more of now that they’re parents?
You will get to see a little more of that, even in this upcoming episode, and this season in general. It’s a great relationship; Lyla’s very involved in ARGUS, but there’s also a conflict because she works very closely with Amanda Waller, and Amanda has a certain way of doing things — she plants bombs in criminals’ heads to manipulate them — and Lyla works hand in hand with that. There’s conflict inherently in how Amanda and Lyla do things and how Diggle does things, so we’re going to explore that… Somehow or another, these two are in love, and her and Amanda’s brand of getting things done is probably closer to how Oliver was in the first season: you get the job done, and if bad guys die in the process, then bad guys die. I don’t think Diggle has a problem with killing — but he’s much more reserved in how that is executed. It’s a great story between he and Lyla, how they love each other but absolutely conflict on some views.
Obviously being a parent has realigned his priorities — but has it shifted the way he operates in the field? Will he be more likely to take a kill shot if he needs to?
You’ll see some of that this episode because his family is in the direct line of fire, so you’ll see emotionally what that does to Diggle. Any and every time you make these kinds of relationships, Oliver and Felicity, Diggle with his child, you’d better believe the writers are going to put that at risk, because the stakes are so high. The stakes are very high for Diggle this season.
We still don’t know much about Diggle’s brother, Andy, and exactly why Deadshot was hired to kill him — is that story coming up any time soon?
The producers plant these nuggets and you don’t think of exploring those nuggets until eight episodes, maybe a season later. So we found out that Diggle’s brother, Andy — we’re not really sure if he was involved in some shady things because Deadshot was hired to kill him by HIVE. So who that organization is, HIVE, we’re going to get into that. The past relationship Diggle had with Andy, we’re going to get into that — there’s a lot of Diggle to explore this season. [Laughs.] The writers do not hurt for story with all these characters. We’ll be getting into HIVE, we’ll be getting into the relationship with Deadshot and Diggle, Suicide Squad, ARGUS, all of that this season.
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.