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Lou Diamond Phillips on Returning to ‘Blindspot’

The ninth episode of “Blindspot” doesn’t just allow for leads Jane and Weller (Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton) to get gussied up to go undercover as world-class assassins. It also banks more screen time for Lou Diamond Phillips as Saul Guerrero, the currently incarcerated crime boss who has the potential to be the undoing for Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and Carter (Michael Gaston) since he was unwittingly the cover-up for their NSA-related Daylight operation.

Ahead of the episode, which airs at 10 p.m. Nov. 16 on NBC, Variety talks to Phillips about how a nice guy like him ended up playing someone so manipulative and corrupt.

Creator Martin Gero told Variety he’d worked with you before and that he wanted you for this part. I don’t know how you feel about that.

(Laughs) Yeah, the [character’s] kind of a jerk and hey Lou Diamond comes to mind! I worked with Martin on “Stargate Universe” and my character there, David Telford, was kind of a jerk. I got a ton of response from the “Stargate” faithful. What’s interesting about Saul Guerrero, I got the same sort of response from most of my devotees from [my role on the series] “Longmire.”

But that’s exactly why I like doing a role like this. It changes people’s perception, it allows me to do something different and it lets me use some muscles that are different from when I’m playing the good guy. The character was a lot of fun. Even before I read the script, I had this faith that he was going to be articulate and interesting and a self-professed narcissist. In real life, I try to be a good guy and when you get a chance to shed [that], you get to do anything you want.

You don’t play him as this over-the-top evil character.

I had no conversation whatsoever. The beauty of it is, when you’re presented with something that’s this good on the page, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I was happy that my instincts were right when I said yes to the role.

It’s not just there in the snarky, verbose dialogue. There’s a lot going on between the lines as well.

Your role is a guest-star role. Did they tell you what you were in store for?

We just knew that it was going to be more than one, so they used [the term] “multiple episodes.” With this particular genre, it’s one with twists and turns and massive clandestine conspiracy going on. I would never take what you see [on screen] as face value.

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