Ashley Johnson Martin Gero, Blindspot

(Courtesy of Peter Kramer/NBC)

Before an all-new Season 3 episode of Blindspot airs Friday at 8pm on NBC, Villain Media has an exclusive interview with star Ashley Johnson and creator Martin Gero. Though Patterson (Johnson) has reunited with Jane Doe (Jaimie, Alexander) and Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), are the three ready to take down their newest threat that’s already taking over their lives?

Before audiences watch an all-new episode of Blindspot this Friday, November 3rd at 8pm on NBC, Villain Media discussed the third season action-fest with showrunner Martin Gero and Patterson herself, Ashley Johnson. With Sandstorm defeated, something new is rising from the ashes, putting Patterson and her former teammates in jeopardy. Gero and Johnson spoke about the behind-the-scenes hard work, thought, and effort put into their cinematic action sequences.

In the most-watched pilot on NBC, audiences were introduced to Johnson’s dedicated and quirky Agent Patterson, who was running the lab within Weller’s FBI Forensic Science Unit. Though her personal relationships became strained, Patterson worked tirelessly on solving the mystery behind Jane’s tattoos. As the seasons progressed, Patterson moved out of the lab and onto the field, joining her teammates on their dangerous missions.

In our recap of the third season premiere, entitled Back to the Grind, we find Patterson reunited with her two former best friends, Tasha (Audrey Esparza) and Reade (Rob Brown). Though they are locked up in a cage together, the trio immediately pick up where their last argument ended. The three have not been spoken to each other since Jane and Weller moved to Colorado; breaking up the close-knit FBI team.

Ashley Johnson Martin Gero, Blindspot
BLINDSPOT — “Back to the Grind” Episode 301 — Pictured: (l-r) Ashley Johnson as Patterson, Audrey Esparza as Tasha Zapata, Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC)

During the breakup period, Patterson moved on and found a brand new life waiting for her in Silicon Valley. After saying goodbye to her white lab coat, she traded in her badge and gun for the video gaming industry, but kept her witty sense of humor. With an urgent need to escape from her prison cell, Patterson reconciled and teamed-up with Tasha and Reade to take down the armed guards.

Johnson described her character’s hesitation to jump back to her former life, “With Patterson, she hasn’t been in a  dangerous situation like that in two years. She’s finding her body. ‘I guess we’re each going to take a dude and take them down!’”

In a thrilling must-see sequence, the moving camera circled around the prison cell as the fight ensued. Speeding up in an uninterrupted 360 degree take, the brawl against the guards escalated as the camera lens captured Patterson, Tasha, and Reade unified as a team once again. Weller’s team stood victoriously while their opponents were lying beaten on the floor.

Ashley Johnson Martin Gero, Blindspot
BLINDSPOT — “Back to the Grind” Episode 301 — Pictured: (l-r) Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe, Sullivan Stapleton as Kurt Weller, Ashley Johnson as Patterson, Rob Brown as Edgar Reade, Audrey Esparza as Tasha Zapata, Mary Stuart Masterson as Director Hirst — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC)

When asked how this particular action sequence came about, Gero recalled how he wrote and directed the scene, “I just got in the space. And you know, we’re always looking into how to do new fight sequences. I got in the space. And I was like, ‘This could be really great! What if we did this in one shot?’”

Audiences have recently seen these one long tracking shots in action films, previously with John Wick and Hanna. In technical terms, having the cast and crew pull off this entire sequence would be very risky. The action, the revolving camerawork, and the high-stakes drama had to be filmed in one unedited take; which meant very little room for mistakes. If someone in the cast and crew missed their mark, even for a slight beat, the whole take would be ruined. Imagine having just made it so close to the end, suddenly losing your footing, and then having to restart the whole scene from the very beginning.

Was there hesitation from the cast and crew to pull off this tricky sequence? Gero answered, “Chris Place who plays our stunt supervisor, was like, ‘Yeah let’s try it!’”

Johnson admitted, “I love when I get to be part of those stunts. They’re so much fun! Our stunt team is so great on the show!”

In order to pull off the stunts and camerawork, Gero explained the technical process, “And these guys practiced really really hard! And we did it! We shot it 7 or 8 times! You know, with the camera…it was a very fast camera move. They were running throughout on a curved dolly track; very difficult. And that’s how we did it!”

Not only did the Blindspot actress have to hit her mark, she also had to think in character. Johnson added, “Well with that, we rehearsed that. That was a very specific movement. And the way the camera ends up in one part of the room, you have to have this foot at this point. So we rehearsed that a lot!”

Overall, both star and showrunner are very pleased with how the final sequence turned out. “That was such a fun scene to shoot!” said Johnson. “It was such a cool shot too!”

At the end of the third season premiere, Patterson appeared to be hiding a darker secret of her own, much like the others. She doesn’t want her teammates to know what really happened during those two years. Now that Rich Dotcom (Ennis Esmer) is part of the team and running the lab, he has to present a public facade and keep her secret hidden; but for how long can he keep his lips sealed?

In the second episode of the third season, airing Friday November 3rd, entitled Enemy Bag of Tricks, Reade’s newly formed team find themselves battling a dangerous foreign power. Not only does Patterson have to prevent the hijacking a satellite, she also has to adjust to the new team dynamic. Is the team ready to help Jane solve the mystery behind her bioluminescent tattoos?

Blindspot airs Fridays at 8pm on NBC.

– By Jorge Solis

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