No one should underestimate Agent Daniel Sousa. As an American soldier during World War II, he was only relegated to the Strategic Scientific Reserve after losing one of his legs. However, his mind and instincts remained as sharp as ever. Daniel deduced it was a disguised, blond Peggy Carter at La Martinique when Spider Raymond was murdered. He’s the one who has zeroed in on clues his fellow agents have missed. And, it was Daniel who blocked Peggy’s escape route, although he ultimately allowed her to flee. Now, with Peggy in custody, Daniel must choose whether to believe in his former friend, or charge her with being in cahoots with Tony Stark.
Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Marvel’s “Agent Carter” on ABC, “Snafu,” actor Enver Gjokaj spoke with CBR News about Daniel’s conundrum, the sting of Peggy’s betrayal, how it affects his status quo and Agent Carter’s 1940s setting.
Enver Gjokaj: I don’t know the ins and outs. The way it works for me is I get an audition, I go in and I get the role or I don’t. I know Joss has a very close relationship with Marvel, so I hope that helped. From talking to Louis [D’Esposito], he saw my audition and felt that was Daniel Sousa. I don’t know if he was aware I even played a role in “The Avengers.”
How well-versed were in the Marvel Universe before coming on board “Agent Carter?”
I had watched the movies. That’s where it ends. After the fact, I didn’t want to research it because as an actor, I feel you have to play with what’s on the page and be beholden to that and make that world come alive. So, the answer is not much.
Daniel has a physical handicap. In what way does that make him more interesting or challenging to play?
It’s more interesting in the way that it’s written. I chose very early on that I didn’t want to play it as a part of who he is. I think it’s interesting writing in that they have a guy who is a very capable agent, who just happens to use a crutch. It’s really how he deals with it.
Do the other agents underestimate Daniel? Does that somehow allow him to fly under the radar and be a better spy?
Yeah, if there’s anything that affects Daniel about being disabled, it’s the way that other people treat him, not the way he deals with his disability. He tried to play it off. As the season goes along, you see he starts to have more confidence in himself and starts to trust his instincts a little more. He has a fighting spirit and in the end, he says, “Screw this. I’m going to get the job done.”
How would you contrast Daniel with Chad Michael Murray’s Agent Jack Thompson?
I think they had different upbringings. I imagine Sousa grew up in a different house and was raised in a different way. He didn’t absorb a lot of biases of the time. In a lot of ways, we see Thompson as the bad guy right now. In terms of what was acceptable back then, he’s very much the norm. The writers dealt with that in such a good way. They haven’t run away from this. They just let the time period be what the time was.
Last week, Daniel pieced together that something wasn’t kosher with Peggy. How gratifying was it that he was the one to figure things out?
I don’t know if I can say it was gratifying because as an actor, you have to get into your character’s perspective. For Sousa, it was quite the opposite of gratifying. It was a terrible, terrible realization that this person, who is the one person he felt he had something in common with at the S.S.R., turns out to not only be not who he thinks she is, but to possibly be betraying all of them. If you come at it from Daniel’s perspective, he’s not only hurt, but he’s been played a fool.
In that alley way, Daniel had Peggy at gunpoint, but refused to fire. On some level, does he still trust her?
You see earlier on in the episode that Sousa is trying to interrogate someone and Jack comes in and gets the job done. In a lot of ways, Sousa might not be cold-hearted enough for this job. There’s a lot of ways that Sousa is coming from the heart. He operates from a place of assuming the best about people. He does care for Peggy. He does want to believe the trick so badly, but, to be honest, if he was doing his job correctly, he probably should have shot her.
At the end of “A Sin To Err,” Peggy was in custody and Daniel was about to interrogate her. Can you tease how that plays out?
What I love is that you are really going to see a lot of the bricks that the writers have laid pay off in terms of these relationships. It was such a fun episode to do because you get us all back together and you get to complicate all these relationships in some way.
Anyone who has seen an episode of “Dollhouse” knows you are no slouch when it comes to fight choreography. Would you like for Daniel to see some action, or, at least fire off a round from his gun?
Yes, Daniel gets in on the action. You start seeing it already when Peggy is escaping in the alley. Dooley’s [Shea Whigham] opinion of Sousa is getting higher and higher and therefore, he trusts him a lot more. You’ll see Daniel Sousa being listened to a little bit more by those that work at the S.S.R.
What’s been fun about visiting the 1940s with Agent Carter?
First of all, the costumes. I say that because it gives you such a visceral feeling when you put on a suit from that era. It’s so different from wearing clothes from now. In fact, after a whole day of wearing the suit and then getting back into my clothes, it somehow feels like I’m wearing pajamas. It’s so much less comfortable. There’s something about the suits that do so much of your character work on their own.
I also like how this show does the ’40s. Everybody tried to consciously stay away from ’40s New York gangster stereotypes. These feel like real people and when I’m watching, I’m impressed with that.
Viewers have speculated that Daniel is “that guy” who marries Peggy. Is that something you’ve entertained or discussed with Hayley Atwell?
Yeah, sure. We’ve asked that very same question to each other, with no more information than the fans have. One of the things that I really love about “Agent Carter” is it’s not a show where she’s defined by her relationship to a guy. I have no idea where this is going to go, but I love that it’s something they don’t have her too concerned about. This isn’t a show about a girl pining away for a guy. This is a show where the guy pines away for the girl. That’s really cool to me.
“Agent Carter” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.