An ex-soldier, Diggle started off the series as Oliver Queen’s bodyguard, before discovering the billionaire playboy he had been tasked to protect turned out to be a hooded vigilante. Since then, he’s become a vital member of Team Arrow, even when he found himself having to step in as leader of the Suicide Squad. Lately, Diggle seems to want to put those adventures on the backburner and focus on being a devoted father and boyfriend. Unfortunately, all those worlds are about to collide in tonight’s episode.
David Ramsey spoke to CBR News about the action-packed happenings of the latest “Arrow Installment, titled “Corto Maltese.” We discussed Diggle’s hunt for Mark Shaw — better known to DC Comics readers as Manhunter — his shift in priorities from heroism to fatherhood, and the impending “Arrow”/”Flash” crossover.
CBR News: Now that Diggle is a family man, what is his mindset when it comes to Team Arrow?
David Ramsey: That’s really the question, isn’t it? Up until now, his mindset has been as it always has been. There’s no conflict in Diggle. What you saw in the second episode with being confronted by Oliver — you saw a stoic Diggle, one who is sure of himself and sure what his purpose was. He told Oliver he’s his own man, that he can make his own decisions and he’s with the team.
The theme of the season is identity. If there’s any two people you are going to see redefine their identities, it’s going to be Diggle and Oliver. Diggle is going to have a lot of options in terms of his identity as a father, as a boyfriend and a part of Team Arrow. Is he part of A.R.G.U.S.? What’s his relationship with the Suicide Squad? All these things are going to be part of finding out who Diggle is and where he feels he belongs.
How does Diggle end up on this mission with Oliver and Roy in tonight’s episode?
He gets the call from [his girlfriend] Lyla. Lyla asks him to go to Corto Maltese to find Mark Shaw, who was part of A.R.G.U.S. He had a past relationship with Lyla. He’s gone off the grid. Diggle is sent because this is a very covert operation. They don’t want anyone else at risk from A.R.G.U.S. Team Arrow has a way of doing things under the radar, so she asks us to go in. We find out through the course of getting in contact with Mark Shaw that not only is A.R.G.U.S. at risk, but there’s a personal risk in terms of Diggle. Lyla, and particularly our child, Sara, have also been put in danger. There’s some personal investment that Diggle has in finding Mark Shaw. I need to get to the bottom of whatever he’s involved in.
The name Mark Shaw should be familiar to comic book readers. Is there any reference to Mark being Manhunter, and is that legacy woven into the story?
Well, it doesn’t weave directly into this episode, but you know how “Arrow” has consistently been dropping nuggets that they don’t revisit for another four or five episodes, or even a season later? That nugget will be dropped, but it will not be fully explored in this episode.
How much will Diggle rely on his military training?
There will be a significant amount. I always love when Diggle gets to be physical. We’re going to see some of that in this episode — I would say more than you have seen in past episodes, but we can always use more.
Diggle gets to run down a vehicle and then gets very physical with Mark Shaw. You aren’t quite sure if Diggle is going to lose it once he does get ahold of Shaw. By this time, he does understand his family is at risk and that Shaw is really responsible for that. So, what does he do with Shaw? How does he lose it? It’s not just a physical scene, but a very emotional scene for Diggle.
This sounds like a meaty episode for you. Will there be any long-term repercussions?
It is a meaty episode for Diggle and, yes, there are going to be some long-lasting repercussions. That recurring theme of A.R.G.U.S./Suicide Squad/Diggle will be mentioned yet again. That’s something the producers really want to play with this season. We really hinted at Diggle and the Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S. last season, and it got a big response. Again, where does Diggle fit into that organization? We’re going to touch on that this episode and the repercussions of that will be played out later on this season.
What, in particular, have you enjoyed about Diggle’s association with the Suicide Squad?
Diggle has always had this idea of, what we do is right on Team Arrow. We’re on the right side of it. We really get to understand through the Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S. that there are a lot of shades of right. Diggle has to come to grips with that, that this justice we’re serving is more gray than it is black and white. The Suicide Squad is a big part of that. Criminals that you manipulate into doing the right thing by planting explosives in their head? It sounds incredibly crazy, but somehow or another, Diggle, who has always been straight as an arrow in terms of his morality, gets involved in this. That’s great to see, because there’s a conflict that he has with this brand of justice. But, somehow or other, it works. We saw that last year with him befriending Deadshot, the man who was hired to kill Diggle’s brother. It’s great to see this character, who has a very clear view of what is right and wrong, have to redefine that notion and come to grips with it.
The other part is, it’s just great being part of the Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S. As a fan of it, for all intents and purposes, last year could have been a backdoor pilot. It just had that type of tone to it. It’s always great to see that kind of writing and see it played out. I’m proud to be part of that. It’s a dream come true to play a character like Diggle, and involve him in an organization like the Suicide Squad.
Can you give us a hint as to where Diggle fits into the “Arrow”/”Flash” crossover event?
It’s funny — Diggle comes off pretty humorous in the crossover episode. His reaction to Barry’s superpowers is nothing short of hilarious. We get to explore that a little bit. Central City is light and airy and there’s sunshine and sunrays and beams of light everywhere. Starling City is this dark, broody place. We come there with this weight, this crime-fighting, “How do we solve the crime and find our man?” type of attitude. We’re met with this light and airy Central City, where it’s, “We name our bad guys little fluffy criminal names.” That drama all by itself is funny. But Diggle’s reaction to Barry is a real treat. He’s very surprised at this world of superpowered humans in Central City.
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