When “Arrow” first began, we knew we’d end up falling madly in love with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). That was a given. What we didn’t expect was how invested we’ve become in the show’s secondary characters. We’ve already waxed on about how awesome Thea (Willa Holland) is — and now it’s time for us all to give Diggle (David Ramsey) his due.
As the only regular character who knows about Oliver’s double life as the Hood, Diggle serves an essential purpose to the show. He’s Oliver’s confidante, support system, moral compass, and training buddy.
We’re happy to report, though, that in the second half of the season, we’ll see Diggle develop much further as we explore his backstory, his capabilities, and his relationships outside of Oliver.
In tonight’s new episode, “Trust Then Verify,” Diggle and Oliver find themselves at odds when a familiar name pops up on Oliver’s list. Ted Gaynor, Diggle’s commanding officer and mentor from his time in Afghanistan, is one of the villains Oliver’s father named. He’s a person that Diggle trusts implicitly. Not only does it make Diggle wary of Oliver, but it makes both men wary of the list itself. After all, Robert Queen wasn’t exactly a saint — should they really trust the list blindly?
David Ramsey gave us the scoop on what to expect from this week’s episode, and what’s still to come.
Zap2it: So far, all the names on Oliver’s list have been tried-and-true bad guys, but this week, the name is someone from Diggle’s past. That’s got to throw a wrench in his sidekick situation.
Ramsey: Yeah. Ted Gaynor was his commanding officer back in Afghanistan. They did a few tours together and grew very, very close. He has returned to Starling City. However, he is on the list, on Oliver’s kill list — or at least his talk-to-sternly list. Diggle ends up siding with Ted, as you saw in the previews, and this causes a real, major conflict between him and Oliver. Not just, obviously because Ted is a friend and Diggle has an allegiance to Oliver, but because of the validity or lack of validity of the list. At this point, the list has been compromised, but Oliver has his charge, his mission.
Zap2it: Is this episode a turning point when it comes to the list?
Ramsey: I think by the end of the episode, we really have a clear understanding of the burden that’s on Oliver. The two men have a very clear understanding of each other. There’s a major conflict, but they come out with a much better understanding of each other.
Zap2it: When the series first started, Diggle wasn’t a big fan of Oliver’s — he thought he was a rich punk with a bad attitude. At this point, going into the episode, would you say that Diggle considers Oliver a friend? Or is their relationship just based on a common mission?
Ramsey: It’s a very interesting relationship. I think, yes, I think he does consider him a friend. Oliver’s someone Diggle cares about. You’ll really explore it in the upcoming episodes. There’s something about Oliver, I think, that touches on the relationship that Diggle once had with his brother.
Zap2it: Will we hear more about Diggle and his brother’s backstory in this episode?
Ramsey: Yes. In this episode, and in the following episode. Some of the themes that Oliver’s dealing with — revenge and vengeance — we’ll see Diggle deal with those things in terms of his brother.
Zap2it: We all really liked the episode when Oliver was on house arrest and Diggle got the chance to play Arrow for the evening. Will we see him be more hands-on with the villains?
Ramsey: Everyone’s asking me that! Are we going to see Diggle in action more? I hope so. The first few episodes, we got a real teaser as to what Diggle can physically do, and then he fell into a role of kind of a mentor, kind of an advisor, and all that’s fine. Particularly over the course of a season, you find out what different people can do, you concentrate on different characters. But physically, I think you’re going to see Diggle in action more. He’s a military-trained expert in hand-to-hand combat. He’s a big asset to what Oliver does. And that’s always been the plan of the writers, but it’s a long season.
Zap2it: When are you going to get on the salmon ladder?
Ramsey: Ha! You know, that’s not fake. Sometimes, when you’re jumping off a building or something, you put a stuntman in there — but that salmon ladder is real. You are doing that. In terms of David Ramsey on the salmon ladder, let me tell you, I do not envy Stephen Amell at all. That salmon ladder is no joke. Are you going to see it? I don’t know.
Zap2it: Even though Diggle is obviously Oliver’s right-hand man, Felicity Smoak has emerged as a bit of a sidekick herself, and she’s definitely a fan favorite. Will she come into play more? Will we see her interact with Diggle?
Ramsey: You’re going to see Felicity, in general, more. She’s been great. You’re going to see a lot more of her — there’s some big stuff coming up for her, and more of her interacting with Diggle and Oliver in the show.
Zap2it: Oliver’s had a few love interests now, and there’s another one on the way soon — when is Diggle going to get some romance in his life?
Ramsey: Right? When are they going to show Diggle some love? You know, we have kind of been building up this thing with Carly, his sister-in-law-slash-whatever. The wife of his dead brother, which is weird. In this episode, there’s some stuff that’s going to be happening in terms of the relationship with her. There are some very personal rifts in this personal life of Diggle, in this episode and in the following episode. All that is coming up very, very soon. It’s a complicated relationship, but it’s an important one.
Tune in to “Arrow” Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. EST. on The CW.