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Major 'Blacklist' exit will make Red's relationship with Aram stronger, actor says 

Agent Samar Navabi's departure from the Task Force sent FBI tech Aram Mojtabai to "the absolute breaking point," actor Amir Arison says.

Amir Arison, pictured, breaks down his "Blacklist" character's

Amir Arison, pictured, breaks down his "Blacklist" character's heated moment with Raymond "Red" Reddington Photo Credit: Scott Gries/NBC

The departure of a “Blacklist” regular sent FBI technician Aram Mojtabai to his breaking point.

Actress Mozhan Marnò left the NBC drama following half a season of uncertainty regarding the fate of her character Agent Samar Navabi — a staple in the series since season 2.

After learning she’s suffering from vascular dementia, causing deteriorating memory and strokes, Samar becomes a liability for Israel's national intelligence agency Mossad, and makes the ultimate decision to leave her fiance, Aram, and the rest of the Task Force behind, traveling to an undisclosed location. 

In last week’s episode of the New York City-set series, the character portrayed by actor Amir Arison tried to find closure as he grappled with the sudden loss of his partner.

Below, Arison discusses that shocking scene where things got physical with criminal mastermind Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), who helped Samar escape, and more.

What was your reaction getting these scripts and finding out a series regular would be leaving?

Well, from the very beginning of this season, we see as an audience she’s starting to have memory problems and when it gets revealed to Red that she has no chance of improvement, I was like, well, I don’t see a wedding coming up! It’s going in the other direction. It’s going to the tragedy. On the one hand, it was really sad, both for her and Aram and me. It’s my No. 1 scene partner, but on the other, it was a lot of really rich and challenging material to dig into. So it really stretched and flexed the acting muscles.

Challenging — and exciting material! What was it like filming that punching scene with Red?

First of all, that punching scene was probably one of the most shocking things I’ve ever read in the “Blacklist” script. I don’t think anyone could ever predicted that anyone from the force would punch Red, much less, it be Aram. What was so incredible about it though is that the writers did it so it didn’t feel false. In some ways, it could have appeared out of character, out of context, but it didn’t because Aram was at the absolute breaking point. He’s in utter despair. You see that carry over into the next episode where he becomes absolutely fearless because, in his mind, there’s nothing left to lose.

Did Aram’s response to losing Samar surprise you?

Well, the writers really honored who Aram was, they just put him in the absolute most dire circumstances beyond what one could imagine … He’s just trying to get back with Samar and how to do that? Leverage someone. Who’s the best at leveraging? Raymond Reddington. So him turning to him really fit well. He just wants to get Reddington — the only person in the world who knows where she is — to take him to her. When he’s on the plane, Red, in his master play, he goads him with an attack, that’s like catnip for Aram, convinces him he’s putting her life in more danger because he’s being tracked himself. And then, one of the most brilliant things emotionally, is he convinces Aram he will be a burden on Samar. And the best way to love her is to let her go.

Right, he’s the mastermind.

Here’s a fiercely independent woman who’s mentally deteriorating and to have someone worry about her and care for her is a burden one, and two, Aram’s life will be in danger which is another burden. The most heartbreaking concept is that he’d give up everything to take care of her.

Before this, Aram has always been a bit timid when it comes to Red. How might this change their relationship?

It’s funny. In many ways, I think it strengthens them. It shows how far Aram is willing to go for those he loves and also just how brilliant Red is not just as a concierge of crime but emotionally as well. In some ways, those two go deep. Those are deep thinkers and feelings. 


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