There were many aspects worth raving about in Blindspot’s premiere, but here’s one you probably didn’t expect: the scene-stealing performance of Rob Brown as Edgar Reade, one of the members of Kurt Weller’s crack FBI squad. Both competent and entertaining, Reade has already become a memorable supporting character on an impeccable show.
What made him such a pleasant surprise? Firstly, he’s laugh-out-loud hilarious. Whether it’s correcting his fellow agent that the biggest clue was not under their nose, but on Jane Doe’s (Jaimie Alexander) neck, or asking later if he’s allowed to get out of the Bureau car or if Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) wants to roll a window down for him, he’s not afraid to crack wise and the lines he’s given are actually funny.
Many TV shows – in fact, most shows – will have a designated comic relief character, because the more serious the drama, the more important it often becomes to have something to balance that out. Yet that means the humor can often feel canned and/or forced, rather than like it actually makes sense.
In a welcome contrast, the jokes Martin Gero’s pilot script gives to Reade not only fit within the overall flow of the episode, but they’re good. Really good. The exact kind of stuff you would imagine is being said between two long-time colleagues like Reade and Weller.
“I think it’s really important for a show like this to find humor where we can, so it’s not all doom and gloom and dour,” said Gero, who told Strike Back Examiner on Friday that we will “absolutely” see more of Reade this season.
“It’s something we do more and more every episode because our cast is really, really funny, Rob Brown especially. When we started testing the show, I was so pleased to find out that people just really really connected to Rob’s character and the fact that there was a little bit of humor in the show.”
But only half of humor is in the writing; the other half is delivery. Brown – whose other credits include playing jazz musician Delmond Lambreaux in HBO’s Treme and the starring role in the Ernie Davis biopic The Express – is a master of that deadpan, effortless delivery like he’s not landing a joke; he’s just tossing in another line to the conversation.
What really makes the Reade character work is that he’s not solely part of Blindspot for the one-liners. His sense of humor is excellent, but it’s only one part of how he’s used. Reade also functions as Weller’s right-hand man in the field, helping him to pursue a terror suspect into the New York City subway and corral the subway train’s passengers while Weller deals with an unexpected bomb. Even in just one episode, audiences know that he’s a competent FBI agent who just happens to be really funny.
And already, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing him other than Brown. Not only does he have that comedic timing and that sense of believability as a member of an elite FBI task force, but he’s charismatic and charming.
The way he portrays Reade, this isn’t just another supporting character filling out an ensemble; he’s a member of the team that you want to know more about and would enjoy sharing office space with. We genuinely love not just the character, but the actor as well.
Plus, fans may not know that Brown’s a native New Yorker, so he’s got home field advantage here too – and so far, he’s batting a thousand. While Blindspot is deservedly garnering plenty of buzz for the characters of Jane and Weller, don’t sleep on Agent Reade or the rest of an incredibly deep roster.
Blindspot airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. You can also follow Rob Brown on Twitter (@BrocoliRobBrown) and use the hashtag #Blindspot to join the social media conversation.