'Arrow' interview: David Ramsey spills on Diggle's future and relationship with Oliver

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David Ramsey plays John Diggle, Oliver Queen's bodyguard-turned-comrade-in-arms on "Arrow." But what is coming up for Diggle throughout the rest of season 1? How does the man deal with a psychologically messed-up guy like Oliver ( Stephen Amell)?

Ramsey shared a great deal about that in this interview.

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead! Proceed with caution.


What's coming up for Diggle in the rest of "Arrow" Season 1?


David Ramsey: What comes up for Diggle, I think, is personal risk. What this means for his extended universe, Diggle's extended universe -- his family, his personal life. That's going to come into question. That's going to shed some light on his backstory.

Also, we're going to see the extended, different philosophies between these two guys. What they both feel about justice and how they distribute justice, how it should be distributed. You know, I think we're going to see a continuing, smart debate between these two. I think what we've seen so far with Diggle is that Diggle helps Oliver, not only with the moral compass but also thinking about things that he maybe wouldn't think about.

Oliver, he knows it too, I think, intellectually. But I think that the mission is so important to him, the passion of filling his father's dying request is so prevalent on him that sometimes he can't see the forest for the trees.


Since we're going to see more of Diggle's personal life, does this mean his sister-in-law at the diner is coming back? Will we see other people from Diggle's past?

David Ramsey: She's a permanent -- well I wouldn't say necessarily a permanent -- fixture. But she's an important fixture in Diggle's life. She runs Big Belly Burgers and if for no other reason, she'll be coming back for that. But also the personal effect she has with Diggle. Diggle also has a nephew -- her son is an important part of Diggle's life. So yeah, when I'm saying what his lifestyle means to Oliver, you're gonna see what that means to his sister-in-law.


Considering how morally ambiguous so much of "Arrow" is, where do you see the character of Diggle falling on a continuum between good and evil?

David Ramsey: Oliver's the far right. Diggle's the far left. They both have to struggle to meet someplace in the middle. And that's probably the right place. Though Oliver probably wins more often, distributing his own brand of justice. I think he has to re-think how the "right" feels and if there's any truth to how the "left" feels.

I think, when Diggle originally joined Oliver, it was because he does understand that the system doesn't always end up benefiting those it should benefit. And those that should pay don't always pay.  So he gets the fact that he's a vigilante.

But he also gets the fact that just looking at the book and just looking at the one-percenters isn't always the way to save the city. He said that in one of the episodes: There are other ways to save the city. Not just the powerful and elite, but also the bank robbers, the gang bangers. Those are symptoms, like Oliver said, but those people kill innocent people. They are branches off a bigger tree, yes, but the branches need to be dealt with as well.

So I think the way Diggle sees it is that there are many ways to distribute justice, not just the narrow vision of your father's book. Even though Oliver has the mission of just looking at what's in the book, we saw two episodes ago that he is willing to expand that vision, that he is beginning to come around to understand that many people are suffering in Starling City -- not just the people that the one percent affect. And I think that's a great role for our lead character, for Oliver.

I guess that isn't a direct answer to your question. The difference would be that Diggle sees the city being saved in many different ways -- many different ways you could help Starling City. And Oliver sees it: "How can we help Starling City?" in relation to fulfilling his father's dying request. And that causes conflict, many times, between these two. But I think ultimately, it helps the show.


Getting away from thorny questions of morality, what did you have to do to prepare yourself to play Diggle as the warrior that he is?

David Ramsey: There are different ways you can think of a warrior, right?

Diggle is in a position where he can see things that Oliver can't. Not because he's smarter, just because he can -- he's in a different place in his life. And even though he's suffering from the loss of his brother in a traumatic way, he's not suffering the same way Oliver is.

So how did I prepare for that? I think me and Diggle probably agree on a great many things about how we see justice and probably about how we have a very, very middle-of-the-road view in terms of distributing justice. Diggle wasn't hard for me to reach, philosophically.


Do you have any favorite moments of "Arrow" so far?

David Ramsey: You know, there are a few. First of all, I love kicking a**, Diggle kicking butt. At the end of the day, this is an action show, so you have to love the action. I love to see Diggle -- and I want to see more of Diggle -- taking out guys. I love that.

But I also like the banter. I like the relationship between him and Oliver. I really like how Diggle sees justice being distributed in Starling City and how Oliver sees it. I like these two guys having to meet in the middle to achieve a goal. I like that he's not a typical sidekick, I like that he's not a "yes" guy. And when we see him working at headquarters, he always sees an angle that Oliver doesn't. And I love the conflict that that gives to the relationship.


"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW