Arrow's David Ramsey on How Diggle Knowing Oliver's Secret 'Elevates the Show'
Arrow‘s secret is out! Now that Oliver’s bodyguard has learned that his charge is a hooded vigilante, Diggle will have to make some big decisions about what to do with that information in this Wednesday’s episode (The CW, 8/7c), his portrayer, David Ramsey tells TVLine.
Below, the actor talks about making Oliver accountable and whether someone else will learn about Ollie’s hidden identity.
TVLINE | To date, how would you describe Diggle’s relationship with Oliver? What did he think Oliver was up to during his absences?
Diggle, being the cautious, observant person that he is, nderstands that there’s much more to Oliver than meets the eye. If you remember, he threw the knife across the room and saved his life in one of the episodes. … He got out of the car while Diggle was driving in a way that’s humanly impossible. So Diggle’s antennas are up, and he’s very suspicious that Oliver could be hiding something. But all of that, as you can see at the end of Episode 3, will come out at the beginning of Episode 4. Diggle’s going to have to make a decision about what Oliver has revealed to him.
TVLINE | I understand this week’s episode marks a big step in shedding the secrecy between their characters.
He is propositioned by Oliver. He’s told that he was brought here for a reason and that Oliver has a great deal of respect for him. Oliver can’t do it all alone. Ultimately, he needs him. And Diggle has to make a decision about that and what he’s going to do with that information.
TVLINE | So how does Oliver feel about someone knowing his secret?
Ultimately, Oliver does realize it’s a good thing for him. … Oliver realizes his limitations in trying to be faithful to his father and getting rid of the people in the book and how that can be done and stay secret at the same time. So he needs help. When he reaches out to Diggle, it’s something that’s planned. He thinks this is the best thing for him.
TVLINE | Does Diggle become the “Alfred” to Arrow’s Batman? Not so much a sidekick, but a confidante?
The one thing that Diggle is not is a sidekick. He looks like he’s a sidekick because he works with him. But you’re not going to see them on a rooftop, costumed, fighting together like a typical sidekick. He has a very strong moral compass. And he keeps Oliver on that moral compass. He reminds Oliver of his own humanity. He reminds Oliver, even in Episode 4, of what killing people does to the human psyche. This is an important element not just of Diggle, but of the whole show – of what is right and our sense of what is right and who deserves it and who doesn’t deserve it. These are the questions that we should be asking ourselves, but Diggle has the voice that we should have. He’s the one that questions things the way that we should question things. Ultimately, you want to see your superhero doing the things he’s meant to do, which is fight and kill bad guys. But there should be a voice someplace in us that says, “Did we kill the right guy?” Diggle, among other things, provides that voice.
TVLINE | But what skills can he bring to the table when needed?
In terms of physical skills, he’s a soldier. He’s a trained martial artist. You see a lot of that. You see some of that already with his fight with China White, and you’ll see, in Episode 5, him taking out four or five guards. He trains all the time with Oliver. Diggle can absolutely handle his own, and Oliver wouldn’t have chosen him if he couldn’t. So he’s not a liability physically. He knows everything there is to know about explosives and artillery. Again, he’s a trained soldier. He was handpicked by Oliver. He can more than handle himself on the battlefield, whether that battlefield be Afghanistan or Starling City.
TVLINE | Given that he was hired by Moira, does this put him in a difficult situation? Does he feel like he has to let the family in on what’s going on with Oliver?
That’s a good question, and, no. Initially, there is some question as to whether or not he will report what he’s found out about Oliver to the family. Because you’re right, that is his employer. But ultimately, his allegiance is to Oliver.
TVLINE | Do you get to go up against any of the characters coming into the show from the comics?
That’s coming down the line. China White has been the only one, thus far, that Diggle has had an encounter with. But there’ll be more.
TVLINE | Going into the show, did you know it was going to be more than a “bodyguard” role?
I had a meeting with [director] David Nutter and [executive producer] Andrew Kreisberg when I first got hired. There wasn’t much for Diggle to do on the show. I was doing a recurring role on Blue Bloods, and they were like, “We don’t know how this is going to fit into what you’re doing on Blue Bloods, but we really want you on the show. This is a great role. We promise there’s going to be so much more to do than in the pilot!” When I read the character, there wasn’t a whole lot to do in the pilot. But I saw what they were after in terms of who he was and where they were going with the character and the relationship between him and Oliver. [It's] unlike any relationship that Oliver has. It elevates the show because Oliver is called to question a lot of decisions that he makes. That challenge is always great for any superhero, and Oliver’s no different in that respect. So yeah, I was told where the character was going, and I bought into it. I bought into Andrew Kreisberg and [Greg] Berlanti and David Nutter’s vision.