WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Season 5, Episode 1 of Blindspot.
The fifth and final season premiere of Blindspot proved that even lead characters aren’t immune to premature deaths. A year after that harrowing drone strike cliffhanger aired, fans finally learned which FBI agents made it out of the attack alive — and, more importantly, which one didn’t.
What happened to Reade on 'Blindspot'?
In a flashback sequence, we learn that the beloved team member died facilitating Zapata’s escape after the cabin they were in was destroyed by the blast. Before the drone hit, Reade, Zapata, Weller, and Patterson headed to a series of underground tunnels after learning of Madeline Burke’s plan to kill them, but they didn’t emerge unscathed.
Reade ended up getting crushed by debris after shifting his weight to allow for Zapata to pass, saving her life. This act of heroism was particularly poignant given that Reade had finally worked up the courage to act on his feelings for Zapata at the end of Season 4.
In an interview with TVLine, series creator Martin Gero revealed that Reade’s death has been in the works for over a year. "It was a decision we had made pre-pickup [for the final season]," he said.
"We had talked about it like, 'If there is a Season 5, this is how it will play out.' We pitched NBC this configuration of it," he explained. "This is how we wanted to go out. So, the second we got the pickup, I let [actor] Rob [Brown] know first and then told the rest of the cast. Everyone knew from jump what was happening."
Martin stated that the actors were aware any one of their characters could be killed off in this last chapter. "Everyone that was in the building that exploded came to me between seasons and was like, 'Listen, if it’s me [who dies], I totally get it. Let’s just make it cool,'" he shared. "Rob couldn’t have been more gracious about it."
SPOILER: 'Blindspot' fans haven’t seen the last of Reade.
In his chat with TVLine, Martin confirmed that the character "is very much dead," but added, "we’re a show that occasionally does flashbacks, so [Reade will] still be a part of the season."
The showrunner noted that as the season progresses, viewers will see why Reade was the one chosen to perish in the drone strike. "His death plants a seed that ripples off into a bunch of amazing stories that we couldn’t necessarily do if someone else died," Martin hinted.
"This season is about goodbye… The jeopardy that every character on this show is suddenly under really charges the show in an exciting way," he continued. "There’s no bigger ending than the death of a character to remind you, 'This is ending for all of us.'"
Since the season premiere aired on May 7, Rob hasn’t said much about his heartbreaking exit, but he did comment on a nice Twitter message from writer Chris Pozzebon, who said Reade’s death was the hardest scene he’s ever had to write on Blindspot.
"Thank you Chris. Pleasure workin with you," Rob tweeted in response to the "12 pages of gut wrenching goodbye" Chris crafted for the monumental moment.
New episodes of Blindspot air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.