Chemistry between two actors can't be forced — it's either there or it's not. If a show is lucky, the dynamic between two love interests crackles and sizzles onscreen right from the start, thereby ensuring that the couple will become a favorite for fans. But sometimes, the natural chemistry between two actors not meant to be love interests just can't be ignored, and a true fan-favorite "ship" is born. Just look at Arrow's Olicity, aka Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards): the quirky IT girl was only meant to be a one-off character, but fans loved the sparks between her and the vigilante so much that not only did she become a series regular, she ended up as his fiancée ... twice.
But a new hard-to-ignore pairing has emerged on The CW's gritty superhero drama (airing Thursdays at 9 p.m.), and it's pretty problematic: John Diggle (David Ramsey), aka the new Green Arrow, and Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), aka the new Black Canary. These teammates have gotten closer this season after their escape and survival of the Lian Yu disaster, and Diggle's subsequent injuries that he kept hidden from the rest of the team. Dinah discovered his secret, gave him the appropriate hell for going in the field compromised and getting his fellow teammate hurt, and seemed to convince him to stick to his moral ways.
Turns out, he just learned how to hide his injury better (with illicit drugs), and is now hiding everything from Dinah again. But that hasn't stopped the actors' natural onscreen chemistry. There's just something about these two sharing a scene that screams sexual tension. But Diggle's married with a kid, and Dinah's ex just showed back up in her life, so their chemistry isn't exactly something that fans want them to act on.
Thankfully, both Ramsey and Harkavy are dead set on the fact that these friends won't take things to the next level, ever. Friends they shall remain. Phew!
"First of all, most importantly, Diggle is married, and in my opinion, they’re both very honorable people," Harkavy tells Bustle along with a group of reporters sitting in the Team Arrow bunker on set in Vancouver. "That automatically makes it a no at this point. I also think that their friendship is really special, because they’re not just friends, they’re teammates. That brings an intensity."
Even though they're just friends, Harkavy understands why this "ship" has sailed this season and fans have begun questioning if there's more to Diggle and Dinah's dynamic.
"People see us as teammates, we’re fighting, literally our lives are on the line together, and I think they assume that, because it’s so intense, there’s got to be something more there," she says. "And there is, but it’s not romantic. I mean, it’s your soldier. It’s your partner."
Calling their bond "a brother-sister relationship," it's clear that Harkavy doesn't see a Diggle-Dinah hook up in the future. The teammates can "be strong together" without things turning romantic, which is quite refreshing to hear for a male-female TV pair.
"She has compassion for him, and while she is such a hothead, she has a heart, and that's her friend and he's her brother," Harkavy adds. So even though Diggle's drug use and secret injury will cause waves for the team when it's all exposed, "she's not going to jump the gun and give him away and spill his secrets for him."
"She knows what the right thing is to do. She wants him to do the right thing," she says. "She's just being patient and has faith that he will."
Ramsey teases that the whole Diggle drug use arc is "a six episode thing."
"This is going to be a situation where Diggle’s life is threatened because of this," he tells Bustle along with a group of reporters on set. "The team has already been jeopardized by Diggle’s indecision, but it’s going to go further with his drug use." He promises that Diggle will come clean to his wife Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) and the rest of the team "around episode 6 or 7. It all comes to a head," he warns. "A tragic, tragic head."
Diggle has always been the moral center of Team Arrow, bringing Oliver to the light and keeping everyone honest, even "willing to stay in jail because of how he felt about killing his brother and how that lead to the death of the Canary," according to Ramsey. "This is a very moral man." So it's been quite a shock to see him not only putting his teammates in jeopardy out in the field but potentially hurting himself via illegal means. Ramsey is glad that Diggle will finally face what he's done and own up to his mistakes, but confessing to his wife, aka the head of covert government agency ARGUS, won't be an easy task.
"I don’t know what the theme of this season is, but it should be trust, because that’s going to be a recurring theme," he says. "There was some stuff we’re shooting today that was all about trust, so that theme is going to continue in the big reveal for Dinah and with Diggle’s story, Oliver, Felicity ... He’s never held secrets like this before."
So why now? What changed that made Diggle decide to keep such monumental, game-changing information from his team?
"I point to the importance that he holds, how important and relevant holding the mantle of the Green Arrow is to him," Ramsey explains. "The writers have put that nugget into the last season in the crossover, and it’s paying off now."
And with the news that Diggle and Dinah won't cross the line into relationship territory, at least one other favorite ship is coming back into play this season: Original Team Arrow (OTA), aka Oliver, Diggle and Felicity.
"You are [going to see more of that]," Ramsey reveals. "That becomes a big storypoint, their interactions together." Now that's an Arrow ship we can all get behind.