Hawkeye has taken a small-scale story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and introduced some big names to the roster. Kate Bishop, Eleanor Bishop, and Jack Duquesne are the high society side of things, while Maya Lopez and Kazi Kazimierczak are joined by the rest of the Tracksuit Mafia on the ground level. And they are all somehow connected.
There is an unexpected depth in this story for some of the most famous jobbers in Marvel Comics, the Tracksuit Mafia, specifically, with the second in command and team captain, Kazi.
Four episodes into the series, and audiences already have a feel for Kazi’s past with Maya Lopez, the Tracksuits, and the conflicting loyalty that comes with both.
With so much to be unraveled in the final stretch of the series, the relationships of the antagonists seem to be doing some heavy plot lifting. Who is the real leader of the tracksuits? Will Kazi stay loyal to Maya despite his feelings about her plans' consequences?
Kazi actor Fra Fee spoke with The Direct about the workings of this complicated mafia relationship.
Kazi & Maya Lopez - Tracksuit Friendship
In an exclusive interview with The Direct, Fra Fee, who plays Kazi in Disney+'s Hawkeye, opened up about Kazi’s history with Maya Lopez:
“I’ll be forgiven for saying this because I believe one of our writers had tweeted about it. But Kazi is actually at the karate class when Maya is there.”
Confirming that they have been together since childhood, Fee went on to talk about how Maya and he were brought up in the surrogate mob family:
“So they do have a very long history together. They find themselves in this surrogate family, ya know, the Tracksuit Mafia. I expect that it means a lot more to Kazi, the TSM.“
The conflict comes when Maya isn’t keeping the gang's best interests in mind while it means so much to Kazi, with Fee tating that the Tracksuit Mafia is “all he [Kazi] knows:”
“It is only until Maya’s dad is killed that she uses their manpower to try and seek revenge. The TSM is extremely important to Kazi. It’s his life foundation. It’s all he knows.”
The power struggle between the loyal gang member, Kazi, and the heir to the leadership role, Maya, has brought some serious tension to the series:
“So, whenever Maya manages to find herself above Kazi in the pecking order, that is a tough pill for him to swallow. But at the same time, they have this past together. And he is loyal to her.”
Moving forward, Kazi is going to be forced to make a decision to either stick with his roots and what is best for the Tracksuits or remain loyal to his childhood partner in crime, with Kazi citing his character's "dual loyalty:"
“There are feelings of respect and care and loyalty to her as well. And that’s where the real dynamic is really interesting. He is being dual loyalty.”
Kazi and May Lopez’s relationship is being set up to play a huge role in the character development of Alaqua Cox’s character. With the Echo series set to arrive down the line, Kazi’s future in the MCU is uncertain but bright.
The Tracksuit Mafia is Family
Hawkeye has provided a wide array of layers that fans did not expect from the small-scale, deadpan series. Not only has the show dove into Clint Barton in a way that has never been done before, but the new characters being introduced are some of the most complex debuts the MCU has ever seen.
Kazi is the perfect example of a character that has limited appeal on paper but brings to life interesting and deep dynamics on screen. The future of the Tracksuit Mafia is not what audiences expected to be thinking about heading into Episode 5, but here we are.
The introduction of Maya Lopez was something that fans across the internet praised. It was the moment many people sat on their couches, said “I get it,” and realized why this character was receiving her own show.
Showing the other side of the coin when Ronin goes and “takes out the bad guys” immediately created tension and intrigue with Echo and is enough to bring a dynamic new character into the fold. Going one layer deeper, the relationship she has with Kazi adds a whole new level of conflict for not only the characters but the fans.
Kazi has likely gone through as much loss, if not more than Maya Lopez, as a lifetime loyal member of the Tracksuit Mafia. The family dynamic of this group adds weight to an otherwise afterthought character that spotlights the MCU difference.
Fra Fee seems to be excited to explore those depths of Kazi and dive into the decision he has to make. Does he stay loyal to the group that has been his life? Or does he follow Maya into battle, despite his own hesitations?
Fans are sure to find out as the penultimate episode of Hawkeye is set to drop on December 15, 2021.