TCA: USA Network Previews New Event Series ‘DIG’

DIG USA Network 2

USA Network presented their new event series DIG at the Television Critics Association’s summer session on Thursday. The six-episode series stars Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, Awake) as Peter Connelly, an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem, is investigating the death of an American citizen that has been killed on foreign soil and soon uncovers a conspiracy thousands of years in the making. Anne Heche (Hung, Save Me) stars as Lynn Monahan, the head of the Jerusalem FBI office, who happens to be Peter’s boss and sometimes lover.

There’s much more to the story than just solving the murder of a young female archaeologist.  “It’s primarily a murder mystery set in old Jerusalem,” says producer Tim Kring (Heroes) who created the series along with Gideon Raff (Homeland, Tyrant) and due this fall. 

Running a series as an “event series” or “limited series” seems to be the new trend, but not as new as BBC has been doing this for years with shows like Luther and Sherlock.

Kring says that “certain stories lend themselves to a beginning, middle and end and some can go on and on. Knowing where you’re going is a real luxury.” Isaacs adds that “it takes you on a journey and the journey has an ending. The ending is the most important part…and I love telling a proper story and this is a proper story.”

Heche brings the light to panel by asking if she could be turned down because the mic was so loud. Isaacs jokingly says “you can never be turned down.” She says “I think people think I’m way deeper than I am. I really just like to giggle a lot.”

One TV critic asked Heche about why she chose this role, a more serious one than we’re used to seeing her in. She says “this show came along and I like to surprise people with what direction I’m going in…it’s deep and I love to be able to explore a fantastic and dramatic character and I haven’t done it in a couple years and I’m thrilled to be doing it. I really like complicated characters and when I met with Tim and Gideon, they see my personality and it tends to become part of the character, and as she evolves, everyone works together with that. Even though Lynn works with the FBI, she is a complicated woman and has a deep emotional tie to Peter and is an emotional spirit…I wanted to bring that to her character so she’s not a cookie cutter FBI agent. I wanted her to be a bit more complex.”

Raff confirmed they’ve already wrapped filming on the pilot but “are assessing the situation with the network and executives,” regarding the recent political turmoil in Israel. “We are on hiatus until we start filming the series and this was unplanned. Jerusalem is a key element in our show. We wanted to shoot in Jersualem because of the history. It gives us a lot of possibilities.”

Jerusalem is definitely a major character in the show and the stars and producers are in awe of its beauty. Kring says “it’s absolutely exhilarating to be there. Both Heroes and Touch were about creating worlds that didn’t exist. We created everything with green screens and CGI extension, and the ability to go some place and set up a shot and point your camera and see the world was so fantastic. It was a huge honor to be able to do that.”

Heche adds that it’s “such a beautiful place to be. Every turn you take leads you to another extraordinary place. It’s one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been.”

Heche was here for NBC sessions yesterday as she is currently executive producing Bad Judge in addition to starring in USA’s Dig, saying “you can be in meetings now and be part of anything via Skype.”

One reporter brought up the highly anticipated Heroes reboot, with Kring adding that “this project predated the announcement that Heroes was coming back and I’ve been working on this for a year and a half and hopefully I’ll be able to talk about that when it comes on deck.”

Dig premieres this fall on USA

USA SYNOPSIS: “Dig” is an event series from executive producers Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and Gideon Raff (“Homeland”).“Dig” stars Golden Globe nominee Jason Isaacs (“Awake”) as Peter Connelly, an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem, who, while investigating a mystery surrounding the murder of a young female archaeologist named Emma (Alison Sudol, “A Fine Frenzy”), uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making.   Emmy Award winner Anne Heche (“Save Me”) stars as Lynn Monahan, the head of the Jerusalem FBI office, Peter’s boss and casual lover.Created and executive produced by Kring and Raff,  “Dig” is from Universal Cable Productions (UCP) and was developed by Keshet, in association with Gail Berman (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) of Tecumseh Productions and Gene Stein (“Deception”).  Keshet’s Avi Nir (“Homeland”), Alon Shtruzman and Karni Ziv also serve as executive producers.  The event series shoots in Jerusalem and will premiere in the fall on USA Network

CAST: Anne Heche, Jason Isaacs, Alison Sudol, Lauren Ambrose, Ori Pfeffer, Regina Taylor, SJ Clarkson, Omar Metwally, David Costable, and Richard E. Grant.

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