Idiot Box: “Dig” On Usa

“Dig” On Usa

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
Share ::
Unable to compete against the big networks with mere sitcom reruns and reality shows, basic cable stations are now forced to up their game. Stations like AMC (“The Walking Dead,” “Better Call Saul”), WGN (“Salem,” “Manhattan”) and History (“Vikings,” “Turn”) are actively producing slick, expensive dramas that go head-to-head with the material pay cable station like HBO and Showtime are able to crank out. USA Network, once home to such cult shows as “Commander USA’s Groovie Movies” and “Up All Night with Rhonda Shear,” has spent the last few years developing original series. “The 4400,” “In Plain Sight,” “Psych,” “Burn Notice” and “White Collar” have all demonstrated USA’s recent commitment to fresh programming. But with the Biblically minded thriller “Dig,” USA steps into a whole new territory.

“Dig” is a collaboration between producer-writer-creators Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and Gideon Raff (“Homeland”) and plays like a combination of their two famous shows. “Dig” centers around FBI Agent Peter Connelly (Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series). Connelly is one of those emotionally haunted types. He’s hiding out in Jerusalem, having fled the United States (and his wife) after the murder of his daughter. Working with the US Consulate and occasionally sleeping with his boss (Anne Heche), Connelly tries to keep a low profile. When the murder of a young American archeologist (singer-songwriter Alison Sudol) hits a little too close to home, however, Connelly comes out of the woodwork for some serious detective work.

Over the course of the show’s tightly directed pilot, it’s more than hinted that this archeologist has been killed as part of some ancient, international conspiracy. She’s been participating in a controversial archeological dig near the Temple Mount and may have uncovered a key item that’s causing a cabal of Jewish mystics and end-times Christians to freak out. On the other side of the globe, somewhere in the New Mexican desert, a prophecy-spouting preacher (David Constabile) is raising a small boy, possibly as the next savior—or, just as likely, the exact opposite. How are these events connected? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

“Dig” clearly borrows a page from Dan Brown’s wildly popular conspiracy thrillers (like
The Da Vinci Code). But only a page. Brown’s works all read like academic reports written by a librarian. “Dig” is much more earthy, with curse words, bloody shoot-outs and at least one errant nipple. The show was supposed to shoot in Jerusalem itself, but (ironically) conflict in the Middle East caused the production to flee to Croatia and the deserts of New Mexico. Wherever it’s filmed, the show looks dynamite. This is the sort of epic, globe-hopping adventure that captures attention from the first glance.

So far it’s looking like the show will be concentrating on a collusion between Jewish and Christian religious leaders to bring about the end of the world. Producers are calling it an “event series,” meaning it will last only a single season. If they stay true to that, this should be one tight, tense series. Already the twists and turns it’s revealed are enough to make viewers crave answers. And with only 10 episodes, we should end up with some honest-to-god story resolution. That, my dear USA, is something to strive for.

“Dig” airs Thursdays at 8pm on USA.

1 2 3 272