Fox is launching a new series that’s set to enthral and intrigue audiences from the start. Deep State, on from Wednesday, is an eight-part international contemporary espionage thriller written by Matthew Parkhill (creator of the US series, Rogue).
Intense and character-driven, Deep State’s story unfolds across the UK, US, Iran, Lebanon and France. Filming for the series took place in Morocco and UK.
The story follows Max Easton (Mark Strong), an ex-spy brought back into the field to avenge the death of his son, only to find himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy to profit from the spread of chaos throughout the Middle East.
The cast is made up of new and old faces such as Joe Dempsie (Games of Thrones), Karima McAdams, Lyne Renée, Indica Watson, Cara Bossom and Corey Johnson playing alongside Strong.
Watching the first two episodes of the series, I was struck by how the chronology jumps between very specific moments and their consequences. But, that technique seems to be an effective storytelling tool because it allows for viewers to fill in their own blanks as they appear in the story.
That’s also the excellent thing about it, it considers viewers smart enough to follow without being overloaded with information, despite the subject matter being slightly technical in some parts. It is a series about the Deep State after all.
For show runner, writer and director Parkhill, Deep State is a passion project. He explains that the intrigue of a show like Deep State for him is the current global politics. Particularly the role of the West in the political instability of the Middle Eastern region.
“I read an article once on a construction company in Texas. This engineering and construction company made $39.5 billion dollars between 2003 and 2013. So, $39.5billion dollars out of the Iraq war. And the storytelling started from that article which is how does a company, a corporation like that, continue to make those kind of profits? That is what our story deals with on a political level. It’s a fascinating time, the show is different now than it would have been before Trump got elected.
“The show used to be called The Nine, and I changed the name to Deep State. The moment I changed the name suddenly the show opened up. The backdrop of Max’s story and the start of our series is the Iran nuclear deal, but actually what it ends up being about, and where you go in episode eight, is ultimately about the deep state and how it operates. Also what is the deep state? Well it is something that I know has got a lot of traction since Trump has been elected,” Parkhill said.
By way of explaining the term Deep State that lends itself to the series title, Parkhill said: “It was first used in Turkey referring to an attempted assassination of a Turkish politician and it was the first time these words deep state were ever used. This idea that beneath the governments it doesn’t matter who you elect - and I hate to say this on the back of our election history in the U.K. right now - because it just carries on.
“And so it’s a fascinating show for me because you get to explore the highly personal story of the man lost in the wilderness, the man trying to escape his past, the man trying to, on a very simple level, protect his family. But because of the backdrop of the show, it allows us to explore all these fascinating political ideas and areas, so I feel as a writer it’s a perfect area to explore. It’s not just a kind of shoot ’em up spy thriller.
“Some of the most fascinating parts for me are those quieter moments that breathe between Max and his wife, or Max and his kids. Max is on a journey of discovery about his son who’s died. So I think the term deep state, everyone now associates with America and so on, but the notion of deep state and whether it’s intelligence services or defence contractors or finance institutions existing, irrespective of whatever government gets into power, that is the real bedrock of what goes on in our world,” he added.
* Deep State will premiere on Wednesday at 9pm on FOX channel 125.