Fans of Homeland, Quantico and Tyrant will appreciate Deep State 2, which explores the intricately-woven world of politics and subterfuge.
In this season, focus shifts from the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa, targeted for its natural resources. Simply put, the fight over clean energy gets dirty, real fast.
Karima McAdams, who plays Leyla Toumi, does a quick recap on how the last season ended.
She says, “Season one was about a covert team from the CIA and MI6, who are on a mission looking for six Iranian nuclear scientists. When we leave Harry (Joe Dempsie) and Leyla, they’re feeling disillusioned and quit. They go back to England. Harry ventures off to Africa which we see at the start of season two. When we meet them again, they’re both struggling to pick up their lives.”
On how her character is depicted, she reveals: “When the Deep State script came to me, I was seeing a plethora of other scripts that had Arab roles for women. The reason I looked at Leyla as a little bit more interesting is that she embodied a strong woman. She wasn’t there because of her Arab roots.
“She’s incredibly skilled in languages, very capable. She’s very emotional but doesn’t let it get in the way of her work. She doesn’t see the difference between women and men in her team. She doesn’t want to be ‘mothered’ by anyone and I think that’s important.”
With espionage thrillers, there is always one character who raises an eyebrow. Walton Goggins is it.
McAdams shares: “I think Leyla finds it incredibly hard to find the good in Nathan Miller (Goggins) even before anything bad or dodgy happens. She just can’t put her finger on it, but there’s something about this man that isn’t transparent.”
Character traits aside, the Moroccan-English actress and model has nothing but praise for her co-star.
“He’s incredibly giving and supportive. I know he signed on to do the show because he completely believes in the project. In season one, we were trying to put something together for the first time, but now we’re trying to improve on the last season and see where we can take it, and Walton is key to that.”
When it comes to getting to grips with the storyline and her character, she turns to Matthew Parkhill, who shares the credits of creator, director and executive producer on the show.
“Whenever I have any questions, I go straight to Matthew and he always has the right answer to support me.
“Similarly, our other director, Joss Agnew, is wonderful to work with. He remains so calm under pressure. We move at such a fast pace making this show. There’s no rest. It’s challenging and they deal with it incredibly well.”
The change of setting for the new season inspired the cast to do their fair share of research to deliver authentic performances.
“We watched a lot of documentaries about the sub-Saharan wars going on,” McAdams says. “It’s painful to watch people living in such harsh conditions.
“The themes explored in Deep State 2 are very current. The sub-Saharan war on resources is an interesting one. We all have so many electrical appliances and nobody ever thinks that one of the key ingredients for most of these appliances come from Africa, one of the poorest continents.”
Deep State 2 airs on FOX (DStv channel 125) at 8.45pm today.