[Warning: Episode 1 and 2 spoilers lie ahead!]
The first two episodes of USA’s Dig have seen the loss of several characters: Emma, Josh, Olaf, and Haim. And from what the show’s star, Jason Isaacs, has to say, it sounds like viewers shouldn’t expect the show’s lethal streak to let up anytime soon.
“This story is ending [after episode 10], and you’ll see and know why,” Isaacs said. “Don’t get over-attached to any of the characters, because believe me, not many people are left standing at the end.”
Beyond the show’s imminent casualties, Isaacs was able to tease the timeline for a big development. “By the end of episode six, there’s a surprise so shocking that you might want to go back and watch the previous episodes—re-watch them through the prism of what you now know,” he hinted. That’s as much as he would let on.
As a refresher, the conspiracy-thriller, created by Gideon Raff (Homeland) and Tim Kring (Heroes), follows Peter Connelly (Isaacs), an atheist FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem, who buries himself in work to cope with the death of his daughter. While there, he investigates the murder of a young archaeology student, Emma Wilson (Alison Sudol)—who looks like his late daughter—which eventually leads him to uncover a deep conspiracy.
Its pilot focused on the crucial meeting of Peter and Emma, and her murder. It also tracks a young boy, Josh, who is living amongst a religious cult in New Mexico, as well as a young Hasidic Jewish man caring for a red heifer in Norway. I, for one, had a number of burning questions coming out of it:
- Is Ian Margrove (Richard E. Grant) really the bad guy, or are viewers just supposed to believe that he is for the time being?
- What happened to Peter’s daughter? How did she die?
- Is Ted Billingham (David Costabile) cloning children? (This one is a little out there, I know.)
- Was Emma killed over the stone that she slipped into Peter’s pocket?
- Is there a connection between the red heifer and Emma, and if so, what is it?
And that’s just the beginning! For the record, Isaacs evaded each of these queries with a laugh—but said that viewers should rest assured: “Believe me, every single question you’ve asked will be answered by watching the show.” The show made good on his promise in episode two, at least in part, when it was revealed that Peter’s daughter committed suicide. (It addressed other questions, but did not answer them in full.)
More than the actual answers, though, Isaacs is interested in the way information is revealed. “The pleasure for an audience is in the skills of its storytellers,” he said of the show, speaking to Raff and Kring, and when and how they disclose plot points to build suspense.
For Isaacs, this unknown is something to be celebrated. “There’s an exquisite joy in not being given answers, and not quite reaching the conclusion,” he said. “Movies, for instance, which are generally under two hours long, set up the questions, answer them all, resolve the problem, characters change. This is sophisticated storytelling, set at a pleasureful pace that should be torturously entertaining and satisfying.”
Torturous, for sure—but that’s sort of the point.
Dig airs Thursdays on USA at 10/9c.