Katherine Heigl returning to TV as CIA analyst
In the wake of its success with The Blacklist this season, NBC has given series orders to a trio of intrigue-heavy political-tinged dramas that bring Katherine Heigl, Anna Friel, and Hope Davis into prime-time.
First up is Allegiance, a show that will remind some of FX’s The Americans, except it’s set in present day. The show stars Scott Cohen (Necessary Roughness) and Davis (The Newsroom) as deactivated covert Russian spies living in America (full descriptions below).
Then there is State of Affairs, which returns former Grey’s Anatomy star Heigl to series TV. This one is about a CIA attaché who counsels the president on high-stakes incidents around the world. Affairs marks Heigl’s first regular prime-time gig since she exited Grey’s in 2010.
Next is Odyssey, an ambitious project that’s told in three disparate stories. From the logline: “This is the thrilling tale of families torn apart when a female Special Ops soldier in North Africa, a corporate lawyer, and a Wall Street activist each uncover the same conspiracy between a U.S. corporation, the government, and terrorism.” Odyssey stars Anna Friel and Jake Robinson. This order is a bit surprising because concepts this complex are considered tough for a network to market, but we heard NBC really loved this pilot.
NBC also picked up at one comedy to series, details on that show here. The pilot-to-series pickups are in preparation for NBC’s presentation to fall TV schedule presentation to advertisers next week. There will be more to come this week (including, yes, verdicts on existing bubble shows like Community).
Full official descriptions of the new dramas from NBC:
— Allegiance: Alex O’Connor (Gavin Stenhouse), a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, learns a shocking secret and his close-knit, affluent family is about to be split apart when its revealed that his parents, Mark (Scott Cohen, “Necessary Roughness”) and Katya (Hope Davis, “The Newsroom,” “In Treatment”) are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. But today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. border that will bring America to its knees. Years ago, Russian-born Katya was tasked by the KGB to recruit American businessman Mark O’Connor as a spy and the two fell in love. A deal was struck: As long as Katya remained an asset for Russia, and it was agreed that her services could be called on in the future, she would be allowed to marry Mark and move to America. After years in America building a happy life and without word from Moscow, they thought they had escaped. Now it seems that the new Mother Russia has one more mission — turning Alex into a spy. For these anguished parents, the choice is clear: Betray their country or risk their family. The cast also includes Margarita Levieva, Gavin Stenhouse, Morgan Spector, Annie Ilonzeh, Alexandra Peters and Kenneth Choi. Writer-director George Nolfi (“The Adjustment Bureau”) serves as executive producer with Avi Nir (“Homeland”), Ron Leshem, Amit Cohen, Yona Wisenthal and Giyora Yahalom. “Allegiance” is a production of Universal Television, Keshet Media and Yes!
— State of Affairs: Each day the president is faced with hundreds of life and death decisions, and to prioritize the biggest international crises facing the country, one top CIA analyst – Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”) – assembles the president’s Daily Briefing (PDB). This list of the most vital security issues facing the nation brings with it moral and political judgment calls for Charleston are her trusted group of brilliant analysts at the agency. Aside from the political minefields she has to walk, Charlie has a close personal relationship with the president (Alfre Woodard, “Desperate Housewives”) because she was once engaged to her son before a tragic terrorist attack took his life. Charlie survived that attack and is now determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. Navigating a complex personal life and a pressure-cooker profession is, of course, a challenge, and Charlie sometimes engages in boundary-pushing behavior to avoid facing her grief. But when the clock strikes 2 a.m., she is all about her job — protecting her nation, serving her president, and still trying to get to the bottom of her fiancé’s murder that will reveal itself as a shocking mystery. The cast also includes Adam Kaufman, Sheila Vand, Cliff Chamberlain, Tommy Savas and Leslie Odom, Jr. Writer-director Joe Carnahan (“The Blacklist”) serves as executive producer with Katherine Heigl, Nancy Heigl, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Rodney Faraon and Julia Franz. “State of Affairs is a production of Universal Television, Bob Simonds Company and Abishag Productions.
— Odyssey: In this “Traffic”-like action drama, an international conspiracy explodes when three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide — a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a political activist. After a team of American soldiers battle Jihadists in North Africa, they’re shocked to find that one of the men they killed is Al Qaeda’s top man. Sgt. Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel, “Pushing Daisies”) — a soldier, mother, wife and the unit’s only female member — discovers computer files that suggest a major U.S. corporation is funding the Jihadists. But before she can tell anyone, her team is attacked and left for dead. News is reported that the unit was wiped out, but the truth is that Odelle survived and is the only witness to her unit’s assassination by U.S. Special Forces. In New York, former U.S. Attorney Peter Drucker (Peter Facinelli, “Nurse Jackie”) is working on a merger deal for the same company that was funneling money to the Jihadists. Meanwhile, Harrison Wolcott, a political activist and trust fund kid, meets a hacker who claims to have unearthed a massive military-industrial conspiracy. And he’s right: He’s stumbled onto the cover-up that began with Odelle and will soon be out in the open and everyone’s lives will be in danger. The only way they’ll ever save their country, their families and themselves is by joining forces and exposing the people behind it. From director Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy”) comes a complex journey through global politics, military secrets and three strangers who only have one thing in common … the truth. The cast also includes Jake Robinson, Jim True-Frost, Treat Williams, Nate Mooney, Elena Kampouris, Daniella Pineda, Sadie Sink, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Omar Ghazaoui. Writers Adam Armus (“The Following”) and Nora Kay Foster (“Heroes”), and director Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy”) serve as executive producers with Simon Maxwell (“Off the Hook”), Mikkel Bondesen (“Burn Notice”), Henrik Bastin (“Burn Notice) and Kristen Campo (“The Killing”). “Odyssey” is a production of Universal Television, Fabrik Entertainment and Red Arrow Entertainment Group.