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Feature: Primetime

Sleeper Cell

The cast of Sleeper Cell

Move over Jack Bauer; another dedicated agent is infiltrating a terrorist group…

Despite the color-coded warnings, the increased airport and subway security and the emergency alerts, experts widely believe that the biggest threat to the United States is the cells of terrorists working secretly within communities throughout the country.

Showtime’s chilling new drama Sleeper Cell spotlights this scenario, telling the story of Darwyn (Michael Ealy), an agent who poses as a prisoner inside a federal penitentiary to develop contacts that enable him to infiltrate an Islamic terrorist cell in Los Angeles, led by a charismatic extremist, Farik (Oded Fehr).

After last season of 24, which was condemned by Muslim organizations, were the producers of Sleeper Cell worried about the reaction it would stir up?

“I think this show is a pretty balanced portrayal of what’s really out there,” acknowledges Executive Producer Cyrus Voris. “We have Islamic terrorists, but the lead in our show, Darwyn, is a practicing Muslim and he’s the hero.”

“One of the big points of the show is to try and inform people that these terrorists, these people that you fear and hate, are among us,” says Michael Ealy. “That’s what’s terrifying. They’re blending into our culture. They’re listening to hip-hop. They’re teaching our kids how to drive. You just don’t know. But if we don’t create some sort of awareness, we will all continue to walk around with tunnel vision and wonder what’s going on, and no one is going to talk about it – we have to talk about it.”

by Judy Sloane

Read the full feature in
TV Zone #199

Photo © Showtime
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #199
March 2006
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