The Arty Semite

'Homeland' Writer Lands New Series Set in Jerusalem

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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We’ve seen Tel Aviv stand in for Beirut in screenwriter Gideon Raff’s smash Showtime hit “Homeland” (based on his Israeli series “Hatufim”). Now, in his new series, “Dig,” we’re going to see Jerusalem stand in for… well, Jerusalem.

Raff has scored a six-episode deal with USA Network, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. The action-adventure-event series will be produced completely in Israel’s capital city by Keshet Media Group. Co-written by “Heroes” writer Tim Kring, it will be about an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem.

While investigating the murder of a woman archeologist, he uncovers “a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history,” according to Deadline.com. The protagonist “finds himself falling down an archaeological rabbit hole,” as The Times of Israel puts it more dramatically.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat hopes “Dig” is the harbinger of whole slew of American TV series shot in his city. “When we combine Hollywood’s creative potential with Jerusalem’s historic backdrop, it will result in the ability to connect hundreds of millions of viewers around the world to this unique and beautiful city,” he said in a press release distributed by Keshet.

Raff, who was born in Jerusalem, is drawn repeatedly to subjects related to his homeland. “Being Israeli is who I am, it’s part of my DNA,” he told The Times of Israel. “I write what I know, which happens to be Israel and the Middle East. It’s a raw nerve in a tricky part of the world, and it is fascinating to people.”


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