I am generally a fan of Jason Isaacs. His portrayal of a Scottish private detective in "Case Files" was an outstanding piece of work. Ann Heche is another actor that I favor. In her present heterosexual incarnation she is quite convincing and attractive but the TV series "Dig" is just awful and a reminder of the reasons why we watch so much European TV.
The main faults lie in both casting and writing. Contrary to American expectations, there are not a lot of people who are Israeli who were born and raised in the US. Those that exist are generally not in the government. They are often settlers in the West Bank who live apart from government except for doing their conscripted service. They live in those red tile roofed villas in towns springing up as a matter of policy among the Arab towns. In spite of these factoids the Israeli officials and townspeople in "Dig" speak perfect American accented English. What? They could not find actual Israelis with real modern Hebrew accents in English? These accents are a reality of life in Israel. Most Israelis learned English in school and are from Eastern European, east African and Middle Eastern roots. To cast this series with Americans as Israelis is to reinforce American illusions about the origins of the Israeli population.
The scripts seem to have been written by people who know nothing about US Government, the functioning of a US Embassy or history:
- US Marine Corps security guards are just that. They function INSIDE the embassy to guard the facility and most especially the communications center with its sensitive equipment. The marines DO NOT stand around outside the embassy looking picturesque as "greeters." USMC non-commissioned officers assigned to legation guard duty do not stand a post as a sentry unless not enough privates or lance Corporals (E-3) are present for duty. The USMC is understandably sensitive about misuse of their people as blue uniformed servants for the civilian staff of the embassy including the ambassador. The USMC security guard is under the operational control of a civilian Regional Security official in the embassy but they do not do anything but security. I was twice the Defense Attache in US embassies and then head of all the attaches in the world. So, i probably understand this.
- The US Ambassador in this production is apparently resident at the consulate general in Jerusalem. She seems to be there all the time. In fact the US Ambassador is resident at the embassy in Tel Aviv and generally stays away from the consulate in Jerusalem because it is the policy of the US Government to insist that Jerusalem is not recognized by the US as the capital of Israel.
- Isaacs' character is an emotionally unstable FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem as a "legal attache" (euphemism). While there he is happily sc----ng his FBI superior, Ann Heche. Now, I would certainly not claim that such a thing is not possible but it seems less likely among the rather straight laced FBI people than among the State Department folk where I have seen it happen. The "Legal Attache" section in an embassy is usually a rather small time affair devoted to the task of liaison with the local police on FBI business world wide. In this potboiler the FBI conducts investigations in the host country, routinely carries guns and more or less defies the local police. This is laughable. Anyone doing this would be ejected from the country by the hosts.
- The US Ambassador is portrayed as being a conspirator in a cultist plot. Imagination is a great thing in writing plots but this is so absurd as to also be laughable. Cults? No. Likudnik operative? Maybe.
- Finally, the level of ignorance of history is impressive. In the last viewed episode, the ambassador's co-conspirator cultist visits some place in the Aegean to steal or buy something wanted by the cult. His host lives in an old structure where his collection is housed. The host remarks that the building is an 11th century crusader castle. Well, the army of the First Crusade captured the Holy Land in 1099 AD. There were no crusader castles in the 11th Century AD. One would think that a glance at wikipedia would have cleared that up.
All in all a shoddy piece of work. pl