FX is launching a slew of new dramas in 2014 and coming this summer is “Tyrant,” a story of an American family thrust into life in a Middle Eastern country. In the pilot episode, Barry Al Fayeed (Adam Rayner) decides to go back to his home country for a wedding, opening up an entire chapter of his life that his wife Molly (Jennifer Finnigan) and two children know nothing about.
The family is immediately thrust into what seems, at first glance, like a dream scenario, because Barry is actually Middle Eastern royalty. But of course, things are not always what they seem.
Executive producer Howard Gordon (above, left) tells the 2014 TCA press tour that when his “Homeland” collaborator Gideon Raff (above, right) pitched the idea, it was “instantly evocative.”
“It’s not just the tyranny of a country but the tyranny over ourselves and over our family, and that’s one of the themes that comes out in the pilot,” says Gordon, adding that the show hopes to explore “the complexities and folly” of American foreign policy with regards to the Middle East.
“The last of unintended consequences makes for very good drama,” Gordon continues, “To me, this really is the story of our time. That part of the world is experiencing a seismic shift. … This show definitely was born from the on-going story of the Arab
spring. I think we’re all experiencing — this is our parochial view,
this is a story that pre-dates 9/11, but to our minds, we’ve realized
that we’re not a part of a world that is several oceans and continents
As for the fact that the show centers around a Westernized man who is of Middle Eastern descent, Gordon says bring on the haters.
“This will be a Rorschach test, people will see what they want to see and
what can you do? I’ve been called an Islam-ophobe and a
torture-mongerer, so what else can they call me?” Gordon posits, adding that in the end, “Tyrant” is really about asking “What does it mean to be a good man?”