“Hostages”, CBS’ new drama starring Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, won’t just be a show about a family being held hostage in their living room, executive producer Jeffrey Nachmanoff promises. In fact, the title “Hostages” is not as literal as you might think.
“The name ‘Hostages,’ it’s really a metaphor. It’s not a show about people who are held hostage the entire time,” Nachmanoff said during the ‘Hostages’ panel at CBS’ press tour on Monday (July 29). “It’s about how these people are hostages to who they are and the decisions they’ve made and the situation they’re in. And that may mean later on they’re out and about in the world.”
The thriller, from executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, centers around a family taken hostage in their own home as the mother — a surgeon caught in the middle of a grand political conspiracy — is ordered to assassinate the President of the United States in order to save her family. McDermott plays the man taking the family hostage … but he might not be as evil as you expect the man ordering the President’s death to be.
“Duncan Carlisle is a character who is a good man inside and has a lot of qualities that we admire, but he’s doing something extraordinary and he has a reason for doing it,” Nachmanoff revealed.
The reason behind Duncan’s actions is why McDermott took the role in the first place. “I really responded to the character. I like to play both good and bad, I enjoy that as an actor,” McDermott said. “This was the perfect opportunity to play both sides of it. That stuff turns me on.”
EP Rick Eid promised that Duncan won’t become too sympathetic, however. “He’s not too good. At the end of the day he’s trying to kill the President,” Eid said. “No matter what his motivations are, that’s not the world’s most kind way of trying to implement it. He’s a flawed guy who’s doing something extraordinary and criminal for what he believes to be a good reason.”
And as for the woman holding the lives of either her family or the POTUS in her hands? Collette is excited to show how she handles the seemingly impossible situation. “Here’s a woman who’s wearing a lot of different hats. She has a very high pressured job she’s very successful at, she’s a mom, she’s a wife,” Collette said. “Here’s a woman who, in a way, has been toeing the line her whole life and she’s put in a situation where she has to cross that line.”
The choice she makes in the premiere — whether or not to kill the President — will have a big fallout for the rest of the season. “One episode leads to the next, and we’ll see pretty quickly in episode 2 that the family is back to their ‘normal’ lives,” Eid said. “They’re back out into the world. It’s not a family trapped in a living room for the entire season.”
And the EP’s promise that the choices everyone makes will have definitive consequences. “At some point in the next few episodes the family is going to try and escape and in the process one of the central characters gets shot,” Nachmanoff revealed. “And there’s a whole Stockholm syndrome story line that we’ll play out because they’re trapped in this situation.”
But will any of the consequences be permanent — like deadly permanent? “Another character gets killed,” Eid promised. “We’re not pulling punches.”
“Hostages” premieres Monday, Sept. 23, at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.