Full disclosure. What I’m about to do is whorish. Jewlicious recieved a lovely DVD collection of the second series of Sleeper Cell from Showtime’s PR department. Since I was a huge fan of the first, CK was kind enough to hook me up with the first six episodes on condition that I’d write something on Jewlicious. Please be advised that major spoilers for season one can be found below and a few minor spoilers for the new season. Consider yourself warned.
The new season, entitled “Sleeper Cell: American Terror”, picks up where the first season left off, just a few months after the mega-attack at Dodger Stadium was thwarted by undercover FBI agent, Darwyn Al-Sayeed (played with casualness, intensity and ease by Michael Ealy). While Agent Sayeed is enjoying life without the pressures of infiltrating a well funded and organized terrorist cell and looking forward to a safe future teaching at the FBI academy in Quantico, in true television fashion it isn’t long before he’s “pulled back in.” Why? Because, he’s the only one capable of doing the job. Which is true. He’s the Jack Bauer of Showtime. Except he’s a little less excitable than Jack Bauer. And substantially more chill. Think Bauer on downers but equally methodical. And Muslim. Yes, our hero is an observant Muslim, sickened by the behavior and thoughts of the terrorists and fundamentalists who distort Islam’s true message. Agent Al-Sayeed is on a jihad. A jihad to save Islam from those who dirty its name as well as on a mission to save American innocents from another 9/11. Darwin infiltrates a new cell, once again comprised of Muslims who don’t exactly fit your everday stereotype of an Al Qaeda cell. Last season featured a French convert married to an Algerian, a Berkley raised white boy and Bosnian explosives expert Ilija KorjeniÄ‡, all led by the incredibly charismatic Faris al Farik. This season features an equally colorful batch of terrorists. We have a widowed Dutch woman, a Latino gang member who converted in prison and a London-based Iraqi who, let’s just say, is really confused about a few things.
Faris al-Farik is the Yin to Agent Al-Sayeed’s Yang. Farik is a Saudi extremist played by Israeli-born actor Oded Fehr, who you might know from The Mummy, but I know from Deuce Bigalo. Farik is an evil, evil man, but Fehr plays him with enough humanity that makes this arch-terrorist quite sympathetic at times – especially when he’s being tortured rather gruesomely. But you never like him that much – he is, after all an arch-terrorist. We ended last season with Al-Farik’s arrest by the FBI, but we now find him in CIA custody, where we learn early on, that he’s quite strong and hasn’t give up squat.
The hip hop loving Ilija KorjeniÄ‡, the only other surviving member of the last cell, we learn is in hiding, but jihad is still on his mind. This season features three distinct plotlines – Darin’s undercover work, Farik’s experience in the hands of the USA and KorjeniÄ‡’s life on the run – which we must assume will converge at some point.
The new season of Sleeper Cell: American Terror will premiere tonight on Showtime, with a new episode being shown every night for eight consecutive nights. You can watch the first episode by clicking here and using the password: sneakpeek.