‘Dig’ creators, stars promise their USA Network ‘event series’ won’t leave viewers hanging

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USA Network will launch a couple of new dramas Thursday with “Satisfaction” and “Rush.” I’ve seen both and can safely say I’m far more pumped up about a USA show I hadn’t seen any clips of until Monday morning at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills.

It’s called “Dig,” and it debuts this fall. The six-episode “limited event series” (the new buzz word in television) comes from Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and Gideon Raff (“Homeland”). (Bad news for “Heroes” fans: You’ll have to be patient. Kring said “Dig” is his sole focus at the moment so “Heroes Reborn” is on the back burner for him.)

USA network president Chris McCumber described “Dig” as a “Da Vinci Code-like thriller” set in Jerusalem.

Jason Isaacs (“Awake”) stars as an FBI agent investigating a murder mystery involving a young archaeologist (Alison Sudol, “A Fine Frenzy”). In the process, he uncovers an ancient conspiracy tied to religion. Anne Heche, who was here Sunday hawking NBC’s “Bad Judge” comedy (she’s an executive producer) co-stars as head of the FBI’s Jerusalem office and Isaacs’ on again, off again lover.

Kring promised that there will be a beginning, middle and end to the six-episode season of “Dig.” (In other words, no repeat of “The Killing.”)“We’re going to do a close-ended series,” Kring said, adding that if there is a season two, it would involve the same characters, different story, different location.

“A lot of us have been talking about this for years, the power of scarcity,” Kring said. “When JK Rowling told the world she was going to write seven Harry Potters, it made those books very precious to people. Television has finally seen this as a viable model as well. Certain stories lend themselves to a beginning, middle and end. Knowing where you’re going is a real luxury when you’re writing.”

Added Isaacs: “It does what all good stories do, it takes you on a journey and it has an ending.”

The pilot has already been shot in Jerusalem, a part of the world that’s very much in the news thanks to the recent escalation of tension and bloodshed in Gaza and the surrounding region.

“Jerusalem is a key element in our show,” Jerusalem-born Raff said, adding that the pilot has been shot and the show is on a pre-planned hiatus. He said producers will monitor the situation in Israel before heading back there to shoot the rest of the series.

Raff said “Dig” is “about a guy who’s grief stricken. His life was shattered by a personal tragedy and he’s dealing with that in the holiest place on earth, which we thought was interesting.”

Kring relished the chance to film on location, especially in a place as exotic and historic as Jerusalem. (Note to Israeli tourism officials: Isaacs delivered an eloquent and accurate description of the city’s magic and allure. Make him your new pitch man.)

“My last two shows that I did, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Touch,’ both relied heavily on creating worlds that weren’t really here in Los Angeles where we shot the shows,” Kring said. “The ability to actually go someplace and set up a shot and point your camera in one direction and see the world, it was just a huge honor.”

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