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TV Series Review

Jerusalem is proof that popularity isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Ever since King David conquered the already ancient city of the Jebusites and made it his capital, Zion has been one of the world's most beloved—and bloodied—cities. Ownership has changed hands nearly 30 times over the past 4,000 years, and even now the Old City is split into quarters—Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. Its structures are so old that most of its bricks predate the birth of the United States, so revered that the world's three major monotheistic religions call it holy. Many of the world's faithful believe that Jerusalem's story is far from done: It'll be the site of some pretty amazing events.

And some want to hurry those events along.

A young archaeologist is found murdered in one of Jerusalem's countless ancient tunnels. For Peter Connelly, an FBI agent based in the City of David, the death is personal: He met the girl and halfway fell for her the day before—went skinny-dipping with her, in fact. What's more, she eerily (creepily) resembles Peter's own dead daughter. So even though Peter's superiors would like him to butt out, Peter hops on the case anyway—partnering with local policeman Golan Cohen to track down the killer.

What they discover along the way is a massive religious conspiracy involving a red heifer in Norway, a Christian cult in New Mexico and a plot to rebuild Jerusalem's Temple on the Temple Mount ... where Islam's Dome of the Rock mosque just so happens to rest.

"They'd be starting World War III," says an incredulous Golan regarding the conspirators.

"Exactly," Peter says.

Dig is an ambitious 10-part thriller—a huge departure for the USA cable channel. For years USA has relied on its stable of light, episodic programs (think Psych, Monk, Burn Notice) that almost felt like retro counter-programming in this age of seriously serialized television. With Dig, the channel joins the pack. And given that its creators are Gideon Raff ( Homeland) and Tim Kring ( Heroes), it has the pedigree to play with the big boys.

Dig is compelling, in part because of its religious underpinnings. It's like a super-serious Indiana Jones story that traipses through some of Israel's holiest sites and most mysterious corners, treating religion as, at the very least, an extraordinarily important part of people's lives.

'Course, the show suggests that religion can be an extraordinarily bad part, which leads off our litany of issues with it.

Peter, our hero, used to be in seminary before he chucked it all for atheism. Golan has also left his family's faith, and he's currently shacking up with a male lover. Most of the sincere believers we see tend to be folks trying to trigger a final world war, which makes them feel decidedly less sympathetic. Ted Billingham, the New Mexican cult leader, seems particularly loathsome: His compound is less a new Eden than a concrete prison, complete with wayward disciples locked away in chains. He's not above killing members of his flock if they don't seem to be meeting his current needs ... and the fact that these dead sheep show up later, full of vim and vigor and vengeance, gives the show a supernatural tinge.

What else do you unearth when you take a shovel to Dig? Golan and his homosexual lover kissing and cuddling. Peter rolling in the hay with his supervisor, Lynn. He likes them to keep their clothes on for their hookups, but the same cannot be said about what he does a few minutes after meeting that girl who looks like his daughter. And others also bare quite a lot of their bodies for the camera as the episodes spool out. Violence includes murdered bodies turning up with alarming frequency. Language includes s-words.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Dig: 3-26-2015



Readability Age Range



Jason Isaacs as Peter Connelly; Anne Heche as Special Agent Lynn Monahan; Ori Pfeffer as Detective Golan Cohen; Melinda Page Hamilton as Sandra; Alison Sudol as Emma Wilson; Regina Taylor as Ambassador Ruth Ridell; David Costabile as Tad Billingham; Lauren Ambrose as Debbie Morgan; David Costabile as Ted Billingham; Zen McGrath as Josh; Guy Selnik as Avram






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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