Dig Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Pilot”


Last night’s series premiere of USA’s religious conspiracy drama Dig displayed the pieces of a puzzle which in the coming weeks will continue to multiply to form the picture of a mystery that goes beyond one murder. Let’s recap the pieces we’ve been given so far.

The animal born in the first minute of the series in Norway is the first sign of what the Jewish people believe to be a sign from God. Religious leaders believe that a pure red heifer is believed to be a sign from God to rebuild the Jewish Temple. This may coincide with the storyline of opposing religious groups’ fight for the sacred Temple Mound in the series. The murder of the son of a U.S. Senator during the state of unrest in Israel draws the FBI into a religious, and potentially earth-shattering, chain of events.

Enter FBI Agent Peter Connelly and his boss Lynn Monahan, who have no idea the dangerous world they are about to enter into. Ironic since their job is already dangerous as it is, which is why the fact that Connelly’s head isn’t already screwed on that well is a bad sign. After losing his daughter, Connelly requested to be assigned to Jerusalem, separated from his wife and former life. He keeps seeing visions of a girl on the streets of Jerusalem with red hair wherever he goes, though it turns out she’s not a mirage at all. Her name is Emma Wilson, and she is on a fellowship to the country working at a dig site searching for ancient treasures. Their meet seems serendipitous, since Connelly is the embodiment of a cynical American atheist.

Neither one of them expect to stumble upon a religious ceremony taking place in a quartered off tunnel. Emma can tell that this is no ordinary ceremony, and if there was ever a sign that this is the case, it’s her dead body turning up the next morning. Connelly pushes his way onto the case without disclosing his encounter with Emma. He is startled when he realizes the place where they witnessed the ceremony last night has been bricked up, so he’s not going to be asking for permission to investigate this case. That may have to wait when the murderer he’s supposed to be extraditing back to the United States is found to have stolen a device believed to be used to communicate with God, and he escapes. When Connelly finally catches up with him, he is in Emma’s apartment and has stolen the artifact that Emma placed in Connelly’s pocket before she died. Police cars are then seen showing up at Connelly’s apartment looking for him.

On the other side of the world in New Mexico, a young boy is being held in a secure building under very disturbing circumstances. Never allowed outside except by the grace of his caretaker, this boy is told that his parents are dead and that he is destined for something extraordinary. Craving the fresh air and freedom, he escapes and is immediately killed because his feet were never supposed to touch the earth’s ground. Even more disturbing is the fact that the nanny finds another boy who looks exactly like her charge, who is also named Joshua, in a different part of the compound.

So is this program a must-watch live miniseries, or is it headed for the DVR? First of all, since the series actually was first filmed in Israel until it became too dangerous to film in the country, each shot is very genuine and shows the beauty of the country. The details of religious practices and prophecies are carefully selected not only for their significance but for the emotion behind them that has influenced people for thousands of years. The different pieces of this story scattered across different regions of the world will no doubt coincide eventually, but whether they reveal an intriguing picture or a too complicated mess remains to be seen. So far the series is not difficult to follow, and given that it was created from the capable hands of the creators of Homeland and Heroes, I’m optimistic.

Did you get all of the details of the mystery straight? Is FBI Agent Connelly ready to discover and lead the charge into this murder/conspiracy?

[Photo via USA Network]

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