In NBC’s action drama American Odyssey, an international conspiracy explodes when the lives of a female special forces soldier, a truth-obsessed corporate lawyer and a political activist collide. It’s a complex journey through global politics, corporate espionage and military secrets, involving three strangers who have only one thing in common — the truth.
Hours after her unit assassinates al-Qaida’s leader, and Sgt. Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel) uncovers mysterious files on a computer within his compound, her unit is attacked and Ballard is the sole survivor. Now she is hunted by a Blackwater-esque American contractor for the information she’s saved on a thumb drive. Meanwhile, a corporate attorney (Peter Facinelli) has uncovered that an American corporation is funding international jihadists, and a young political activist (Jake Robinson) learns that Ballard is alive, despite reports to the contrary.
At the core of American Odyssey lies this question: Where does power reside? And can singular people fight against that power and evoke change? Facinelli explains, “You have these Davids that are going up against these Goliaths with nothing but a slingshot.” The tense and explosive drama explores the idea of power as a currency, and as the show’s three main protagonists work toward uncovering the same truth in completely different ways, they are largely unaware of each other.
While Facinelli and Robinson shoot their scenes in the luxury of New York, Friel has found herself in a whole other world — literally. She’s part of a second unit that films in the dust and heat of Morocco.
The actress shares that her role’s biggest challenge — the physical demands of playing a soldier and isolation from her friends, family and castmates notwithstanding — was cutting her hair. When creator/executive producer Peter Horton told Friel she’d have to chop her locks onscreen, it was almost a deal breaker. “I asked, ‘Can’t I wear a wig?’” says Friel. But when she realized that Sgt. Ballard would have shorn her hair in her quest to survive, the actress was onboard, and chopped off a large chunk of her waist-length hair on-camera before having the rest cut later. “I’m not going to lie,” she admits. “When they cut it off, I was really brave at the hairdressers, and then I had an hour and a half drive back home, and I wept the entire time.”
American Odyssey > NBC > Sundays beginning April 5
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