Barry Al-Fayeed has been living in the United States for twenty years, during which time he got married to Molly Olson, and had two children (Sammy and Emma), with both Molly and he working as physicians, Barry as a pediatrician, in Pasadena. This life belies the fact that at age sixteen, he, under his given name Bassam, escaped his family life in the middle eastern country of Abuddin, where the Al-Fayeeds have been the dictatorial rulers for generations, normally of violent and repressive regimes which he could not morally tolerate. He has not been back to Abuddin since. On the urging of his mother, Barry decides to go back to Abuddin with Molly and family in tow. He may find that leaving Abuddin this second time around is more difficult as he gets ensconced in the troubles the Al-Fayeeds are facing in general in continuing to rule the country as a repressive dictatorship. The longer Barry stays, the more it in turn affects the only life of democratic freedom Molly, Sammy and Emma ... Written by
During a November 2016 New York Times showrunner roundtable focused on TV's depiction of Muslim characters, Howard Gordon expressed regret for the fact that many of the Arab characters in "Tyrant," including the lead, were not played by actors of Arab descent: "I did a show called 'Tyrant,' one I was not running, but kind of wound up running. The lead was sort of the Arab Godfather, except the family business happened to be the military dictatorship of this country. So, right away, the tone of the show is up for grabs. It was at some level ambitious but ill-conceived, and we wound up casting, in the end, a Brit, who had not a drop of [Arab descent]....A white guy....Why we didn't find someone [else], I don't know why. I will call it my inattention, and somehow this happened, and I knew, at some visceral level, this is going to be, among the many challenges, perhaps the greatest challenge." See more »
With a stunning and fascinating portrayal of a middle-eastern power structure, FX has outdone themselves yet again.
What does it mean to have true power, and can you ignore power when you are born into it? The central conflict of this show thrusts it's main characters back into the fray of just such a situation. It portrays power as both freedom and a prison. The Al-Fayeed family, rulers of a fictional middle-eastern country are no different from any other modern Monarchy except that it is still in defacto power and uses brutal tactics to stay there.
Assad, Khadaffi, Saddam, Bush...
These names conjure Dynasty's and dictatorships, and for thousands of years the power struggles within their individual kingdoms were largely ignored by western powers, or swept quietly under a convenient media rug. But for Barry Al-Fayeed, the violence and politics of his family have been left behind. He has no desire to rule anything then his pediatric practice.
As the younger son of a brutal dictator, Barry took advantage of his families wealth to leave the country behind, and hasn't seen home in twenty years. His wife and children are somewhat ignorant of their husbands and fathers old world, knowing only that they are 'sort of' royalty and that grandad is rich. Their ignorance is typical of the average American family, not stupid, but simply devoid of the truth of the day to day in tyrannical regimes in many parts of the world. When his brothers son is due to be married, Barry is called home, and the cycle begins again.
But the truth is, Barry's legacy is one of bullets and blood, of violence and ruthlessness, of intimidation and manipulation. What makes a tyrant? This show promises to show just how far one man will go to secure his family, his country, and his power.
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