Messiah (American TV series)
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|Created by||Michael Petroni|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original language(s)||English |
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Running time||38–55 minutes|
|Picture format||4K (16:9 UHDTV in high dynamic range)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||January 1, 2020|
Messiah is an American thriller web television series created by Michael Petroni. The first season consists of ten episodes, which were released on Netflix on January 1, 2020. The series stars Mehdi Dehbi, Tomer Sisley, Michelle Monaghan, John Ortiz, Melinda Page Hamilton, Stefania LaVie Owen, Jane Adams, Sayyid El Alami, Fares Landoulsi, and Wil Traval.
On March 26, 2020, Netflix cancelled the series after one season.
The series focuses on the modern world's reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East, whose followers claim him to be the eschatological return of 'Isa (Islamic Jesus). His sudden appearance and apparent miracles spark a growing international following, casting doubts around who he really is, a case investigated by a CIA officer.
- Mehdi Dehbi as Al-Masih
- Tomer Sisley as Aviram Dahan
- Michelle Monaghan as CIA Case Officer Eva Geller
- John Ortiz as Felix Iguero
- Melinda Page Hamilton as Anna Iguero
- Stefania LaVie Owen as Rebecca Iguero
- Jane Adams as Miriam Keneally
- Sayyid El Alami as Jibril Medina
- Fares Landoulsi as Samir
- Wil Traval as Will Mathers
- Philip Baker Hall as Kelman Katz
- Beau Bridges as Edmund DeGuilles
- Hugo Armstrong as Ruben
- Barbara Eve Harris as Katherin
- Nimrod Hochenberg as Israel
- Emily Kinney as Staci Kirmani
- Jackson Hurst as Jonah Kirmani
- Nicole Rose Scimeca as Raeah Kirmani
- Makram Khoury as Mullah Omar
- Ori Pfeffer as Alon
- Rona-Lee Shim'on as Mika Dahan
- Kenneth Miller as Larry
- Assaâd Bouab as Qamar Maloof
- Dermot Mulroney as President John Young
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"He That Hath an Ear"||James McTeigue||Michael Petroni||January 1, 2020|
|A street preacher clad in yellow (Mehdi Dehbi) preaches to a crowd in Damascus, urging them to be calm and not to worry about their city being captured by Islamic State, as God has ordained that it will not happen. After a month long sandstorm breaks ISIL's supply chains, they retreat and the city is saved. Then the preacher, who people take to calling al-Masih, leads hundreds of his followers into the desert, all the way until the border with the Golan Heights, a journey of around 65 kilometres (40 mi). Al-Masih walks over the barbed wire fence and is arrested by the Israel Border Police. Jailed, al-Masih is interrogated by Aviram Dahan (Tomer Sisley), who is Shin Bet (Israel's internal security agency); he also refuses to provide a real name. Al-Masih turns the tables on Dahan, revealing his name and other facts Dahan feels he could not reasonably be expected to know. Dahan terminates the interrogation and leaves the room. He returns in the early morning hours, but is shocked to find that al-Masih had escaped from detention.|
|2||"Tremor"||James McTeigue||Michael Petroni & Bruce Marshall Romans||January 1, 2020|
|With al-Masih having escaped, an international incident is brewing as the people he led to Israel's border starve; when news of his escape reaches them, they receive further resolve to stay. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency steps in to help the Israeli authorities find al-Masih and figure out who he is, led by Eva Geller (Michelle Monaghan). After Dahan thinks he sees him, but instead it's just a look-alike, al-Masih resurfaces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza (also known as the Temple Mount or Dome of the Rock) in Jerusalem. He preaches a sermon to the crowd, including apocalyptic phrases like "history has ended". His sermon is interrupted by the Israeli police, who move to capture al-Masih, but fail to do so after a gun is heard to go off and it seems a boy is shot. Al-Masih lays hands on the boy, who rises unharmed. A bloody bullet is shown to the crowd. Many Muslims view this as a miracle. Al-Masih then disappears into the crowd.|
|3||"The Finger of God"||James McTeigue||Amy Louise Johnson & Kelly Wiles||January 1, 2020|
|4||"Trial"||James McTeigue||Michael Brandon Guercio||January 1, 2020|
|Al-Masih's lawyer tells him that while the charge of illegal entry into the United States is likely to be upheld in court, she thinks she can get him out of the federal immigration detention facility he's being held in. She then leaves the facility, and the JTTF tips off Eva Geller about that, who despite having had a miscarriage, rushes in to see him. Once again, al-Masih turns the tables on his interrogator by revealing he knows her name, and that both her mother and husband are deceased. Back in her hotel room, she has a call with her boss, who reveals that Israel is seeking to extradite al-Masih, and that the State's attorney will argue that this be allowed. Eva Geller goes to see al-Masih's lawyer, trying to convince her to stop fighting al-Masih's detention, to keep him out of Israel. At the trial, the State argues that al-Masih's lawyer is lying about him being a Muslim, to which al-Masih replies that he "walks with all men". In a shock decision delivered the next day, the Court decides to grant "Mr. Masih" asylum, which permits al-Masih to walk out of the court room a free man into a waiting car driven by Rev. Iguero.|
|5||"So That Seeing They May Not See"||Kate Woods||Emily Silver||January 1, 2020|
|In the Golan Heights, a badly injured Jibril is cared for by his friend and fellow follower of al-Masih, Samir (Fares Landoulsi). The refugees are faring badly however, and soon Samer questions why Jibril has so much faith, calling him "mad" for not seeking medical care elsewhere as his injuries could kill him. The CIA follows al-Masih and Rev. Iguero back to Dilley, Texas, where Americans from all over begin congregating to be close to al-Masih. Al-Masih stays in a small tent, attended only by Rev. Iguero. When Iguero asks him what to do next, al-Masih tells him that he needs to listen to God. Aviram Dahan travels to Texas to kill al-Masih, but cannot bring himself to pull the trigger when face to face with him; he is caught in the act on camera by Eva Geller, who races after him. Al-Masih walks past Dahan and hears a wounded dog crying out, following the sound. The dog's owner prepares to shoot the dog, but his son begs al-Masih for a miracle. Instead, al-Masih takes the gun and shoots the dog himself, to the exasperation of the child. Geller, startled at the gun shot, finally catches up with Dahan, and is bewildered to see both Dahan and al-Masih still alive. She demands he tell her what happened, but he doesn't.|
|6||"We Will Not All Sleep"||Kate Woods||Michael Petroni & Michael Bond||January 1, 2020|
|7||"It Came to Pass as It Was Spoken"||Kate Woods||Eoghan O'Donnell||January 1, 2020|
|The world is abuzz after al-Masih's miracle, with even the Congregation for the Causes of Saints investigating. Samir, along with many others who defected from the teachings of al-Masih, end up in a compound in the Badia Desert led by a man who thinks al-Masih is al-Masih ad-Dajjal; while Jibril, remaining faithful to al-Masih, ends up in Ramallah, greeted as a liberator. Meanwhile, the highest levels of the U.S. government are concerned over the popularity of al-Masih, with the White House Chief of Staff (Michael O'Neill) demanding the CIA do more to "discredit" him. A prostitute is sent to seduce al-Masih at his hotel, but al-Masih recognizes her as having been paid to discredit him. They however manage to find al-Masih's brother, who tells them that they were raised by their uncle, a trained illusionist.|
|8||"Force Majeure"||Kate Woods||Eoghan O'Donnell||January 1, 2020|
|The President of the United States (Dermot Mulroney) has a secret meeting with al-Masih; al-Masih demands the President withdraw all US troops from everywhere in the world, using the President's Mormon faith in a bid to convince him. The next day, al-Masih reveals to the media that the meeting took place, to the anger of Rev. Iguero, who is not informed beforehand. Later, Rev. Iguero's daughter reveals to him that her mother, Anna, took her to Austin, Texas for an abortion. His daughter also says that al-Masih came to Texas for her, not Rev. Iguero. Later, al-Masih tries to convince Anna Iguero to let "her [daughter] go" to be "her own person". In Jerusalem, a guard admits to having freed al-Masih from prison, ending the investigation into Aviram Dahan.|
|9||"God Is Greater"||James McTeigue||Bruce Marshall Romans||January 1, 2020|
|10||"The Wages of Sin"||James McTeigue||Michael Petroni||January 1, 2020|
|The White House Chief of Staff decides to leak al-Masih's real name to the press, and that al-Masih was brought up by an illusionist, which causes dismay among al-Masih's followers. Meanwhile, Eva Geller catches wind of the fact that al-Masih has been abducted, despite having been granted asylum in the United States. The CIA tracks the "diplomatic jet" as it flies back to the Middle East. In the sky, al-Masih talks to Aviram urging him to free his conscience and that God loves him anyway, that every moment is useful to choose, choose Good or evil and that the last thing he will see before he dies will be the face of the boy he killed in Megiddo. Suddenly the plane begins experiencing severe turbulence and its lights go off. A fearful Dahan looks into the eyes of al-Masih, who seems not at all concerned; the plane crashes while Eva Geller is tracking it. Geller confronts the President's Chief of Staff for leaking classified information, and accuses him of orchestrating the crash. Meanwhile, a very young shepherd comes across the crash site, which is surrounded by poppies despite being in the desert, where he claims to have seen al-Masih raise first himself, then Dahan, along with another man, from the dead. A shocked Dahan peers out across the desert, and sees one of the other passengers on his knees kissing al-Masih's hand.|
On November 17, 2017, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by Michael Petroni who is also credited as an executive producer and showrunner of the series. Additional executive producers include Andrew Deane, James McTeigue, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Production companies involved with the series include Industry Entertainment and LightWorkers Media. On March 26, 2020, Netflix cancelled the series after one season.
In January 2018, it was announced that John Ortiz, Tomer Sisley and Mehdi Dehbi would star in the series. In May 2018, it was announced that Michelle Monaghan had been cast in a starring role. In June 2018, it was reported that Melinda Page Hamilton, Stefania LaVie Owen, Jane Adams, Sayyid El Alami, Fares Landoulsi and Wil Traval had joined the main cast. In the same month, it was announced that Beau Bridges and Philip Baker Hall had joined the cast in a recurring capacity.
On December 3, 2019, the official trailer for the series was released by Netflix.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 44% approval rating for the first season, based on critic 27 reviews. The website's critical consensus states, "A promising premise and superb ensemble can't save Messiah from its own bland storytelling." On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The trailer received negative reception from some Muslim audiences. In December 2019, it was announced in a press conference that The Royal Film Commission of Jordan requested Netflix to refrain streaming Messiah in the country due to the provocative subject matter and controversial religious content covered in the series.
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- Andreeva, Nellie (December 30, 2019). "'Messiah': Jordan's Royal Film Commission Asks Netflix Not To Stream Provocative Series After Supporting Its Shoot". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 31, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
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