Tyrant (TV series)

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Genre Family drama
Political thriller
Created by Gideon Raff
Developed by
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 22 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Pavlina Hatoupis
  • Gergo Balika
  • Howard Ellis
  • Adam Goodman
  • Lahav Doron
  • Dennis Hammer
  • Khadija Alami
  • Caglar Ercan
  • Evrim Sanal
  • Mustafa Uslu
  • Ronald M. Bozman
  • Avraham Karpick
  • Attila Szalay
  • Itai Ne'eman
  • Avraham Karpick
  • Chris Seager
  • Sang Han
  • Garret Donnelly
  • Don Broida
  • Gerald Valdez
  • Sondra Watanabe
  • Jordan Goldman
  • Matt Chessé
  • Tanya M. Swerling
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 55 minutes (pilot)
45 minutes (regular)
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network FX
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original release June 24, 2014 (2014-06-24) – present
External links
Official website

Tyrant is an American drama television series created by director and writer Gideon Raff and developed by Howard Gordon and Craig Wright.[1] The first season of Tyrant consisting of 10 episodes premiered on American cable network FX on June 24, 2014 and ended on August 26, 2014.[2] FX renewed Tyrant for a second season which premiered on June 16, 2015, and ended September 1, 2015.[3]

On October 8, 2015, FX renewed the series for a third season scheduled to premiere on July 6, 2016.[4][5]


Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed, the younger of two sons of an infamous Middle-Eastern tyrant, has been running from his past for 20 years. Now a pediatrician living in the United States, he has an American wife, son and daughter, and has no desire to revisit his familial origins. However, when he is reluctantly compelled to return to his home country (the fictional Abuddin) for his nephew's wedding, he is quickly drawn into a taut political crisis when his father passes away in the midst of growing popular revolution against the ruling family. Bassam must now attempt to use his influence to guide the new President, his brutal and unstable older brother Jamal, to a political solution that will avert a bloody conflict.


Main cast

  • Adam Rayner as Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed (Khalil in seclusion): the second son of Khaled Al-Fayeed, the long term dictator of Abuddin, and Amira Al-Fayeed. He has been in self-imposed exile in Pasadena, working as a pediatrician.[6]
  • Jennifer Finnigan as Molly Al-Fayeed: Barry's American physician wife, with whom he has two children, teenagers at the start of the series[6]
  • Ashraf Barhom as Jamal Al-Fayeed: Barry's older brother who takes over the Presidency of Abuddin upon his father's death[6]
  • Moran Atias as Leila Al-Fayeed: Jamal's wife who had a past relationship with Bassam.[6]
  • Noah Silver as Samuel "Sammy" Al-Fayeed: Barry and Molly's gay son.[6]
  • Alice Krige as Amira Al-Fayeed: the matriarch of the Al-Fayeed clan (Jamal and Barry's mother)
  • Alexander Karim as Ihab Rashid (recurring cast Season 1, main cast Season 2): Sheik Rashid's son and the current resistance leader who has his own aspirations to take over the government
  • Cameron Gharaee as Ahmed Al-Fayeed (recurring cast Season 1, main cast Season 2): Jamal and Leila's son, and next in line for leadership
  • Sibylla deen as Nusrat Al-Fayeed (recurring cast Season 1, main cast Season 2): Ahmed's bride.
  • Anne Winters as Emma Al-Fayeed (main cast Season 1, special guest Season 2): Barry and Molly's daughter.[7]
  • Fares Fares as Fauzi Nadal (main cast Season 1, special guest Season 2): freedom-fighting reporter and Barry's childhood friend.[8]
  • Mehdi Dehbi as Abdul (season 1, voice uncredited Season 2): a young man from Abuddin who works as a security officer for the Al-Fayeed family. He is a closeted homosexual who develops a connection with Barry's son Sammy.[9]
  • Justin Kirk as John Tucker (season 1): a U.S. diplomat assigned to the embassy in Abuddin[6][10]
  • Salim Daw as Yussef (season 1): the longtime top political advisor to the President of Abuddin.

Recurring cast

  • Mor Polanuer as Samira Nadal: Fauzi Nadal's 20-year-old daughter, a Muslim girl in active opposition to the Al-Fayeed family, who fights bravely for the principles in which she believes.
  • Raad Rawi as General Tariq Al-Fayeed: Khaled's brother, the top military leader of Abuddin, and is revealed to be the one responsible for the base bombing and the subsequent retaliation
  • Oshrat Ingedashet as Reema: Barry and Molly's maid at the palace
  • Mohammad Bakri as Sheik Rashid: the exiled former resistance leader
  • Waleed Elgadi as Walid Rashid: Sheik Rashid's younger brother, who sides with the Al-Fayeed regime although not being treated with respect because he is a Rashid
  • Wrenn Schmidt as Jenna Olson: Molly's younger sister, who suddenly appears in Abuddin and surprises Molly and her family. A free-spirited young woman whose reckless ways are usually met with disapproval from Molly and Barry.
  • Leslie Hope as Lea Exley: an employee of the U.S. Embassy who, along with Tucker, assists Barry in his plan to overthrow Jamal.
  • Jake Weber as James "Jimmy" Timmons: a lawyer who assists Sammy and Molly in obtaining Barry's inheritance.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 June 24, 2014 (2014-06-24) August 26, 2014 (2014-08-26)
2 12 June 16, 2015 (2015-06-16) September 1, 2015 (2015-09-01)


While the show is filmed throughout many cities in Israel (such as Kfar Saba, Petach Tikva, and Tel Aviv)[11] and Morocco,[12] because of the ongoing violence between Hamas and Israel, FX has moved its production from Israel to Istanbul, Turkey.[13][14] The fictional Arab country of "Abuddin" is deliberately compiled out of mixed elements of a few different actual countries, in order to not appear to simulate a particular nation or situation. The producers of the series have also said that no particular sects or clans will be named while relating details. Executive producer Howard Gordon stated, "We do want to stay away from reality and yet hew to it as long as it sort of feels emotionally correct and culturally correct. I think we’re going to try to stay away from names as much as possible."[6]

The first television promos appeared in April 2014, featuring an excerpt of the song "Wave" from the album Morning Phase by Beck.


Tyrant has received mixed reviews. On Metacritic, the show holds a score of 54 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15] On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has a rating of 60%, based on 47 reviews, with an above average score of 6.2 out of 10. The consensus on the site reads: "Realizing a uniquely vital representation of life in the Middle East, Tyrant mostly thrives as a biting family drama set against immersive scenery".[16]

The pilot episode has been criticized by some for Adam Rayner's lackluster performance, the show's depiction of the Middle East, and for being boring - others have said it is a nuanced performance in an understandably complicated role. Alan Sepinwall at HitFix labeled the show "messy", and criticized Adam Rayner's performance as Barry: "Rayner is so bland, so lacking in charisma in the role – Barry is by nature, a quieter more reserved character, but there are ways to play silence that aren't remotely this dull – that it's baffling that Gordon and company would go to the trouble and risk the justifiable anger over the casting."[17]

Some reviews were more positive. Melissa Maerz at Entertainment Weekly gave the show a B-, enjoying it, but admitting that the show could use some work: "With so much attention focused on this American series set in the Middle East, Tyrant is already an important show. Now it just has to prove that it's also a good one."[18] At The Arizona Republic, Randy Cordova wrote that the first season "was one of the most overheated programs on TV, in the best sense of the word." [19] He also praised Barhom's work, saying the actor overshadowed Rayner: "Through his layered performance, Barhom brings a smoldering intensity to the role and practically drips with testosterone," Cordova writes.[19]

The show's depiction of Jamal Al Fayeed as a rapist was also criticized. Maureen Ryan at The Huffington Post accused the show of using Jamal's sexual assaults to add "edge" and "atmosphere" to the show: "The women in these scenes are devices—they are there to create an atmosphere of danger or to move the plot along."[20] VanDerWerff also agreed that the sexual assaults were used as plot devices: "The pilot is far too cavalier about throwing around sexual assault as a plot point, even if it's trying to make a point about women's rights in Middle Eastern nations." He added that the scenes "leave a bad taste in the mouth".[21]

Home media release

On January 13, 2015, Fox Home Entertainment released the first season of Tyrant on DVD.[22]


  1. Andreeva, Nellie (December 11, 2013). "FX Drama 'Tyrant' From Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Craig Wright Ordered To Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Bianco, Robert (January 15, 2014). "FX finds a 'Tyrant' in the Middle East". USA Today. Retrieved February 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Bibel, Sara (September 18, 2014). "'Tyrant' Renewed for Season Two by FX". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 18, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Petski, Denise (October 8, 2015). "'Tyrant' Renewed For Season 3 On FX". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://www.fxnetworks.com/video/659607619963
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Willmore, Alison (January 16, 2014). "Why FX's Middle Eastern Drama 'Tyrant' Promises to Be One of the Year's Most Hot-Button Series". Indiewire. Retrieved February 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Nededog, Jethro (August 26, 2013). "'Borgias' Noah Silver to Co-Star on FX's Howard Gordon Pilot 'Tyrant' (Updated)". The Wrap. Retrieved August 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Maerz, Melissa (August 1, 2014). "Tyrant (2014)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 19, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Mehdi Dehbi as Abdul". FX. Retrieved August 19, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Justin Kirk as John Tucker". FX. Retrieved August 19, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Press, Viva Sarah (January 23, 2014). "FX's New TV Series 'Tyrant' about Syrian leader is made in Israel". ISRAEL21c. Retrieved April 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2568204/locations
  13. "'Tyrant' Moves to Turkey Amid Gaza Strip Violence". The Hollywood Reporter. July 14, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. http://deadline.com/2014/07/tyrant-to-stay-in-turkey-for-remainder-of-season-1-filming-fx-807688/
  15. "Tyrant : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved July 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Tyrant: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Sepinwall, Alan (June 23, 2014). "Review: FX's Tyrant". HitFix. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Maerz, Melissa (July 2, 2014). "Tyrant Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 Cordova, Randy. "Stars of FX drama 'Tyrant' talk about second season." The Arizona Republic (newspaper). June 10, 2015.
  20. Ryan, Maureen (June 24, 2014). ""Tyrant's" Rape Cliches Are Just The Last Straw". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. VanDerWerff, Todd (June 24, 2014). "Tyrant revels in the seductive power of boredom". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Lambert, David (November 18, 2014). "Tyrant - Announcement for 'The Complete 1st Season': Date, Box Art, Extras". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved May 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links