Elisabeth Moss Stars in ‘The Veil’: Your Guide to Hulu’s Riveting Espionage Series – CNET

From Mad Men to The Handmaid’s Tale, Elisabeth Moss’ work has found the Emmy-winning actress taking on complex characters who overcome incredible odds. In The Veil — FX’s upcoming six-episode limited series from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight — Moss plays Imogen Stalter, a brilliant MI6 agent tasked with thwarting a terrorist attack by bringing a suspected terrorist to justice. 

Knight wrote all six episodes. Denise Di Novi, Knight, Moss and Lindsey McManus executive-produced the series. 

During the 2024 Television Critics Association winter press tour, Moss joined Knight, Di Novi and cast members in a panel presenting the series to select press members. CNET attended the panel and chatted with Moss and Di Novi to get further insight into FX’s globe-trotting spy thriller.

Read more: What to Watch in 2024: 50 TV Shows We’re Excited About

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Elisabeth Moss stars as MI6 Agent Imogen Stalter in FX’s The Veil on Hulu.

FX

When to watch The Veil on Hulu

The first two episodes of The Veil will premiere on Tuesday, April 30 exclusively on Hulu. The remaining four episodes will debut every Tuesday on the streamer. These are the episode titles:

  1. The Camp
  2. Crossing the Bridge
  3. The Asset
  4. Declassified
  5. Grandfather’s House
  6. The Cottage

For audiences residing outside of the US, the show will eventually be streamable on Disney Plus in the UK and other countries. For Latin American viewers, the show will come to Star Plus. The premiere date for both platforms has yet to be announced. 

What is The Veil about?

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Elisabeth Moss and Yumna Marwan star in FX’s The Veil on Hulu.

Christine Tamalet/FX

According to the official synopsis, “FX’s The Veil explores the surprising and fraught relationship between two women who play a deadly game of truth and lies on the road from Istanbul to Paris and London. One woman has a secret, the other a mission to reveal it before thousands of lives are lost. In the shadows, mission controllers at the CIA and French DGSE must put differences aside and work together to avert potential disaster.”

Most of the show takes place on the run. It’s during these moments that secrets are revealed, and perceptions of the truth get twisted. It all unravels in a multitude of layers until the very last scene.

“Thematically, a lot of what the show is about is what is true and what is not true?” Di Novi told CNET. “Obscuring the truth … what does that do to people? For our characters, there’s connection, but there’s always this kind of veil of not quite being who you really are and not quite saying exactly what you want or what the truth is.”

“There’s something about this woman that Imogen sees, and she can’t quite put her finger on it,” Moss added. “They’re both like, ‘I know this woman, I know this person, there’s something there.’ Is it something good? Or is it something bad?”

Every player on this proverbial chess board has an agenda and something to conceal. Imogen’s job is to hide in different identities, making the story quite complex. Knight wanted to portray these characters as neither heroes nor villains, a trope that would diminish the show’s point.

“The idea that you would treat one of the human beings as not being a human being would be very reductive and wouldn’t be a very interesting drama,” he said. “There’s no attempt or wish to present the known thing from the other. I think if you watch and you understand the character that Yumna plays, then there is something very familiar and very us about all of this. There isn’t any need, I don’t think, to create that division.”

Who stars in The Veil?

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Elisabeth Moss and Dali Benssalah star in FX’s The Veil on Hulu.

FX

Accompanying Moss in FX’s new limited series are Yumna Marwan as Adilah El Idrissi, Dali Benssalah as DGSE agent Malik Amar, Josh Charles as CIA agent Max Peterson, James Purefoy as Michael Althorp, Alec Secareanu as Emir and Thibault de Montalembert as DGSE agent Magritte. 

“By design, this was an international show,” Di Novi explained during the TCA panel. “Very early on, because of the agencies we’re working with, Steve and I talked about our desire and love to shoot in Paris and England — where Steve is from — and Turkey. We had a design that came out of the characters for those locations. We made a commitment from the get-go to show these places in ways you had not seen before and show Paris in a way that was not your kind of touristic, romantic vision of Paris.” 

Understandably, the series’ international scope is reflected by its diverse cast. Moss told CNET, “We literally have like one American on our show. That’s it.” (Moss is half-British and holds dual citizenship in the UK and America. Charles is the American she’s referring to.)

Is The Veil based on a true story?

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Josh Charles is Max Peterson in FX’s The Veil on Hulu.

Kurt Iswarienko/FX

Di Novi had the idea that inspired The Veil. According to Knight, she suggested “there was friction between the various intelligence agencies, MI6, DGSE and CIA.” How does dealing with global threats impacting the three agencies affect the greater good? Knight called it “a very fertile area.”

Bits of authenticity bound The Veil together. The six-episode series features plenty of conflict between the intelligence agencies. Knight did some sturdy research to represent these security apparatuses properly. 

“I went to Paris,” he explained. “I met three people who worked in French intelligence. Two of them were DGSE, two of them were non-attributable. I just asked them, ‘What’s going on? What are the stories?’ Because I always find that the true stories are much more compelling.”

He continued: “The thing that appeals to me most is when big, big, big international conflicts and events boil down to individuals. What I wanted to do with this was to take huge issues and boil it down to two people in a car driving through the snow, and the nature of the conversation affects the outcome for thousands of people.”

The Veil challenged Elisabeth Moss more than The Handmaid’s Tale

Moss, known for her portrayal of complex characters, faced a new set of challenges with Imogen. One of the most noticeable is her British accent, a result of months of dedicated work with a dialect coach. This commitment also extended to the fight choreography, where Moss, for the first time, took an offensive stance, practicing relentlessly for weeks on end. 

“I’ve done some fight stuff before in Handmaid’s Tale and Invisible Man,” she added. “But it was very defensive. It was never offensive. I’m always the person who’s being attacked and having to defend myself. This was the first time I’ve played somebody who had training to kick the s**t out of people. I had to look like I knew what I was doing.” 

Moss, a master of transformation in her acting career, saw a reflection of this in her role as the MI6 agent. Imogen, she believes, is not just a shapeshifter but also an actor, a unique and intriguing combination.

“The first conversation I ever had with Steve was about this shapeshifting concept,” Moss said. “He was talking to me about a woman who is really, really good at playing other people and can just put on a different person and take them off. She’s really good at it and really enjoys it; it isn’t a negative thing for her. He went on and on, in his beautiful way. At the end of it, I was like, ‘OK, so she’s an actor?’ And he was like, ‘Yes, exactly.'”

During the TCA panel, she tallied up all the challenges she faced in the series and came to a baffling conclusion: “I had found something even more challenging than Handmaid’s [Tale], which is impossible to say.”

Will The Veil return for more seasons?

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FX

Imogen is an MI6 agent who makes a living becoming other people. Knight wrote this series from the outset with the potential for more seasons in mind.

“On the point of how far can this go, how many different incarnations can there be,” he told the TCA press members, “one of the things that informed the character when I was writing it was that I knew someone — this is a true story — who told me, who was British, that he had a grandmother, and she was 65, and she was retiring. She called everyone to the house for Sunday lunch. Over lunch, she said, for the past 35 years, I’ve been an MI6 agent.” 

He continued: “No one knew that was what she did. That’s a true story. If someone can live that as a life, actually as a life, that’s what I think is interesting.”

Could Imogen Stalter be FX’s answer to Jack Bauer? After all, both characters work for their respective governments and have no qualms about going rogue or coloring outside the lines to keep people safe. While the future of the series is still unknown, there’s promise for more adventures. 

“I felt that we just scratched the surface of who she could be in such an exciting way,” Moss said. 

This post was originally published on Cnet

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