Sleeper Cell (TV Series 2005–2006) Poster

(2005–2006)

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Thoroughly engrossing, gripping and frightening...
vincedc7 December 2005
I saw episode one by accident while channel surfing Sunday night. After about 5 minutes, I was hooked. I can still say the same after episode three last night.

The show has the feel and look of a first-class feature film. In fact, this type of cable series should make feature film producers start looking over their shoulders. With shows like this and others like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, HBO and Showtime have given the industry something to be very worried about - and deservedly so. I go to the movies about once a week and all I can say is Hollywood better get its act together.

The cast is superb, notably Michael Ealy and Oded Fehr. Ealy portrays his character, an undercover FBI agent, with just the right amount of passion, conflict, and boiling rage. Fehr is evil incarnate, although you can say that Dylan's line, "Sympathy for the Devil" is right on the nose here – more on that in a second. What a coup (and how ironic) to have an Israeli actor play an Arab terrorist. In an interview, this gifted actor expressed his revulsion and loathing for what "Farik", his character, represents. It made the part the most challenging thing he's done so far. Knowing that, as you watch him execute his nefarious plans, makes him even more compelling. Casting non-Arabs to play the other terrorists was a stroke of genius on the part of the creators of the show, Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff. These people are like us and live among us…a disturbing thought and a very real possibility that cranks the fear factor way up.

The interesting thing about the way that these Islamic extremists are presented to us is that you can't help feeling sympathy for them. They are likable and, in their own warped way, virtuous. That's another aspect of the show that pulls at the heart-strings and adds to the biting conflict that is the mark of a brilliant drama.

You can bet that I'll be watching the rest of the series being broadcast back to back (there is a God!) for the next two weeks. They are replaying most of the episodes throughout this week, so if you missed the first ones, you'll have the opportunity to catch up. I suggest you start with Ep. 1 if you can although each one stands very well on its own.
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Groundbreaking show
Lynn26 January 2006
Far more than anything I've watched on TV in a long time, this entire series made me uncomfortable and uneasy. It wasn't just the reality of it, though that was unsettling, especially for someone who lives in the LA area and knows a lot of those locations.

But it was the way I was relating to the characters, especially the members of the cell besides Farik. I would find myself agreeing with some of the things they said, or empathizing with them in some other way -- really, just seeing them as human. The show would start taking me down that path, and then utterly ruthlessly snap me back when those same characters did something to remind me of what they are and what they've become. Each time -- as much as I should have expected it -- it came as a shock.

This is a great series, but overall, watching it was a pretty unsettling experience. It forced me to ask a lot of questions I simply don't have the answers for. And I don't think anyone else does, either. The best comparisons to other material would be to the films Traffic and Syriana, but because of the length (10 hours as compared to 2.5) and the focus on just a few characters, the emotional investment in this story was a lot greater.

In terms of what to expect, this is not an easy to digest, fast-paced show -- I think the analogies to 24 are off-base in that respect. Yeah, it has to do with terrorism -- so do Victory at Entebbe and Executive Decision -- but really, it doesn't have much in common with movies and TV shows in that genre. The spiritual roots of this series are in material like Wiseguy (to which there's a nice tip of the hat in episode 5), or Donnie Brasco, about the experience of an undercover agent. If you are expecting lots of things going boom -- well, this might not be what you're looking for.

The performances are top-notch, especially Michael Ealy and Oded Fehr. The entire series has a sense of realism throughout that keeps the tension strong throughout. Just excellent work all around, and Showtime deserves serious kudos for upping the quality of its original offerings with a series like this.
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9/10
A well casted series that gives you the chills.
tolecnal3 August 2006
This is an extremely involving series that is well casted and portraits a sensitive subject with great splendor. We follow Michael Ealy as the undercover FBI agent Darwyn, set to infiltrate a terror cell lead by Farik (Oder Fehr). The series is very well written, and has enough plot twists to keep you sitting at the edge of your seat waiting for whatever happens next.

Michael Ealy is by my definition one of the best actors I've seen portraying an undercover agent. Icey cold on the outside, but still a good human being underneath trying his best to keep his head afloat in a highly emotional roller-coaster ride that FBI has had him embark on. Oder Fehr on the other hand comes off a guy that pretty much could fit into any social scenario. Big and strong, but yet able to disappear into the gray mass if so needed. Highly authoritative and extremely cunning. The way the two communicate on screen is nothing short of spectacular.

The way the story develops, and the level of detail that the script offers makes the whole story extremely believable, and also very true to life I would imagine. It is of such magnitude that you're left with the feeling of being insecure, not knowing what might happen next in real life. We read about terror every day, and here we are given a good sneak peak into an underworld which most of us know very little about.

It's a series that will for sure have you coming back for more, sitting there at the edge of your seat just waiting for next weeks episode to come on. It's a sure winner in my eyes, and I have no problems stating that this series is on my list of all time best.
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Fantastic........and Frightening
irishbray6 December 2005
I read the first comment with interest and confusion. I find this series to be incredibly good. So much so that it is difficult to watch because of the feelings, mostly of fear, that it generates. Michael Ealy, as Darwyn, is performing fabulously. You can see and feel the conflict and stress his character faces as an undercover agent with the sole responsibility to uncover and prevent a major terrorist event.

And Oden Fehr as the cell leader is downright frightening. He's extremely good looking, charming and very easily fits into 'Anywhere' America. His cold blooded anything for the cause attitude is so scary.

What's the most frightening is that this cell isn't comprised of 'obvious' enemies. Probably very much like real life. We can only hope there are really a few Darwyn's out there as well.

I'm hooked!
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gripping drama...
mraseelak7 December 2005
I happened to catch the first episode of the drama Sleeper Cell, while flipping through the channels and got hooked in 15 minutes. Its the story of an American Muslim working for the FBI going undercover and joining a Muslim terrorist organization that is hell bent on bringing chaos and terror to America.

What makes a drama tick is making the viewers involved with the characters. One must feel for the people in the story or else it just becomes a bunch of people on TV. The show gives adequate information about the main character, Darwyn Al-Hakim and his reason for going undercover. Oded, who plays the leader of the cell, gives a very chilling ice-down-the-spine performance. the rest of the team members are all non-Arabs and they have a reason to be here, or at least one of them have. They make you feel for these people at the same time make you feel bad that you are actually feeling sorry for the bad guys. THats what is called drama.

I'll have to now soon get this on DVD for my collection because i feel that this is going to be one of those really good TV series that are too short but worth it, like Band of Brothers.
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10/10
Tight, intense, and well told
alrakanb-11 June 2006
I watched Sleeper Cell with a bit of trepidation worrying over whether the terrorists would be glorified. This mesmerizing series not only handled the subject matter responsibly, it created depth and substance to almost every character. Oded Fehr just gobbles up the screen in every scene he's in—and even though his character is the charismatic leader of a jihad terrorist cell, he still has hypnotic appeal. Michael Ealy held his own well, though in some scenes I wondered why he wasn't shot on the spot because of the scowl he wore on his face.

The pros of the series are the two leads, Fehr and Ealy, the well written characters--all of which were believable and tragic, and the disconcerting issues addressed in the story. Having been married to a Muslim myself, the atmosphere created was quite realistic. The cons, for me personally, were that the female T&A was overkill—most seemed gratuitous, as well as some of the sex scenes. Despite that, it is a raw gripping series that will make you think. Somebody give Fehr more juicy roles like this one and let him run with it. He's got incredible screen presence and a strange kind of innate power emanating off him.
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Takes you to the cliff's edge so often you will develop acrophobia.
mikestephenson19 December 2005
The only thing worse than the suspense of this program was the arrival of the closing credits.

The title tells the setting. Saying more would detract and it would be nearly impossible not to be a spoiler as well.

If suspense, plots twists, good acting and believable plots are your cup of tea then you are in for one fine treat.

The casting was perfect, as was, on the whole, the character development. Every performer was very believable in their roles and thus I did not have to be annoyed by the usual weak performer that pulls down the entire performance.

If all television was this good I would become a full time couch potato............pass the sour cream please.
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Unbelievably good ..
Adam Swid20 December 2005
This series is one of the greatest I had ever seen. It has it all , great performance , great writing , ingenious plot and the list just goes on....

The very basic plot is a very genuine one, and it is something I, at least have never seen in a series, so many twists so many characters, so many morale and religious issues in just 10 episodes...

I enjoyed every second watching this series, and just want more.. and I strongly recommend watching it too.

10/10 - what else can I give it? watch it you'll know what I'm talking about.

  • HellozL
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5/10
Season 2 falls short of season 1
emattos-118 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
First Season was gripping, edge of your seat action/adventure/mystery possibly the best TV of the year.

Season two took a page out of the 24 writers book of how-to's, take a great idea with a handful of characters the audience really cares about and ruin it by adding eight handfuls of characters you could really care less about. The story gets stretched thin by the end of the first episode with eight new characters on top of the characters from the first season, plus you have Darwin not wanting to go back to UC work but as every TV cliché would have it he is pulled back in against his will.

This is not what viewers of the first season signed up for, we signed up for a great story that was as realistic as it was hard hitting. Not cliché characters, a bumbling idiot boss, the hard-ass parent with whom the main character has to reconcile with, the evil character who has a softer side, the Mexican ex-con with gang affiliations, the tough guy who you find out is gay, let me see if I can think of anymore characters that could be in any number of lame TV shows from the 70's to todays crappy programming? How about the girlfriend that is asked to choose between her man and her child? Or the woman who at any moment can blow her man's cover by speaking to the wrong person.

Season one main characters: the cell (4) the girlfriend (1) the boss (1) Season 2 main characters: the cell (5) old cell (2) girlfriend (1) the boss (1) dad (1) lover (1) military good cop bad cop (2)
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Great Series!
Smcgivney117 December 2005
I love the show. The acting is great and I think Alex Nesic will be one of our sexiest men in the future. Now I must note that the first show had an error that was quite blatant to me. The penitentiary in Lompoc, California is where I used to live. It is not pronounced "Lompak", but is pronounced "Lompoke". I was surprised that was not noticed and corrected. Also I wonder how Darwin gets by with carrying and using his cell phone w/o question? That I find confusing. I would think the leader would get that phone and check the calls just to keep a good check on the members. Other than that, I look forward to the episodes. Can someone tell me what nights this will be on and what channel? thanks.
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