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Elisabeth Moss and Steven Knight reveal secrets behind FX's 'The Veil'

The "Peaky Blinders" creator delivers a new international spy thriller.
Elisabeth Moss and Steven Knight reveal secrets behind FX's 'The Veil' Credit: FX

A spy thriller from the creator of Peaky Blinders is coming to Hulu this spring.

Titled The Veil and starring The Handmaid's Tale star Elisabeth Moss, the new limited series follows the fraught relationship between a British intelligence agent and the woman she suspects of being a high-level member of ISIS. As the two travel together across the Middle East and Europe, they'll contend with their own differences and interference from other world governments.

"The thing that appeals to me most is when big, big, big international conflicts boil down to individuals," creator Steven Knight told members of the Television Critics Association (TCA) at their winter press tour. "What I wanted to do with [The Veil] is to take huge issues and boil it down to two people in a car, driving through the snow."

What's The Veil about?

Elisabeth Moss and Yumna Marwan in "The Veil."
Credit: FX

Moss plays Imogen Salter, an MI6 agent with the uncanny ability to shapeshift into whatever new identity her mission requires. "It's like acting times 100," Moss said at TCA. She also likened Imogen's ability to assume and let go of new personas to being an actor, which helped her find the character.

Imogen's latest objective? Get close to Adilah El Idrissi (Yumna Marwan), a woman believed to be an ISIS commander. What follows is part road trip series, part espionage thriller. Imogen and Adilah's journey from Syria to Paris gives them plenty of opportunities to get to know one another — but how much are these two extremely secretive women really giving away? Are they uncomfortable allies, or is there a genuine friendship brewing here?

While Imogen and Adilah are on the road, the French DGSE and American CIA clash in their attempts to take control of the situation, uncovering information that suggests that thousands of lives are in danger. The choice to incorporate the DGSE — and really, the entire genesis of The Veil — came from a chance encounter between executive producer Denise Di Novi and a retired French agent.

"I don't think this ever would have happened if I hadn't been in a hotel bar and a retired DGSE agent had too many drinks and started talking to me, telling me about how difficult it is that they had to start working with other agencies and how much they didn't like it," Di Novi said.

Steven Knight hints that there could be more Imogen Salter in the future.

Elisabeth Moss and Yumna Marwan shooting "The Veil."
Credit: Christine Tamalet/FX

Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale, Mad Men) and Yumna Marwan (Little Birds, Inshallah a Boy) serve as The Veil's central pair, with Moss executive producing as well. The rest of the cast includes Dali Benssalah (No Time to Die, Athena) as Malik Amar, Imogen's ally within DGSE, and Josh Charles (Dead Poets Society, The Good Wife) as Max Peterson, a CIA agent who butts heads with Malik.

Peaky Blinders creator and writer Steven Knight developed and wrote The Veil. The show is billed as a limited series, but when asked if he saw potential for more Imogen Salter stories, Knight nodded enthusiastically. "Absolutely," he said.

The Veil premieres April 30 on Hulu.

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