The six-episode series, co-created by “Homeland” executive producer (and Jerusalem native) Gideon Raff and “Heroes” co-creator Tim Kring, is set entirely in Jerusalem and cast and crew had been lensing on location in the Holy City since early summer. After fighting broke out between Israel and Gaza in July, however, NBC execs made the difficult decision to pull out their teams, relocating them instead to Albuquerque while scouting for a location whose exteriors could pass as Jerusalem on screen.
This week they settled on Croatia, Variety has learned, and will arrive in the Balkans on Sept. 1 for 13 days of shooting. Interior shots will continue to be filmed in Albuquerque.
“Dig,” a high-concept mystery thriller with echoes of “The Da Vinci Code,” follows an American FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem (Jason Isaacs) as he investigates a murder and finds himself falling uncovering a two thousand-year-old conspiracy amid the city’s ancient stones and catacombs. S.J. Clarkson is helming the drama. The cast also includes Anne Heche, Alison Sudol, Regina Taylor David Costabile and Omar Metwally.
Cast and crew were heartbroken that filming had to pull out of Jerusalem because of the ongoing hostilities, with Raff saying in mid-July that he hoped the conflict would die down and filming could return.
“I was born and raised in Jerusalem,” he told reporters at USA’s Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for “Dig” on July 14. “Our hearts go out to everyone in Israel and Gaza right now and hopefully it will be resolved soon.”
At Comic-Con last week in San Diego, Clarkson discussed the importance of the city of Jerusalem to the show’s plot.
“The character of Jerusalem is paramount to the storytelling; it has so much history, so many layers,” she said at a press panel for the show. “To be able to be present in those locations, it brings an energy, it brings an atmosphere, it brings something to the screen that you can’t always capture.”
At the same panel, Raff promised the audience that regardless of where filming was shifted to, they “are committed to not give up the scope of the series.”
Kring agreed, saying, “We were able to shoot an awful lot when we were in Jeursalem, and we also set the visual template so we know how to tie into those visuals… and it is amazing what you can do with set extensions and CGI. New Mexico will cover brilliantly for interiors and deserts.”