The Watchman: ‘Enemy Within’ Goes Beyond Treasonable Doubt, Winter Is Coming for ‘Alaskan Bush People’

Senior content producer Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene
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The Enemy Within, a nerve-wracking psychological thriller, starts on NBC Feb. 25. Erica Shepherd is a brilliant former CIA honcho serving life in prison for treason. FBI agent Will Keaton enlists Shepherd to track down a very dangerous criminal who’s looming out there.

Creator/executive producer Ken Woodruff admits he’s a “huge fan” of the spy genre, including Mission: Impossible and the Bourne stuff, and novels from Alan Furst. He thought the idea of counterintelligence within the FBI was a fresh and unique one. “It’s such a cool hook I hadn’t seen before,” he said. “I hadn’t seen a show about spy hunters.”

Jennifer Carpenter and Morris Chestnut are in the cast. The show shoots primarily in New Jersey, and much of it is set in Washington.

NBC's "The Enemy Within"

NBC's "The Enemy Within"

Enemy Within opens with a startling statistic about there being some 100,000 foreign operatives in the U.S. these days. “As soon as I read that, I thought, that’s a show,” said Woodruff.

The show also depicts the innate mistrust between the CIA and FBI.

Erica betrayed the snoops who worked for her, and now Agent Keaton needs to trust her. “Is she telling the truth?” Woodruff said. “That’s one of the things that make that character sing.”

Does Woodruff have grand plans for opening night? Not hardly. He’s working, then likely tuning in alone at home in Hoboken. “I’m not a performer — there’s a reason I’m a writer,” he said. “I like being under the radar.”

And it’s a new season of Alaskan Bush People starting on Discovery March 3. The Brown family is back, tackling a vast range of obstacles as they struggle to keep it together. The family is now based in Washington state, just south of the Canadian border, so Ami can get better treatment for her cancer.

Discovery's "Alaskan Bush People"

Discovery's "Alaskan Bush People"

Washington is hardly hospitable. “It’s the most remote they’ve ever lived,” said John Slaughter, executive producer. “It’s even more extreme conditions than Alaska.”

There are major hunts, including a bison takedown in Idaho. There are “bigger, quirkier builds,” said Slaughter, to help the family brave the elements. And winter comes early. “It forces them to scramble and adapt,” Slaughter said, “and build suitable structures to survive.”

This season, the children have a larger presence in the series. That includes ace hunter Bird, voice of reason Bam, wildman Bear and uber-creative Noah. He and wife Rhain-Alisha are set to add another person to the Brown clan.

Was there ever thought about a title change for the show after it shifted to Washington state? Nope.

“Wherever they are,” said Slaughter, “they’ll always be the Alaskan Bush People.”

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