AMC continues to explore new places and genres with a pilot order to White City, a geopolitical drama focused on Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan. An adventure story set in the somewhat surreal ex-pat world of near-present Afghanistan, White City was among the scripts vying for a pilot order at the network’s 2014 annual script showcase held in the spring. The show focuses on Jon Liston, a war junkie who has spent the better part of the last decade in Kabul with a front-row seat to the carnage. In the pilot, against the advice of everyone from American embassy staffers to tweeting tribal leaders to the French journalist he’s in a relationship with, Jon tragically overreaches in an attempt to talk with insurgent leaders. In the series, Jon must find a new role in Kabul as he attempts to address his guilt, frustration and doubts about whether there is good left for him or any Westerner to do in Afghanistan.
Related: 2014 AMC Pilots
The project, produced by AMC Studios, comes from co-writers and co-executive producers Nick McDonell, a novelist (Twelve) and journalist who has covered Iraq and Afghanistan for TIME, and John Dempsey, former long-time resident of Kabul and senior advisor on Afghanistan to the late US diplomat, Richard C. Holbrooke. Executive producers are Chris Mundy, a former journalist for Rolling Stone and showrunner of Criminal Minds and AMC’s Low Winter Sun, and Tom Freston, the former CEO of Viacom and a former resident of Afghanistan who is currently an advisor to VICE and MOBY Group, an Afghan media corporation. “This is a story born from a creative team in Chris, John, Nick and Tom that has both an incredibly deep understanding of one of the most misunderstood regions of the world, and a fantastic sense of how to tell a compelling story about the lives of people who are drawn to the world’s hot spots,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s EVP of original programming, production and digital content. “It’s not a war story, it’s a character story that will tackle some of the most complicated issues of our time.” White City joins AMC’s other drama pilots, Galyntine and Knifeman, both well into casting and production.