Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights, The Purge: Anarchy) and Jonathan Cake (Desperate Housewives) have been cast opposite Jennifer Carpenter in USA’s drama pilot Stanistan. It follows the staff at the American compound in the Middle Eastern country of Stanistan, where State Department workers, covert CIA officers and journalists strike a delicate balance of danger and levity. Gilford, repped by WME and Untitled, will play Phillip Guthrey, an Infrastructure Deputy Manager for USAID and close friend of Marcie (Carpenter). Cake, repped by Brad Schenck at Paradigm and Larry Taube at Principal, will play Greg Weir, an on-air foreign correspondent who is entangled in a complicated affair with Marcie.

Gilford’s feature work includes Devil’s Due and The Last Stand. TV credits include Off the Map, Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order: SVU and Rise: Blood Hunter. Cake appeared in feature Brideshead Revisited and TV series including Doll & Em and Law & Order.

Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots