The Honourable Woman is an eight-part TV drama written, produced and directed by the English BAFTA award winning writer Hugo Blick. This 2014 political thriller is produced by Drama Republic and Eight Rooks Productions for BBC Two and the American television network Sundance TV.
The UK premiere date for episode 1 of the series has been scheduled for 9:00pm on Thursday, 3 July, 2014.
Heading the shows lineup is Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays the lead role of Anglo-Israeli businesswoman/life peer, Nessa Stein. The 36-year-old US actress has previously starred in such films as Secretary (2002), The Dark Knight (2008) and Crazy Heart (2009). Maggie also happens to be the older sister of Brokeback Mountain actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
The Honourable Woman Cast List
Character – Actor/Actress (Previous Work)
Nessa Stein – Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary, The Dark Knight, Frank, Crazy Heart)
Ephra Stein – Andrew Buchan (Garrow’s Law, The Fixer, Broadchurch, The Great Fire)
Rachel Stein – Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, In The Club, The Maltesers Adverts)
Dame Julia Walsh – Janet McTeer (The White Queen, Albert Nobbs)
Atika Halabi – Lubna Azabal (Incendies, Occupation)
Nathaniel Bloom – Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones, Rome)
Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle – Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, The Shadow Line)
Anjelica Hayden-Hoyle – Lindsay Duncan (Rome, The Hollow Crown)
Frances Pirsig – Genevieve O’Reilly (Episodes, Spooks)
Shlomo Zahary – Igal Naor (House of Saddam, 300: Rise Of An Empire)
Monica Chatwin – Eve Best (The King’s Speech, Nurse Jackie)
Addition Cast by Episode of First Appearance
Kasim Halabi – Oliver Bodur
Waiter – Jonathan Bonnici
David Thurber – Stephen Boxer
Young Nessa – Lois Ellington
Hannah Stein – Reeve Fletcher
Magdi Muraji – George Georgiou
Radio Interviewer – John Humphrys
Max Boorman – Martin Hutson
Mazel Stein – Nicole Lopes
Young Ephra – Edmond Moulton
Samir Meshal – Adnan Rashed
Michael Gatz – Ben Smith
Abductor – Julian Spencer
Eli Stein – Aidan Stephenson
Judah Ben-Shahar – Nicholas Woodeson
Greene – Tom Bateman
Lady Angela Roberts – Meg Davies
Commander Garrett – Rupert Frazer
Alima Meshal – Amira Ghazalla
Daniel Borgoraz – Paul Herzberg
British Security Agent – Jamie Hinde
Brigadier General Berkoff – Martin McDougall
Nurse Marlene Dalloway – Suzann McLean
Rebecca Lantham – Julia Montgomery Brown
Taxi Driver – Nathan Osgood
Lady Margaret Andrews – Lynne Verrall
Saleh Al-Zahid – Philip Arditti
Car Salesman – Ben Adams
Jenny – Celia Adams
Nurse – Rebecca Clay
Gail Gatz – Claire-Louise Cordwell
Muhammad Ibn Saeed – Aymen Hamdouchi
Caleb Schwako – John Mackay
Accordion – Claudio Allodi
Education Minister – Omar Azzouzi
Principal’s Associate – Rachid Berrada
Israeli Soldier – Atticus Blick
University Principal – Hassan El Guenouni
Ernest Blakefield – Julian Firth
Dinner Party Guest – Michael Hadley
Ephra’s Office Assistant – Kemi-Bo Jacobs
British News Reporter – Jasper Jacob
Senior Education Minister – Sam Kanater
Zahid Al-Zahid – Nasser Memarzia
Violinist – Maurice Meyer
Naming Ceremony Singer – Sef Naaktgeboren
American News Reporter – Patrick Poletti
British News Reporter – Liza Sadovy
Female Palestinian Driver – Malika Sayed
Qadi – Abdellatif Touhfi
Dinner Party Guest – Gregor Truter
Samir Altif – Imad Edderaj
Shimon Ben Reuven – Uriel Emil
Kidma Admissions Officer – Shani Erez
Security Guard – Yassen Hassan
Aron Yavin – Richard Katz
Yaniv Levi – Jacob Krichefski
Kidma Uni Principal – Eric Meyers
Jalal El-Amin – Raad Rawi
Ariel Eban – Pierre Santarossa
Listening Room Man – Yaron Shavit
Tariq Ibn Saeed – Kaizer Akhtar
Sniffer Device Engineer – El Jirari Ben Issa
Tom Crace – Justin Shevlin
Telecomms Engineer – Aaron Vodovoz
MI6 Field Agent – Thomas Coombes
Hotel Manager – Doron Davidson
MI6 Operative – Ed Hughes
Kate Larsson – Laurel Lefkow
Hotel Concierge – Fred Perry
Journalist – Noureddine Aberdine
Journalist – John Attwell
Journalist – Fatima Zahra El Jouhari
Secretary of State – Lachele Carl
Robert Hardy – Christian Contreras
Max Boorman – Martin Hutson
Reaper Analyst – Dominic Tighe
IDF Border Patrol – Taoufik Jennanni
Where is The Honourable Woman filmed?
During production of the series, Drama Republic and Eight Rooks Productions chose to mainly use filming locations in the UK such as London, plus the North-African country of Morocco. Despite being largely set in the Middle-East, it’s believed Morocco was chosen ahead of Israel itself due to the regions current state of unrest.
The Honourable Woman Episode Guide – Original BBC Two UK Air Date
Potential Spoiler Alert!
Episode 1 – The Empty Chair – 3/7/2014
Nessa Stein is a beautiful and powerful Anglo-Israeli businesswoman who strives for equality and peace in the Middle East. Along with brother Ephra, she heads up the powerful Stein Foundation.
Nessa’s father was a Zionist arms procurer, and while eating out together as children, she and Ephra witness his assassination up close and in graphic detail.
As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, Nessa dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Now in her thirties, her sudden appointment as a life peer, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom.
As she receives her ennoblement from the House of Lords, Samir Meshal – a Palestinian businessman with connections to the family – is killed, forcing Nessa and her family to become even more vigilant.
With their actions being closely monitored at home and abroad by Whitehall and the secret intelligence agencies, tensions increase when Atika’s son Kasim is kidnapped.
Episode 2 – The Unfaithful Husband – 10/7/2014
With the hunt on for Atika’s son, the head of MI6’s Middle East desk, Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle, starts to look into who killed Meshal and why, leading him to be blocked from any further line of enquiry by his boss, Dame Julia Walsh, on the instructions of the CIA.
However, Julia tells him to look in a different direction, which means turning his attention to Nessa.
As more of Nessa’s past is uncovered, including how she and Atika were kidnapped eight years before in Gaza, Nessa receives a mysterious phone call from a man who threatens to divulge secrets from this time in her past.
Episode 3 – The Killing Call – 17/7/2014
The mysterious calls to Nessa now become regular, threatening the kidnapped child Kasim’s safety if she fails to do what is asked of her.
Nessa rejects Israeli family friend Shlomo Zahary as a future business partner, believing she has uncovered corruption in his past, a charge which Shlomo passionately rejects, telling her she’s being manipulated to partner a Palestinian business instead of him.
Meanwhile, Nessa’s security advisor Nathaniel Bloom follows a lead he believes may help him uncover the identity of Kasim’s kidnappers. However, Nessa is forced to reveal this information to her mysterious caller and, in protecting Kasim, puts Nathaniel’s life in danger.
This in turn, however, leads Ephra to discover the true identity of Kasim’s father, Saleh Al-Zahid, who is a member of the terrorist cell which kidnapped Nessa and Atika eight years earlier.
Episode 4 – The Ribbon Cutter – 24/7/2014
Going back in time by eight years, we watch a younger Hayden-Hoyle moving his way to the top of the spy business, courtesy of an affair with the chief of MI6, Dame Julia Walsh. In turn Dame Julia has made a pact with Monica Chatwin, who now has her eyes on the top job.
We also get to see how Ephra once controlled the Stein Empire and Nessa’s abduction with then translator, Atika.
Episode 5 – Two Hearts – 31/7/2014
Nessa feels deeply betrayed after discovering a secret that Atika has been keeping from her.
Meanwhile, at a Stein family funded University in Israel, a professor uncovers a corrupt admissions policy which gives Israeli students priority for course places over their Arab counterparts.
Episode 6 – The Mother Line – 7/8/2014
Nessa discovers that Ephra was the one who ordered the wiretap. Kasim’s life hangs in the balance as a new Palestinian businessman demands to become a partner in the data cabling business, in return for the boy’s safety.
Having now successfully proved his innocence, Shlomo Zahary begins to investigate just how the wiretap was initiated, in tandem with Hayden-Hoyle.
Nessa’s abuser, Saleh Al-Zahid, arrives in London with a deadly purpose.
Episode 7 – The Hollow Wall – 14/8/2014
Realising Israel’s powers only wished to use the Stein name, company and connections for their own political and intelligence affairs, Nessa angrily forges ahead with the cabling initiative in partnership with Palestinian Jalal El-Amin.
Separately, Shlomo and Hayden-Hoyle discover the CIA had also been aware of Israel’s wiretap and, assisted by Monica Chatwin, has managed to covertly piggyback on it for their own listening purposes.
Events then take a dark course during a visit to the West Bank for the launch of the latest phase of data cabling.
Episode 8 – The Paring Knife – 1/8/2014
Hayden-Hoyle realises Nessa has been manipulated into becoming a martyr – both by Monica Chatwin on behalf of the Americans, and by Jalal El-Amin.