Taylor Sheridan’s New Show ‘Lioness’ Is Based on a Real-Life CIA Program

zoe saldana, morgan freeman
What We Know About Taylor Sheridan's 'Lioness'Hearst Owned

In addition to building out his ever-expanding Yellowstone television universe with 1923, Taylor Sheridan is exploring the world of "prison towns" in Mayor of Kingstown and putting his own spin on the mobster genre with Tulsa King, starring Sylvester Stallone—and now he's showrunning Lioness, a female-led spy action thriller series.

While Sheridan originally came up with the central idea for Lioness, he then handed control of the series over to Thomas Brady. However, Brady then left the production, citing creative differences, and Sheridan stepped back in as showrunner.

What is Lioness about?

Lioness is inspired by the Lioness Engagement Team, a CIA program that existed in real life which was created in order to conduct culturally sensitive searches on hijabi women in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it sounds like some creative license has been taken, as the Lionesses in the show sound like they will be depicted more as a female team of undercover operatives. According to the official synopsis: "A young Marine is recruited by the CIA to befriend the daughter of a terrorist group in order to bring down the organization from within."

Who is in the cast of Lioness?

Laysla De Oliveira, best known for playing the villain Dodge in the Netflix fantasy-horror series Locke & Key, will star in Lioness as main character Cruz Manuelos, a Marine who joins the CIA's Lioness program. As has become the standard for a Taylor Sheridan production, the ensemble cast of Lioness is also stacked with A-list names: Morgan Freeman will appear in the series as the Secretary of State Edwin Mullins, while Nicole Kidman will play CIA supervisor Kaitlyn Meade, and Zoe Saldaña will play Cruz's mentor Joe.

The supporting cast will include Dave Annable, Jill Wagner, James Jordan, Jonah Wharton, LaMonica Garrett, Austin Hébert, Hannah Love Lanier, Stephanie Nur.

What is the release date?

No official release date has been announced for the show yet, but we do know that it will stream exclusively on Paramount+ along with Sheridan's other slate of shows.

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