Tyrant (TV series)

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GenrePolitical drama
family drama
Created byGideon Raff
Developed by
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes32 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Pavlina Hatoupis
  • Gergo Balika
  • Howard Ellis
  • Adam Goodman
  • Lahav Doron
  • Dennis Hammer
  • Khadija Alami
  • Caglar Ercan
  • Evrim Sanal
  • Mustafa Uslu
  • Ronald M. Bozman
  • Avraham Karpick
  • Attila Szalay
  • Itai Ne'eman
  • Avraham Karpick
  • Chris Seager
  • Sang Han
  • Garret Donnelly
  • Don Broida
  • Gerald Valdez
  • Sondra Watanabe
  • Jordan Goldman
  • Matt Chessé
  • Tanya M. Swerling
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time55 minutes (pilot)
43-55 minutes (regular)
Production company(s)
Distributor20th Television
Original networkFX
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original releaseJune 24, 2014 (2014-06-24) –
September 7, 2016 (2016-09-07)

Tyrant is an American political drama television series created by director and writer Gideon Raff and developed by Howard Gordon and Craig Wright.[1] The first season of Tyrant consisting of 10 episodes premiered on American cable network FX on June 24, 2014, and ended on August 26, 2014.[2] Subsequently, FX then went on to renew Tyrant for a second season which premiered on June 16, 2015, and ended on September 1, 2015.[3] On October 8, 2015, the network renewed the series for a third season, which premiered on July 6, 2016.[4][5] On September 7, 2016, FX announced it had cancelled the series after three seasons.[6]


Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed, the younger of two sons of an infamous Middle-Eastern tyrant, has been running from his past for 20 years. Now a pediatrician living in the United States, he has an American wife, son and daughter, and no desire to revisit his familial origins. However, when he is reluctantly compelled to return to his home country (the fictional Abuddin) for his nephew's wedding, he is quickly drawn into a taut political crisis when his father passes away in the midst of a growing popular revolution against the ruling family. Bassam must now attempt to use his influence to guide the new President, his brutal and unstable older brother Jamal, to a political solution that will avert a bloody conflict.



  • Adam Rayner as Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed (Khalil in seclusion): the second son of Khaled Al-Fayeed, the long-term dictator of Abuddin, and Amira Al-Fayeed. He has been in self-imposed exile in Pasadena, working as a pediatrician.[7]
  • Jennifer Finnigan as Molly Al-Fayeed: Bassam's wife.[7]
  • Ashraf Barhom as Jamal Al-Fayeed: Barry's older brother who takes over the Presidency of Abuddin upon his father's death.[7]
  • Moran Atias as Leila Al-Fayeed: Jamal's wife.[7]
  • Noah Silver as Sami Al-Fayeed: Barry and Molly's son, who is gay.[7]
  • Alice Krige as Amira Al-Fayeed (seasons 1–2): the matriarch of the Al-Fayeed clan (Jamal and Barry's mother).
  • Alexander Karim as Ihab Rashid (recurring cast Season 1, main cast Season 2–3): Sheik Rashid's son and the current resistance leader who has his own aspirations to take over the government.
  • Cameron Gharaee as Ahmed Al-Fayeed (recurring, season 1; main, seasons 2–3): Jamal and Leila's son, and was next in line for leadership after Jamal. He is later revealed to be Barry's son.
  • Sibylla Deen as Nusrat Al-Fayeed (recurring, seasons 1 & 3; main, season 2): Ahmed's bride.
  • Anne Winters as Emma Al-Fayeed (main, season 1; special guest, seasons 2–3): Barry and Molly's daughter.
  • Fares Fares as Fauzi Nadal (main, season 1; special guest, seasons 2–3): freedom-fighting reporter and Barry's childhood friend.[8]
  • Justin Kirk as John Tucker (season 1): a U.S. diplomat assigned to the embassy in Abuddin.[7][9]
  • Salim Daw as Yussef (season 1): the longtime top political advisor to the President of Abuddin. Is in this position under both Khaled and Jamal's presidencies.
  • Mehdi Dehbi as Abdul (season 2): a young man from Abuddin who works as a security officer for the Al-Fayeed family.
  • Chris Noth as General William Cogswell (season 3): a US military leader brought in to ensure American interests in the Middle East are protected under Barry's presidency.
  • Melia Kreiling as Daliyah Al-Yazbek (recurring, season 2; main, season 3): Ahmos' younger wife.


  • Nasser Faris as Khaled Al-Fayeed: the President of Abuddin prior to Jamal. Is Jamal and Barry's father, and is married to Amira.
  • Mor Polanuer as Samira Nadal: Fauzi Nadal's 20-year-old daughter, a Muslim girl in active opposition to the Al-Fayeed family, who fights bravely for the principles in which she believes.
  • Raad Rawi as General Tariq Al-Fayeed: Khaled's brother, the top military leader of Abuddin.
  • Oshrat Ingedashet as Reema: Barry and Molly's maid at the palace.
  • Mohammad Bakri as Sheik Rashid: the exiled former resistance leader.
  • Waleed Elgadi as Walid Rashid: Sheik Rashid's younger brother, who sides with the Al-Fayeed regime although not being treated with respect because he is a Rashid.
  • Wrenn Schmidt as Jenna Olson: Molly's younger sister, who suddenly appears in Abuddin and surprises Molly and her family. A free-spirited young woman whose reckless ways are usually met with disapproval from Molly and Barry.
  • Leslie Hope as Lea Exley: an employee of the U.S. Embassy.
  • Jake Weber as Jimmy Timmons: a lawyer.
  • Peter Polycarpou as Mahmoud Al-Ghazi: a Colonel in the Abuddin military under Jamal's presidency.
  • Orion Lee as Zhang: the Chinese ambassador to Abuddin.
  • Nasser Memarzia as Ahmos Al-Yazbek.
  • Nathan Clarke as Munir Al-Yazbek: one of Ahmos' sons.
  • Armin Karima as Kasim Al-Yazbek: one of Ahmos' sons.
  • Yousef Naser as Ghani Al-Yazbek: Ahmos and Daliyah's son.
  • Olivia Popica as Halima: an outspoken young woman for Abuddinian freedom and democracy.
  • Keon Alexander as Rami Said: a General in the Abuddinian military.
  • Ariyon Bakare as Solomon: an African military leader.
  • Khaled Abol Naga as Hussein Al-Qadi: a cleric.
  • Annet Mahendru as Nafisa Al-Qadi: Al-Qadi's wife.
  • Joseph Long as Abd Aziz: a trusted head in the palace.
  • Adam Henderson-Scott as Maloof: a Colonel in the Abuddin military under Barry's presidency.
  • Ashraf Farah as Sheik Abdullah: a Caliphate leader based in Syria.
  • Raphael Acloque as Haitham El-Amin: Sammy and Halima's professor at the university.
  • Adam El Hagar as Siddiq: a supporter of Barry's presidency.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110June 24, 2014 (2014-06-24)August 26, 2014 (2014-08-26)
212June 16, 2015 (2015-06-16)September 1, 2015 (2015-09-01)
310July 6, 2016 (2016-07-06)September 7, 2016 (2016-09-07)


While the show was filmed throughout many cities in Israel (such as Kfar Saba, Petach Tikva, and Tel Aviv)[10] and Morocco, because of violence between Hamas and Israel, FX moved its production from Israel to Istanbul, Turkey in 2014.[11][12] The fictional Arab country of "Abuddin" is deliberately compiled out of mixed elements of a few different actual countries, in order to not appear to simulate a particular nation or situation. The producers of the series have also said that no particular sects or clans will be named while relating details. Executive producer Howard Gordon stated, "We do want to stay away from reality and yet hew to it as long as it sort of feels emotionally correct and culturally correct. I think we’re going to try to stay away from names as much as possible."[7]

The first television promos appeared in April 2014, featuring an excerpt of the song "Wave" from the album Morning Phase by Beck.

Season 3 episodes were also filmed in Budapest, Hungary (June 2016).


Tyrant has received mixed reviews. On Metacritic, the show holds a score of 54 out of 100 (78 out of 100 for the user review base on 150 critics) , based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13] On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has a rating of 60%, based on 47 reviews, with an above average score of 6.2 out of 10. The consensus on the site reads: "Realizing a uniquely vital representation of life in the Middle East, Tyrant mostly thrives as a biting family drama set against immersive scenery".[14]

The pilot episode had been criticized by some for Adam Rayner's lackluster performance, the show's depiction of the Middle East, and for being boring – others have said it is a nuanced performance in an understandably complicated role. Alan Sepinwall at HitFix labeled the show "messy", and criticized Adam Rayner's performance as Barry: "Rayner is so bland, so lacking in charisma in the role – Barry is by nature, a quieter, more reserved character, but there are ways to play silence that aren't remotely this dull – that it's baffling that Gordon and company would go to the trouble and risk the justifiable anger over the casting."[15]

Some reviews were more positive. Melissa Maerz at Entertainment Weekly gave the show a B−, enjoying it, but admitting that the show could use some work: "With so much attention focused on this American series set in the Middle East, Tyrant is already an important show. Now it just has to prove that it's also a good one."[16] At The Arizona Republic, Randy Cordova wrote that the first season "was one of the most overheated programs on TV, in the best sense of the word." [17] He also praised Barhom's work, saying the actor overshadowed Rayner: "Through his layered performance, Barhom brings a smoldering intensity to the role and practically drips with testosterone," Cordova writes.[17]

The show's depiction of Jamal al-Fayeed as a rapist was also criticized. Maureen Ryan at The Huffington Post accused the show of using Jamal's sexual assaults to add "edge" and "atmosphere" to the show: "The women in these scenes are devices—they are there to create an atmosphere of danger or to move the plot along."[18] The A.V. Club's Emily VanDerWerff also agreed that the sexual assaults were used as plot devices: "The pilot is far too cavalier about throwing around sexual assault as a plot point, even if it's trying to make a point about women's rights in Middle Eastern nations." She added that the scenes "leave a bad taste in the mouth".[19]


Tyrant : U.S. viewers per episode (millions)
SeasonEpisode numberAverage
Audience measurement performed by Nielsen Media Research.[20]

Home media release[edit]

On January 13, 2015, Fox Home Entertainment released the first season of Tyrant on DVD.[21] As of June 14, 2016, the 2nd season on DVD is available for purchase on Amazon, but is manufactured on demand. The third and final season was released on DVD on August 8, 2017.


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 11, 2013). "FX Drama 'Tyrant' From Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Craig Wright Ordered To Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Bianco, Robert (January 15, 2014). "FX finds a 'Tyrant' in the Middle East". USA Today. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Bibel, Sara (September 18, 2014). "'Tyrant' Renewed for Season Two by FX". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  4. ^ Petski, Denise (October 8, 2015). "'Tyrant' Renewed For Season 3 On FX". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  5. ^ http://www.fxnetworks.com/video/659607619963
  6. ^ Patten, Dominic (September 7, 2016). "FX Cancels 'Tyrant' After Three Seasons; Last Episode Airs Tonight". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Willmore, Alison (January 16, 2014). "Why FX's Middle Eastern Drama 'Tyrant' Promises to Be One of the Year's Most Hot-Button Series". Indiewire. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  8. ^ Maerz, Melissa (August 1, 2014). "Tyrant (2014)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  9. ^ "Justin Kirk as John Tucker". FX. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  10. ^ Press, Viva Sarah (January 23, 2014). "FX's New TV Series 'Tyrant' about Syrian leader is made in Israel". ISRAEL21c. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  11. ^ "'Tyrant' Moves to Turkey Amid Gaza Strip Violence". The Hollywood Reporter. July 14, 2014.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 21, 2014). "FX's 'Tyrant' To Stay In Turkey For Remainder Of Season 1 Shoot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "Tyrant : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "Tyrant: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  15. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (June 23, 2014). "Review: FX's Tyrant". HitFix. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  16. ^ Maerz, Melissa (July 2, 2014). "Tyrant Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Cordova, Randy. "Stars of FX drama Tyrant talk about second season." The Arizona Republic. June 10, 2015.
  18. ^ Ryan, Maureen (June 24, 2014). ""Tyrant's" Rape Cliches Are Just The Last Straw". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  19. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (June 24, 2014). "Tyrant revels in the seductive power of boredom". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  20. ^ For the first season, see "Tyrant: Season One Ratings". TV by the Numbers. September 18, 2014. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.

    For the second season, see "Tyrant: Season Two Ratings". TV by the Numbers. October 8, 2015. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.

    For the third season, see "Tyrant: Season Three Ratings". TV by the Numbers. September 8, 2016. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.

  21. ^ Lambert, David (November 18, 2014). "Tyrant - Announcement for 'The Complete 1st Season': Date, Box Art, Extras". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External links[edit]