Why Deep State actors love South Africa

Season two of Deep State was shot in Cape Town, and the cast and crew have developed a soft spot for sunny SA.

International spy drama, Deep State, is back for a spine-chillingly great second season, with faces – and places – you’ll recognise instantly.

If some of the Mali and Washington D.C. locations in the new season of Deep State seem vaguely familiar to you, they are! It was largely filmed in and around Cape Town, so you might recognise local spots doubling for the international locations in the series, and spot some familiar South African actors in the cast.

In fact, getting to film in South Africa was one of the big things that attracted US actor/exec-producer Walton Goggins to the show. “It’s one of my favourite countries on the planet. I just fell in love with the place and its people. It’s also got some of the best crews working in the business. That’s why people are going there to tell their stories.”

The state of a nation

If you missed season one, don’t worry. You don’t need to have followed the show from the beginning to jump right into the riveting, action-packed new storyline. Season two tells a brand new story, set in the present, though it does link back to events that took place before and after the first season, some of which viewers never saw or knew about.

Watch Deep State S2 online with DStv Now »

The term “deep state” refers to influential people close to and within government agencies or military operations, who can manipulate and influence policies and decisions. The second season revolves around how – and why – this “deep state” interferes in the geopolitics of an African country, and the secrets, conspiracies and dangers it leads to.

British actor Joe Dempsie (Gendry from Game of Thrones), who plays CIA agent Harry Clarke from season one, says, “Once you look into the links between finance and politics, obviously it's incredibly murky water. I think we all know that. And we live in particularly febrile political times right now. I think it's important that we do explore these things and that we try to understand them".

Doing the right thing

High-octane stories about peril, intrigue and danger are familiar ground for Walton Goggins, who is known for his roles in series from The Shield to Justified. In Deep State, Walton plays ex-CIA agent Nathan Miller, now a private fixer for the government. “Nathan Miller believes that he’s doing the right thing,” Walton says. “I think there are a lot of people that work in the shadows of governments that have the same outlook as he does. Nathan’s a person who protects our interests even though, at times, it is at the expense of our liberal values, and that’s a very complicated place to be in the world.”

“He’s also a loving father and husband,” Walton explains. “He loves his family as much as he loves his country, but sometimes he is asked to do things in his work that are at great odds with who he sees himself to be in his personal life.” Of course, what we really want to know from Walton is, is his character a bad guy? “It depends on who you ask,” he says cryptically. “Nothing and no-one is black and white.”

Loving what they do

What is clear is that the cast is passionate about the show, and had fun on the shoot. Joe says of his character, “the past storyline that we have in season two really helps to inform the present storyline and actually it’s very interesting and fun to play these two characters with the one in the past as just a little more green and a little more naive and a little more relaxed”.

“I loved doing the action side of things; it’s amazing to be a part of,” Joe admits. “You look around and think ‘When I was a kid this would have been a dream for me to do this kind of stuff’. But at the heart of it all, I still really prefer just having a scene with dialogue with another character where you find out more about each other. That is what I enjoy as an actor, so it felt like a nice balance,” Joe says.

Watch Deep State S2 on Wednesdays on FOX (125) at 20:45
Also available on Catch Up and to watch online with DStv Now »