Michelle Monaghan seeks the truth behind Netflix’s ‘Messiah’

New Netflix drama has a world view, very literally

Mehdi Dehbi and Michelle Monaghan star in “Messiah,” which begins streaming Wednesday on Netflix.

Though her last streaming series also had spiritual overtones, Michelle Monaghan is glad to return to that territory.

The alum of several “Mission: Impossible” movies actually sees big differences between that earlier drama, Hulu’s “The Path,” and her new Netflix project “Messiah.” Debuting all of its episodes Wednesday, Jan. 1, it casts the actress as a CIA official investigating a man (played by Mehdi Dehbi) who allegedly performs miracles. Her concern, and that of several others around the world, is that he may be calculating his fame and influence to upset the geopolitical balance among nations. John Ortiz, Jane Adams, Dermot Mulroney and Beau Bridges are among other stars of the show.

“What I love about ‘Messiah’ is that it’s more of a mystery” than “The Path,” the friendly Monaghan says. “It has a much more global perspective and multiple points of view. I had told myself and my family that I was done working for a while, then after a few weeks, I received ‘Messiah’ and thought I’d just read one episode … and then I spent the entire day reading all 10. And I thought, ‘Oh, dear. I’m going back to work.’ ”

Michelle Monaghan stars in “Messiah,” which begins streaming Wednesday on Netflix.

Along with spouses Mark Burnett (“Survivor”) and Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”), “Messiah” creator Michael Petroni is an executive producer of the series. He’s also dealt in faith-based drama with the 2003 ABC show “Miracles,” and Monaghan credits him with an “intricately woven” structure for “Messiah”: “It’s really left to the audience to decide what the truth is, and I think it will provoke conversation. (Petroni) did so much research with consultants, I felt I was in good hands. And what he did was so exciting, because everybody’s takeaway will be different.”

In terms of her own degree of faith in approaching material like “Messiah,” Monaghan reflects, “I certainly appreciate the community of religion. This has a very multicultural cast, but it didn’t really matter what any of our own personal beliefs were. I was just so appreciative to be in a cast with such a global reach that audiences all over the world will be able to relate to all of the characters.”

With more seasons of “Messiah” possible, Monaghan – who also appeared in Season 1 of HBO’s “True Detective” – likes the potential for her latest show to have a big worldwide audience from the outset.

“That it will launch Jan. 1 in 190 countries is an extraordinary opportunity,” she notes. “We’re hoping that people in Istanbul and Berlin will connect to it as much as people in Chicago and Washington, D.C. We think they’ll find something that they’ll identify with and makes them want to stay for the whole ride.”


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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