Alternate histories are having a moment on TV, as writers look to turn back the clock on pivotal moments in the 20th century. Reflecting unease with the turbulent political landscape, the proverbial “what if?” storyline takes a slightly less fantastical turn in Amazon’s Hunters. Assembling an eclectic group of spies, weapons experts,and soldiers, Holocaust survivor Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino) leads a merry band of gifted vigilantes. Their shared common goal? Eliminating the threat of a potential Fourth Reich in America, by any means necessary.
Set in 1977 New York, the Jordan Peele-produced series opens with what appears to be a burglary gone wrong, before revealing a link to an underground group of assassins who hunt Nazis. The events of the series might be set 40 years in the past, but the series is an incredibly timely allegory for the current rise of xenophobia in the US and worldwide. Boasting a cast of Academy Award-winners, prolific TV actors and comedy legends, it's clear that Hunters means business. Here’s a rundown of the show’s eclectic team, the Nazis they're targeting, and where you've seen them all before.
While promoting Hunters, Al Pacino has casually described it as his first TV project. Unless he's fallen for HBO’s “It’s not TV” tagline, that's not entirely true. The Oscar-winning legend took a step closer to an EGOT after playing infamous lawyer Roy Cohn in Mike Nichols' stunning 2003 production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America — he also won a Golden Globe for this performance on the HBO miniseries. A decade later, he received Emmy and Golden Globe nods for his leading roles in the HBO movies Phil Spector and You Don't Know Jack (winning both awards for his terrific turn as Jack Kevorkian). Fresh off the awards circuit for The Irishman, it's good to have Pacino taking on this retribution-fueled alternative history drama.
Baby-faced Logan Lerman is perhaps best known for roles that defined him when he was teen. Telling the story of who would become president in 2041 on the short-lived WB series Jack & Bobby, he played one-half of the McCallister boys and the potential future leader of the United States. Notable movies include Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and most notably, the coming-of-age cult favorite The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Since then, he's earned his WWII movie stripes playing a naive young soldier alongside Brad Pitt in Fury. Hunters is his first TV work since 2005.
Best known for playing Grey’s Anatomy surgical resident Dr. Stephanie Edwards for five seasons — where her character suffered everything from burns to a hospital explosion — Hinton most recently appeared in the M. Night Shyamalan produced Apple TV+ series Servant. She also played the adopted daughter of Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter on Alan Ball’s Here and Now on HBO.
Whether a show needs a politician, spy, murderer, or detective, Dylan Baker is the man. He's also embodied the delightfully creepy Colin Sweeney on both The Good Wife and The Good Fight, a maverick senator going up against a Homeland president, and a cynical Soviet agent working with deadly diseases on The Americans. Other notable TV roles include a turn as a rogue CIA agent on Damages, playing late-night icon Johnny Carson on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, and pretty much every East Coast procedural.
Judging from the Hunters promos alone, Lena Olin is making an early play for the 2020 best-dressed list. The Swedish actress is no stranger to covert operations, having made her mark on American TV as Sydney Bristow’s duplicitous mother Irina Durevko on Alias. More recently she made an all-too-brief appearance as Anna Torv’s girlfriend in a Season 1 episode of Mindhunter, flexed her comedy chops in Welcome to Sweden, and played another Irina in the Julia Stiles-led Riviera.
A TV comedy legend, Carol Kane won two Emmys playing Simka Dahblitz-Gravas — wife to Andy Kaufman’s Latka Gravas — on Taxi. Younger audiences will be more familiar with Kane’s work on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Los Espookys, and as Gertrude Kapelput (aka the Penguin’s mom) on Gotham. In a perfect bit of stunt casting, the Oscar-nominated actress played a fortune teller in the Halt and Catch Fire series finale. She has also lent her voice to Big Mouth (as the Menopause Banshee), as well as the more kid-friendly Phineas and Ferb.
Another solid character actor, Saul Rubinek is making the Peak TV rounds having recently appeared on episodes of Billions, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and For All Mankind. He has a great face for period TV, which served him well playing Louis B. Mayer on Amazon's The Last Tycoon. Viewers will also recognize Rubinek from his stint on Frasier as Niles’ (David Hyde Pierce) divorce lawyer Donny Douglas, who freed Niles from his loveless marriage, then became a thorn in his side by dating his beloved Daphne (Jane Leeves).
It's been nearly six years since How I Met Your Mother ended its nine-season run with a divisive conclusion. Radnor is still instantly recognized by most as Ted Mosby, so it's likely a good thing that his Hunters character is a master of disguise (sporting an impressive 70s mustache in the key art). Outside of his TV work, Radnor wrote, directed, and starred in the films Happythankyoumoreplease and Liberal Arts. He's also gone back in time for the PBS Civil War drama Mercy Street, played English teacher Lou "Mr. Mazzu" Mazzuchelli on the short-lived NBC musical drama Rise, and visited Grey's Anatomy for a date with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) that went about as well as most of Ted Mosby’s dalliances.
Boone’s first recurring TV role was on the Kevin Bacon series The Following, where she played one of cult leader Joe Carroll's (James Purefoy) followers. She's also enjoyed stints on Southland, Grey’s Anatomy, and Suburgatory, dipped her toe in the fantasy waters playing a young Ursula on Once Upon a Time, and appeared in Lena Waithe’s Showtime series The Chi.
After getting his big break as the young Gordon Selfridge in British series Mr. Selfridge, Austin is now making the leap across the pond. Before landing the part of Travis Leich — a target of the titular hunters — he starred as the missing son at the heart of Stephen Poliakoff’s Cold War mini-series Summer of Rockets. Before that, Austin played an alien by the name of Charlie Smith in the 2016 Doctor Who spin-off, Class.
This is not Ozawa Changchien’s first venture into historical drama with a fantastical edge; he previously played a lawyer with a passion for pre-war memorabilia on The Man in the High Castle. He also appeared in a Season 3 episode of The Good Fight that caused a furor after CBS edited an animated sequence to avoid upsetting Chinese censors. Other TV work includes appearances on the Jim Carrey Showtime series Kidding, a recurring role as an FBI agent on Season 4 of Bosch, and a stint on Matador.
Australian actresses Kate Mulvany has an impressive resumé down under, which includes award-winning work on stage and as a playwright. She has appeared alongside Fringe and Mindhunter’s Anna Torv in the political thriller Secret City and guest-starred in the beloved crime series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. She's now making her presence known on Hunters as the deadlier-than-she-looks Sister Harriet.
Amazon drops all ten episodes of Hunters this Friday, February 21st.
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Emma Fraser has wanted to write about TV since she first watched My So-Called Life in the mid-90s, finally getting her wish over a decade later. Follow her on Twitter at @frazbelina.
TOPICS: Hunters, Amazon, Al Pacino, Carol Kane, Dylan Baker, Greg Austin, Jerrika Hinton, Jordan Peele, Josh Radnor, Kate Mulvany, Lena Olin, Logan Lerman, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Saul Rubinek, Tiffany Boone