In the new Apple TV+ series “Hijack,” Archie Panjabi stars as counterterrorism agent Zara who receives a tip that a “serious incident” has occurred on a London-bound flight — a tip she at first dismisses as a false alarm.
Meanwhile, Idris Elba (who is also a producer) plays businessman Sam Nelson, who is trying to outwit the hijackers with a series of high-stakes bets that may or may not work.
The first two episodes of the series from co-creators Jim Field Smith and George Kay debut on Apple TV+ on June 28. Panjabi, who previously starred in Peacock’s “Departure” and TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” promises viewers will be “on the edge of their seats” for the eight-episode series, which unfolds in real time.
The actress, who won an Emmy for her role as Kalinda Sharma on “The Good Wife,” sat down with TheWrap ahead of the series premiere to talk about why she keeps finding herself at risk on planes and trains.
TheWrap: This is your second plane thriller TV series in a row after “Departure.” Has it made you think, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to do this?”
Archie Punjabi: On the contrary, I thought, you know, I love planes, I love flying and I seem to be working on planes and trains because I also did “Snowpiercer”, which was on a train, and ” run”, which was on a train, and then [Season 2 of] “Departure” was again on a train. Looks to me like my next few jobs are going to be either on planes or trains.
When I read this script, I could not write it. I was just standing on the edge of my seat wondering what happened to those passengers. I love the team associated with it. You know, this is Apple, this is Idris. This is George and Jim. And I love this character. I thought it would be a really cool character for me to work on seriously.
Can you talk about some of the differences between Zara and Kendra on “The Departure”?
I think what I really liked about it is that she doesn’t rush herself. But she’s, let’s say, a little more aggressive than someone like Kendra. So if something is bothering her, I don’t think she has a filter. I think that’s just what she says. Or, you know, she wants to interrupt a meeting, she won’t just quietly say, “Excuse me,” she’ll bang her hand on the glass and say, “Come here.” Or if she gets turned on, she won’t hide it. So it was good enough. i like the idea of playing someone [like] He.
Why is it so much fun to make a thriller film like this?
Ah, that’s so exciting, especially when you can’t write a script you just know will work. What I love about this is that it’s only two episodes. [premiering at first] And then they’re doing it week after week. So I know all my friends from all over the world will be calling me all the time asking what’s up. And I can’t say anything. You know, it’s a nice feeling that your friends are invested in a TV show, and I have a feeling a lot of them will enjoy it.
What have you told your friends to expect?
Stay on the edge of your seat for the whole thing. And don’t call me.
The fact that it runs in real time reminds me of “24”. were you a fan
I was a fan. I didn’t get to see much of it. But I love that minute-by-minute coverage. I feel like you have become a fly on the wall of the situation. I think this has increased the suspense. And I think it works really well here. Especially since it’s a seven hour flight. It is a ticking bomb.