A fictional story that takes place in today’s society, Netflix’s original television series “Messiah” follows the storyline of a skeptical CIA officer as she is tasked with investigating a man who is either a divine being or an impressive con artist. The series, created and produced by Michael Petroni, debuted on Netflix Jan.1, 2020 with its first season consisting of 10 episodes.
Appearing in the city of Damascus, Syria, a man is seen preaching about believing in God and having faith that he would deliver the city from ISIS. The man gathers a small crowd who take interest in what he is saying. However, as an unbelievably large sandstorm is seen headed for the city, all but the man preaching choose to seek cover. The city is covered by the sandstorm for nearly a month but as the storm lifts, it is known that ISIS has withdrawn its militia from the city. A group of 2,000 or so Syrians believe this to be the work of the preacher man they now refer to as Al-Masih and follow their new-found leader into the Syrian desert. These events lead to the CIA becoming involved in following Al-Masih.
The CIA officer Eva Geller, who is played by Morgan Monaghan, follows this man across the world in hopes of learning the true nature of his character. Referred to as Al-Masih, which is the Arabic word for messiah, Mehdi Dehbi plays his character to perfection. A perfect mix of quiet confidence with a hint of mystery, Dehbi does a true justice to his role as Al-Masih.
With no real background given on Al-Masih, it leaves plenty of room for the show to make his character dynamic in character structure and personality. The show also does a great job of giving the audience bits and pieces of background on Al-Masih through Officer Geller and the CIA learning the true identity and upbringing of Al-Masih. This allows the show to build on the Al-Masih character without having to do separate flashback scenes or irrelevant character-building scenes.
The plot line of the show is both fitting for entertainment and complex enough to stir a true discussion of “what ifs” surrounding Al-Masih. As far as entertainment goes, the show fulfils its title of thriller mystery, with plenty of action scenes to go alongside the attempted debunking of Al-Masih and his actions. The show does a fantastic job of balancing the major story line with other smaller but significant ones around its supporting characters. All the smaller plot lines do a great job of working off the major one and continue to help build the mystery that is Al-Masih.
During the show, Al-Masih performs many miracles in front of the public as well as in front of cameras. Some of these events, mirror those of Jesus Christ from the Bible and ultimately lead to a discussion of Al-Masih’s legitimacy as the true messiah. However, outside of the show, it sparks conversations that explore and challenge the ideas of faith and religion. Would the world be able to accept that the messiah has come back? With today’s technology, word and video of any miracles would spread quickly across the world. Even with video proof of events, there would surely be plenty of conspiracy theories or those who claim the events to be fake. Petroni knew this would be the reaction if these events occurred in real life and was sure to include equal reactions throughout the series.
Overall, Michael Petroni and Netflix created an entertaining series that is well worth the watch and is sure to perplex your mind about the mystery and possibility of a divine being.