Ori Pfeffer as Detective Golan Cohen | Photo: USA Network
Jerusalem is not a place known for its welcoming stance on LGBT issues. Holy city to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, conservatism reigns in way that starkly differs from the liberalism of Tel Aviv, where the annual Pride Festival attracts more then 100,000 revelers. Yet, in Dig, USA's new breakout hit minseries, the ancient city is the setting for a remarkably progressive protrayal of gay people.
The archaeological-thriller — which follows the investigation into the murder of an American teen and the uncovering of an ancient plot — recently saw macho Israeli police detective Golan Cohen (Ori Pfeffer) reveal his sexuality. While a surprise for audiences, it was also a bit of a non-event in the episode since the show's story didn't dwell on the fact.
Clare Pires from GLAAD: All Access sat down with the show's openly gay creator, Gideon Raff, and straight actor Ori Pfeffer to discuss the LGBT plotline. Both discussed the interplay between religion and LGBT issues—in Israel and in general—and the importance of presenting that struggle to viewers. Raff told GLAAD:
"Our show deals with religious fanaticism. It deals with not accepting the other. It deals with people who feel different and because of that, cause a lot of harm to the world, or a lot of harm is caused to them. That is a struggle that any kid, any gay kid, feels growing up. I think Golan's struggle with his gayness in a religious family in Israel is exactly what Peter's fight is and what Anne Heche's character is in a different way, but it's all the same theme, which is the fact that we're not accepted as who we are because a set of rules decided that it's 'not right.' "
And as Pfeffer explains, portraying a strong gay man was important to him:
"I just hope I represent it [being gay] in a way that is fair. I had meetings with people who are gay within a religious communities, and having to step up and come out and deal with that…I think that community has that religious veil on it where, 'is it right by the eye of God or not?' "
Gideon added: "If God does exist, he probably exists in love and compassion — and not in the opposite."
Watch the short interview below:
The penultimate episode of Dig airs tonight at 10 p.m. EST on USA.