Malek’s resume included a few key credits including HBO’s “The Pacific” and “Short Term 12” before taking the role of hacker Elliot Alderson in the thriller, but Esmail had only a few shorts to his name. Giving him the plum showrunner position, as well as letting him direct right out of the gate was a risk. But it was one the network didn’t balk at taking.
“Sam was super-impressive from minute one, starting with the script, which we got on spec,” says Alex Sepiol, USA’s senior vice president of original scripted programming. “He had a whole document that laid out both the first season in tremendous detail, but also