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American Embassy: Islamabad, Pakistan
Played By: Jack Black
- Captain Obvious: Talbot, when he sees an angry, anti-American mob on the streets of Islamabad.Talbot: That's no gay pride parade.
- Diplomatic Immunity: Tries to use this against the rogue Pakistani soldiers who detained him, but it's averted as they're having none of that.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Due to his various advances towards Fareeda, the seven Pakistani schoolgirls refer to him only as 'Uncle Creepy'. This later comes back to bite him in the ass, as when the girls mention this nickname in their tweets from inside the embassy, Zuman becomes convinced something more sinister is going on.
- Hookers and Blow: How Alex Talbot knows Larson. He procured him various hookers during a diplomatic visit to Islamabad before the events of the show.Kendra: We have Alex Talbot on the line!Larson: Who?Kendra: Blonde Asian twins.Larson: Oh, that guy, I like that guy.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being an ass to Rafiq, Alex Talbot confesses he joined the State Department to genuinely make a difference in the world. He is also the only person in the embassy who bothered to learn Rafiq's name.Talbot: Because when all the other pricks from my class at Dartmouth went off to Wall Street to suck every nickel from the poor and middle-class, I didn't want to be one of 'em! Hard as it may be for you to fathom, - I want to make a difference.
- Comes in full force when the embassy is being evacuated. Alex learns that the Pakistani girls are going to be taken with the embassy staff to a US air base in Afghanistan, and he bribes the pilots to let them off at Rafiq's family cabin.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After discovering Talbot and Larson are trying to defuse the tensions in Pakistan, Ambassador Kitteridge tries to send Talbot to the US Embassy in Baghdad, so the plans fall through and the Apocalypse he has been waiting for can happen.
- Unexpected Successor: Alex Talbot becomes the highest ranking diplomat in the US Embassy in Islamabad, only because everyone else is evacuated by chopper and he opts to stay behind with Rafiq.
Played By: Aasif Mandvi
- Knight Templar Big Brother: He will not allow Alex to get near Fareeda, lest he kills him.Rafiq: Hey, listen, I'm not fucking around, okay? You stay away from her, or I will cut your throat and put it on YouTube.
- Only Sane Man: Rafiq, which isn't all that difficult when he is forced to interact with the likes of Talbot and Robert Kittredge. And has to now live under the rule of General Zaman.
Played By: John Larroquette
- The Fundamentalist: Due to his evangelical Christian background, he believes the tensions in the Middle East to be a sign of the End Times. His secretary even says he seems to be HOPING that the Apocalypse is coming.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When he hears the story of Pakistani schoolgirls trying to escape the chaos in Islamabad, he offers them refuge in American embassy grounds until it's safe for them to go home.
Chinese Embassy: Islamabad, Pakistan
Played By: Creator/
- Diplomatic Impunity: Alex tries to tell Zhao to use the embassy grounds to help the schoolgirls escape. Zhao is concerned about it.Alex: I'm not asking you to adopt them, just, you know, leave the door open and let them cross back over into Pakistan.Zhao: Hmm, I get caught, I making iPads in Shenzhen factory.
Prime Minister Umair Zaman
Played By: Iqbal Theba
- Big Bad: He's responsible for the events of the first season, taking control of Pakistan via military coup and heightening tensions in South Asia.
- The Caligula: Played for Laughs. Zaman believes the use of US drones in a Zionist conspiracy, and that the electromagnetic waves released by them are to cause sterility to the Pakistani people.
- Comically Missing the Point: General Zaman is against the use of drones over Pakistan not because of the many civilians they kill via bombing, but because he believes they spread electromagnetic radiation that sterilises Pakistani women and feminises the country's men.
- Even Evil Has Standards: After ordering the firing of a nuclear missile into Tel Aviv, Zaman realizes too late that he forgot to ask which direction the wind is blowing in the area and whether it will irradiate the Palestinians as well.
- Insane Admiral: Zaman previously had a psychotic break and bouts of schizophrenia.
- Psychopathic Manchild: One of the many side effects of his mental breakdown. For instance, he likes to use the government hotline just to make himself heard. General Ali suggests to use it to try and call Bono.
- Sore Loser: He launched the revolt against Bashar because he didn't like the election results that lead to the defeat of the Unity Party.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zaman's doesn't like to ride horses, but has portraits of himself riding one.Raja: That paranoid fool. He was always frightened of horses. Never even learned to ride. Can you imagine the level of narcissism it takes to fake a photograph like that? He was constantly grabbing what wasn't his.
Prime Minister Vakeel Bashar
Played By: Ravi Kapoor
- Face Death with Dignity: Bashar, thrown into the same army truck as Alex, is saddened but accepting of his inevitable fate at the hands of Zaman.
General Ahmed Ali
Played By: David Diaan
- Actually Pretty Funny: He makes fun of the suggestion that Zaman should use the hotline to call Bono.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: He was "persuaded" to defect and arrest Zaman thanks to Talbot.
- Even Evil Has Standards: General Ali was furious to hear that Zaman has fantasies with men having sex with his wife before he kills them and eats their genitalia.
- General Ripper: He is just as willing to start a war as Zaman, but believes it should be focused on India, which he considers to be Pakistan's "true enemy."
Played By: Samrat Chakrabati
- Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Captain Naseer pronounces Alex's surname (Talbot) as 'Towel-butt'.
- Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Used by him after they become convinced that Talbot is a spy.Naseer: Apparently, your government does not consider waterboarding torture. Enhanced interrogation. Sounds harmless enough, no?
- Jerkass Has a Point: Captain Naseer, after the army executes Pakistan's democratically elected Prime Minister.Naseer: You can't install a corpse as Prime Minister now, can you?
General Haroon Raja
Played By: Bernard White
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Raja demands three things from the US government in return for removing Zaman from power: $200 million, a nuclear submarine for the Pakistani Navy, and membership to the Augusta National Golf Club.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: After some heavy prodding from Larson, Raja returns to Pakistan and promptly puts Zaman under arrest. And then he gets killed by an American drone strike which was meant for Zaman, who was being safely driven away.
- HeelFace Turn: The moderate Gen. Haroon Raja seems adamant to want to remove Zaman from power with the help of the US government and replace him. However, as soon as the US pays him $80 million as an indication of seriousness, he leaves Pakistan and goes into hiding in Germany a very rich man.
Lieutenant Commander Zeke "Z-Pak" Tilson
Played By: Pablo Schreiber
- Ace Pilot: On the Ulysses S. Grant. Though he has to be hopped up on all sorts of meds to function
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite his goofy persona and idiotic antics, Zeke shows himself to be very skilled at hand-to-hand combat when he is forced to to fight a warlord's son in rural Pakistan.
- Functional Addict: Is surprisingly one as a Navy pilot.
- Hypocrite: Zeke, who deals prescription drugs in his spare time, criticizes Glenn for trying to steal a valuable figurine whilst they are at the British expats mansion in rural Pakistan.Zeke: Put it back, we're not criminals.Glenn: You're a fucking drug dealer, man.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zeke initially appears as an uncaring, gung-ho American pilot with drug issues, lamenting on where he gets to 'bomb the shit out of' today. However, he is later very concerned to find out his mission is to bomb a heavily populated area and says he hates being used as 'cheap muscle' by politicians.
Lieutenant Glenn "Jammer" Taylor
Played By: Eric Ladin
- Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: One of the side effects Glenn feels after accidentally taking a morphine pill instead of Xanax.
- Guy in Back: His function when flying with Zeke.
Lieutenant Gail Sweet
Played By: Jaimie Alexander
Rear Admiral (Upper Half) McBride
Played By: Rex Linn
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: As far as he knows, the shooting of an Indian Air Force drone over Pakistani airspace did not happen in his watch.
Played By: Esai Morales
- Comically Missing the Point: When the world is on the brink of WW 3, and the White House has been evacuated, all President Navarro and Secretary of Defense Gray seem to be focusing on is the deals they got on a pair of slacks from the Neiman Marcus the underground bunker is located underneath.Gray: 20% off the already marked down price. These slacks were practically wholesale.President Navarro: Can't pass that up.Gray: What did you get?President Navarro: I got this for my wife [pulls lingerie set out of bag].Gray: Ah, your wife can wear something like that.President Navarro: Oh yeah.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: President Navarro is essentially a Hispanic stand-in for President Barack Obama.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Julian Navarro, the President of the United States, is hispanic, making him a President Minority. He also starts out as President Clueless, but that's only due to the media blackout in Pakistan preventing the government from knowing what is happening.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Allow Larson to go to New Delhi and talk to his Indian counterpart. But after he hears Raja fleeing Islamabad with the money, he gets angry and orders him to return to America despite Larson's objections.
Played By: Geoff Pierson
- Enemy Mine: Works together with Larson once the latter showed proof of Alex getting his hands on Zaman.
- War Hawk: His agenda on how to take out a rogue Pakistani military and nuclear arsenal. Larson calls him out on it in the pilot episode.Gray: We need to remove those weapons now.Larson: Spoken like a true chicken hawk.
Gray: General, who is the tip of the spear?Larson: Tip of the spear? What a tool.
Played By: Tim Robbins
- The Alcoholic: Has to drink one, even just to calm himself.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He gets really upset when he finds Raja in Geneva.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: While a total letch and alcoholic, Larson is an excellent diplomat and strategist.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: Larson's aide, Kendra, finds him in the pilot episode in a hotel room, with an Asian hooker, wearing nothing but a red ribbon around his wrists.
- Coitus Interruptus: Larson's early morning sexcapade is interrupted by his aide, and to an extent the threat of an unstable Pakistani general gaining control of nukes.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Larson also counts, successfully overpowering Haroon Raja (a trained military general) and getting him in a headlock when he confronts him in Geneva. Kind of makes sense considering he is a veteran of the Vietnam war.
- Determinator: He won't stop even a kidney stone problem from trying to solve a hostile situation by using informal peace talks.
- Establishing Character Moment: Walter Larson, the US Secretary of State, is introduced tied to a bed having sex with a prostitute smothering him with a pillow, which he later refers to as an 'important meeting'.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: SecState Larson issues a brief but effective one to SecDef Gray regarding his lack of military experience and warmongering attitude.Gray: You're out of line, Walter.Larson: Am I? I was on the goddamn roof defending the last chopper out of Saigon before my 19th birthday. When you were 19 you were date raping Radcliffe girls.Gray: Fuck you.Larson: Or was it Harvard boys? Lucky for you your prick was so small they didn't have the heart to press charges!
Larson: I'm tired of being the only person in your administration who's getting laid on a regular basis and doesn't have to compensate for their sexual inadequacy by bombing the shit out of brown people.
- Larson delivers another one to President Julian Navarro in the season one finale.
- Retired Badass: Walter Larson, the US Secretary of State, is a Vietnam veteran.
- Sleazy Politician: He is one, but in a humorous and almost enjoyable way.
Played By: Mimi Kennedy
Played By: Maribeth Monroe
- Only Sane Man: Or rather, woman working alongside Larson.
Played By: Ajay Mehta
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Foreign Minister Pandit realizes that the American military accidentally shot down an Indian Air Force drone instead of the Pakistani Air Force.
Played By: Ahron Ipale
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He agrees to Larsen's suggestion to stall any kind of attack for a few hours in order to get his plan to work.
- Troll: He claims to Larson that he's fired a nuke at Pakistan and that it cannot be recalled once the Pakistani plane is destroyed.
Played By: Iris Bahr
- Double Entendre: Larson views the Israeli Foreign Minister's threats to get out of her office as such.Levy: Get out Walter. I will hit you, I will hit you where no one will see the bruises.Larson: [smirks] You're turning me on.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: She suggests to Larson that the Israeli military could use the attempted nuke attack on Israeli by Zaman to take down Saudi Arabia and Iran to protect Israel.
Rafiq Massoud Sr.
Played By: Marshall Manesh
Played By: Meera Syal
Played By: Melanie Chandra
- Hot for Teacher: Played with by Alex.
Played By: Erick Avari
- Contrived Coincidence: He previously treated the general leading the coup years before. He still has the man's medical file, which Talbot is able to fax to the US government who have little information about him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very much so after he meets with Alex."I'm going into town before rioters take all the salty snacks."
- Mistaken for Spies: Hasan is convinced Alex is a CIA plant in the US embassy, when he is actually a low level Foreign Service officer. It is later revealed he applied to the CIA twice, but was rejected for not seeming tough enough.
Played By: Mary Faber
- Working with the Ex: Zeke still has her as his supplier for prescription drugs, which he sells to his comrades.
Played By: Carla Gugino
- Coitus Interruptus: Larson then catches his wife with another man, but doesn't think anything of it and just goes back to packing.