Episode 1

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Tucked between two mountains, citizens of the small Middle Eastern country Jabalein are shaken to find that their President has died of a sudden heart attack. With the Deputy President disgraced by scandal, the Presidency falls to the Minister of Planning and Development: NOURA SAAD. A woman. Pessimists predict chaos, while Assembly Speaker BASSEM tries to wheedle a way around her appointment, though her term expires in one year. But Noura’s oath of office ignites a firestorm of demands from people who want jobs and lower taxes. Demonstrations dominate the news. Questions arise on the new President’s credibility. Fortunately, Noura finds support with her family, her Chief of Staff, MALIK and Communications Director, SAMAR.

As the country mulls the idea of its first female leader, we meet MAYA DAOUD, an aspiring journalist who moonlights at Jadal Café with her best friend OMAR, a musician with more charm than money. Underemployed and restless, the two greet the President’s calls to rebuild their national family with skepticism, until Noura upends her administration and defends those demanding change only hours into her term. Despite her security team’s warnings, Noura meets the protesters in the street and asks them to join her in making Jabalein as it could be. Maya pens an open letter to Noura which goes viral on a new blog she calls “Madam President,” and she and her country tensely awaits their “mother’s” next move.

Episode 2

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Jabalein’s parliament buzzes with Noura’s newest attempts at reform, which would rein in spending through cuts to official perks. Her refusal to rubber stamp the pending budget sours her relationships with allies and opponents alike, and the President must begin the contentious process of passing the budget.  Unsurprisingly, Noura’s idealism provokes Bassem to mobilize his parliamentary block, forcing her to reconsider the value of her reforms.  Back in the residence, Noura’s daughter Sarah faces off with her father, Noura’s first husband Ziad. The businessman brings his usual offering of disappointment, and manages to upset both his daughter and Noura’s husband Jamal in one fell swoop.  With Noura’s amendments stuck in negotiations, she swallows a compromise and approves the old budget in the final hour, though not without critical concessions from Bassem.  And while the government stands to run another day, Noura’s sudden reversal gives the country moral whiplash, and dampens hope for real change. As Maya points out:  dreams are a dangerous thing to dash.

Episode 3

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The President must finalize a potentially lucrative fiber optics deal with neighboring head of state General Najem, but citizens question cooperating with the known war criminal.  The agreement is a carryover from the former president, and Noura must set her own standard for negotiation, balancing the strategic relationship with the public’s very vocal criticisms. As citizens refuse to clear the streets, security uncovers a threat against the General’s life…. until they realize it’s aimed for Noura’s. On the sidelines and threatened, Bassem convinces Finance Minister Essa to choose a private sector appointment over his cabinet position, a move designed to damage Noura’s fledgling administration.  Maya battles her own vocational station, and devotes her days to finding a job as a ‘real’ journalist. But her run of failed interviews begins to weigh on her heart, and she retreats to the comfort of her increasingly popular blog.   Across town, former war reporter RAFIQ has begun hosting Left, Right and Center, and the politically edgy program has him crossing paths and professional boundaries with Samar.  Though Noura eventually finalizes the deal with the General, Maya questions what moral ground she has lost.  After all, the choices we make never come without consequence.

Episode 4

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The annual security review has descended upon the government, pitting Noura against Jabalein’s most defensive military minds. The generals expect to breeze through their recommendations, and bristle at Noura’s pointed objections.   As tempers start to curdle, the palace goes into lockdown, and the meeting is rushed to a safe room while security verifies the plot. As an added precaution, guards secure all members of Noura’s family, who react in varying states of displeasure. Her son Adam spends the afternoon struggling to read, to his grandfather Hakeem’s concern, while Jamal gets stuck at the summerhouse with information and patience in short supply. Only her daughter Sarah is happily trapped, having finally found an excuse to trade banter with her cute guitar teacher Omar.   Back at the presidential compound, hours of argument break the warring parties’ misconceptions, and Noura and the generals find compromise just as the door unseals.  Omar is also released to find a worried Maya, and revels in her concern only a little too much. In the end, the threat boiled down to a hoax, or maybe, as Maya reminds, people just don’t know how to say what they really mean.

Episode 5

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Jabalein’s well-heeled gather at a gala fundraiser for the country’s rural health initiative, and Noura is set to inaugurate the project, while placating her party’s financial benefactors. It’s the sort of party she detests, the hypocrisy of it all, but a feeling looms larger in her mind, and she can’t escape the sense that something bad is about to happen. Maya swallows her own dread, having arrived at her cousin’s much anticipated wedding. It’s a roomful of family expectations, her aunts trading estimates of when Her Time will come.  But the festivities turn nightmarish when a tipsy uncle shoots the groom, and he dies at the hands of a run-down governmental hospital. Determined to find justice, Maya live tweets every development to her blog, and unwittingly taps into years’ worth of resentment, bringing crowds of protestors to the hospital gate. When the story finally reaches the gala, the President rushes to apologize to the bride, and she comes face to face with the country’s inequality. Though she takes responsibility for the health system’s failure, fault doesn’t erase a life lost.  So the bride grieves her love cut short, while Noura mourns the loss of her own mother. For no matter one’s position in life, pain is universal. And maybe, as Maya reflects, that’s what unites us in the end.

Marketing Team

Arabic Online Editor: Islam Al Shomali

English Online Editor: Natalie Stewart

Brand and Visual Designer: Rana Khoury

Web Development: IN4MA Pty. Ltd

Social Media Manager: Abd Al-Rahman Afaneh

Video Content: Jordan Bryon

Production Team

A Co-Production of Common Ground Productions and Jordan Pioneers Multimedia Co.

©2015 Common Ground Productions and Search for Common Ground 501(c)(3)