What happens if you round up the nation’s most brilliant scientific minds, seclude them in a makeshift city in the middle of the desert, and drown their lives in secrecy? These are the questions addressed in Manhattan, the new historical drama from creator Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex) and director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing). Manhattan offers a semi-fictionalized version of the infamous Manhattan Project – the clandestine research and development project that resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb. While the events of the show are based on history, Manhattan largely steers clear of iconic figures like J. Robert Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves, and focuses instead on the interpersonal drama between fictitious characters as they contend with the costs of secrecy and isolation.
I recently visited the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico where the labs, homes, and barracks of Los Alamos have been recreated from the ground up. While I was there I had the chance to sit down with Harry Lloyd and Katja Herbers. They talked about what attracted them to the show, how much they knew about the history of the Manhattan Project growing up in Europe, what they’re most excited for people to see, and more. Check out what they had to say after the jump. Manhattan airs Sunday nights on WGN America.