Sleeper cell is a dramatic and tense series telling the story from inside a terrorist cell, rather than the usual angle of viewing solely through the eyes of the police.
The plot is simple; terrorists plan to cause death and destruction at various locations in the US. Within the cell is an undercover police officer who is trying to gain the trust of the terrorists and pass on as much information as possible to prevent the attacks from taking place.
With a simple plot the series relies on its characters to drive it forwards and this is where sleeper cell excels. Instead of the gung-ho dramatics of, for example 24, there are very few action set pieces. When they happen they are very well done and are over quickly, rather than an endless set of ridiculous explosions and unbelievable stunt work. Characters are well rounded and believable and portrayed excellently by the cast.
As there is so little plot, the information on the attack that is given, arrives very slowly but each piece provides a significant contribution to the eventual conclusion. To say too much may spoil the ending as the targets are not known until towards the end of the penultimate episode. The final episode is genuinely one of the most tense and thrilling climaxes I have seen on film.
The religious side of the series is very cleverly written. With the terrorists being Muslim they are fast becoming easy scapegoats when writing villains in American drama shows. For example, the latest series of 24 is again using Muslims as its main villains. Sleeper cell challenges these stereotypical views and we learn more about why they are driven to such appalling acts of terrorism. I don't believe this review section is the place to debate the rights and wrongs of religion but nevertheless I will say that there are some very challenging and thought provoking scenes throughout the series.
Sleeper cell takes you on an emotional journey which starts slowly and builds to a thrilling climax. I am a huge fan of 24 but to compare it to sleeper cell is wrong as they are vastly different shows. This is slower and more methodical compared to the break-neck pace of 24. Sleeper cell is thought provoking, challenging and at times genuinely shocking. Definitely a first class drama series.