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Michael Chiklis expresses the paranoid conditions of the guards.  PHOTOGRAPHY: Coyote, CBS
Michael Chiklis showcases the paranoid conditions of the guards. Photo: Coyote, CBS

Visiting the imaginary border in the new series 'Coyote'

Actor Michael Chiklis explained how the new CBS series is out to fight stereotypes.

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Last week, the first season of the six-episode Coyote series premiered on CBS, following the misadventures of a retired border agent played by renowned actor Michael Chiklis, who previously won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role in The Shield.

The premise follows Chiklis' character who has three decades of experience as a border agent. A turn of events will bring him back to working for the same forces he was trying to repress, causing him to question his actions in the turbulent process.

In Spanish-speaking countries, it will be available on the AXN channel starting Jan. 25. The showrunner and executive producer behind the show is David Graziano, who has already a number of series following secret agents like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and Day Break. Michelle MacLaren (credits: Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones) is one of the directors as well as the executive producer.

Coyote also has a rich cast of Latino actors and actresses such as Mexico's Adriana Paz (Vis a Vis, Las Horas Muertas), winner of a Goya in 2015 for best newcomer, and Colombian actor and influencer Juan Pablo Raba (credits: Narcos, Distrito Salvaje).

Amid the drama of the last four years at the U.S.-Mexico, the location has become a hotspot setting for a number of stories. The political discourse there (whether it be the Trump Wall or the European borders that caused their migration crisis in recent years) has had real consequences on thousands of victims and become a metaphor for state security.

A curious symbol of that dynamic is border agents. They are often explored from the perspective of the cruelty they display, but not their own paranoia.

The border went from being an eternal porous bridge — because nothing stops people or commerce — to now as a measure of racial relations of the new millennium.

Michael Chiklis expresses the guards' paranoid conditions in an interview for NPR. 

"Our jurisdiction covers 100 miles inland, any border or coastline in America. Now, in that zone, Fourth Amendment protections do not apply, which means I can and will stop and search anybody that I suspect is breaking immigration laws, despite how you might feel about it,” he said.

In another interview on NBC, he emphasized the series' desire to break with border stereotypes, and tried to express the ambivalence and confusion surrounding the racial nuance of the problem. 

"You can be pro-law enforcement, very pro-law enforcement in fact, but also recognize that there’s systemic racism and there’re things that need to be done to rectify that problem,” said Chiklis

The article continues with questions directed at Frederick Aldama, a professor at Ohio State, who argued that borders live between families. That's because they are a symbol that can be inscribed on the skin and twisted into a narrative as is the case of Coyote, which is pending confirmation of a second season.

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