Created by Taylor Sheridan, Paramount+’ Special Ops: Lioness’ is an action thriller series starring Zoe Saldana, Laysla De Oliveira, Michael Kelly, Morgan Freeman, and Nicole Kidman. The series revolves around Joe, the station chief of the CIA’s Lioness program, which focuses on cubing terrorist activity in foreign countries through covert and counterinsurgency operations. Joe recruits Cruz, a young Marine soldier, as an asset for a mission that involves the latter forming a friendship with the daughter of a suspected terrorist. The high-octane and action-heavy series is a globe-trotting spy adventure with its narrative stretching across different timelines and locations. If you are wondering when and where ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ takes place, here is everything you need to know!
Special Ops: Lioness Location and Place
‘Special Ops: Lioness’ follows the story of Joe, the station chief of the CIA’s Lioness program. When the show starts, Joe leads a mission in Syria, resulting in a catastrophic failure when her asset’s cover is exposed. After the mission’s failure, Joe is forced to return to the United States. Meanwhile, viewers also get a flashback of the events leading up to Cruz Manuelos’ recruitment into the US Marine Corps.
The flashback sequence is said to take place roughly four years before the main events. As a result, it is safe to say that most of the show takes place in the present day. Seeing how the US Armed Forces have a military presence in countries such as Syria, Kuwait, and Iraq as of 2023, we can assume that most of the show’s main narrative will occur in the modern day, especially in 2023.
As for the physical setting of the show, the answer is a bit more complicated since the action shifts between different locations over the very first episode itself. The opening sequence is set in Kobanî, officially known as Ayn al-Arab, a city in northern Syria. The explosive action scene, which sees Joe reluctantly ordering a drone strike on her asset’s location, sets up the dangers of the task force’s job. The flashback sequence, which shows Cruz’s troubled life, takes place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The first episode also features recruitment scenes of Cruz that take place in an unnamed Marine Corps recruitment center.
Meanwhile, the narrative also follows Joe as she returns to the United States. Her debriefing session with her seniors takes place in Langley, Virginia, which houses the CIA Headquarters. The final act of the first episode unfolds in Kuwait City, Kuwait, where Cruz is assigned her first task in her new mission while working for the Lioness Task Force. Although the series bounces between different locations, a majority of the series’s first season was filmed in Baltimore, Maryland. The other locations in the United States where filming took place include Texas, which most likely doubles as Syria, and Washington, DC.
Given the fast-paced nature of the series that relies on quick location changes to raise its stakes, viewers will likely see the characters exploring even more places as the narrative progresses. The first season was also filmed in Mallorca, Spain, and Paris, France, suggesting that Joe and her squad will travel to more locations to complete their missions. Hence, viewers can expect the series to boast the qualities of a globe-trotting espionage thriller with multiple locations factoring into the narrative, leading to imaginative action setpieces and high stakes.
Read More: Where is Special Ops: Lioness Filmed?