Archie Panjabi plays an investigator searching for a missing plane in the new Peacock series “Departure.”
“I read the scripts and I couldn’t put them down — and I felt that the audience would feel the same,” Panjabi, 48, tells The Post.
The primarily England-based thriller, already renewed for a second season, follows Kendra Malley (Panjabi), an investigator at the Transportation Safety and Investigations Bureau who’s tasked with finding the vanished plane, which was en route to London from New York. Its disappearance is being labeled by the media as potentially the “worst aviation disaster in UK history.”
“You’re so keen to find out what caused the passenger plane to go missing,” Panjabi says. “People generally have this fear and fascination with flying. So I just thought it would be one of those binge-worthy shows.”
Unlike “Lost” or NBC’s more recent hit “Manifest,” there’s no supernatural element to “Departure,” but there’s still endless possibilities for what happened to the plane. Kendra and her team must find out if there was an equipment failure or a more nefarious cause including a hijacking. They must also determine if the plane is in the Atlantic Ocean, or if it’s still in the air evading detection.
To complicate matters, Kendra is still reeling from losing her husband to a tragic accident that’s revealed over the course of the series. She’s just returned to her job after his death when the plane goes missing.
“I really liked the character,” she says. “It was a fascinating idea to have this really strong crash investigator deal with all the victims and what they go through, having only recently gone through her own personal tragedy.”
Kendra’s boss and mentor, Howard Lawson, is played by Christopher Plummer.
“I grew up with ‘The Sound of Music’ and followed his career,” Panjabi says. “He was attached to the project when it was sent to me, so that was an additional attraction to want to do this show, because I’ve always wanted to work with him. So it was wonderful. He’s a pure delight. He’s brilliant at what he does, and he’s great fun on set as well.”
One of TV’s most prolific stars, Panjabi is best known for her Emmy-winning role as Kalinda Sharma on “The Good Wife” (2009-2015). She’s also appeared in popular shows including “Blindspot,” “The Fall” (opposite Gillian Anderson) and “I Know This Much is True” starring Mark Ruffalo, who won an Emmy for playing twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the HBO drama.
“I always like to challenge myself,” she says. “I recently did something very different for ‘Run’ [on HBO] which was a character that was a bit of a psycho. I’d never done something like that before
“So as long as a character is appealing, I’m not fussy about the genre, as long as I like the script and there are great people attached to it.”
Season 2 of “Departure” is currently filming in Canada and will likely premiere next year.
“The second season is different — you see a growth in Kendra compared to Season 1,” Panjabi says. “It’s dealing with a different type of accident and its more character-driven. I reunite with Jason O’Mara, who I worked with on ‘The Good Wife,’ and I have some really good stuff with him.
“I can’t say too much, but it’s exciting — and there are lots of surprises.”