‘The Recruit’ Creator Alexi Hawley Pushed for Diversity Onscreen and in the Writers Room: ‘It Costs Me Nothing’

“The sort of homogeny point of view doesn’t help anyone,” Hawley told TheWrap


When putting together the new Netflix series “The Recruit,” creator and showrunner Alexi Hawley said it was “important” for him to show a diverse cast as well as fill his writers room with talent from all backgrounds.

“If I don’t do that then that’s on me,” Hawley told TheWrap during a recent interview.

“The Recruit” marks Hawley’s Netflix debut, but he’s no stranger to television — the twin brother of “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley is also the creator and showrunner of the hit ABC series “The Rookie” and worked as a producer and writer on “Castle.”

The action-packed “The Recruit” follows Owen, played by Noah Centineo (Netflix’s “To All the Boys” trilogy) as he navigates his first week on the job as a lawyer for the CIA. However, what seems like it would be an easy fresh start turns into life-threatening mission to stop a former Russian asset Max (Laura Haddock) from revealing the nature of her relationship with the agency. 

Other cast members include Five Stewart, Daniel Quincy Annoh, Colton Dunn, Aarti Mann, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Byron Mann, Angel Parker and Kaylah Zander. Aside from displaying a well-rounded ensemble of characters who are carried by a skillful group of actors, most of the leading characters are of color, with two characters identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Hawley says diversity and inclusion has “always been important to him.”

“I mean look at ‘The Rookie,’ look at ‘Feds.’ I want to portray a world that’s reflective of the world. For ‘The Rookie,’ I wanted to make a show that looked like Los Angeles, and the same thing for ‘The Recruit,’” said Hawley adding that his writers room was just as diverse as his cast. 

“It doesn’t just stop on the screen, I think it’s really important to fill your writers room with different voices and to try as hard to fill your crew with different points of view and different backgrounds because ultimately that enriches the show,” said Hawley. “The sort of homogeny point of view doesn’t help anyone. It costs me nothing as a straight white, male showrunner in this day and age to make that an important thing because I’m never going to get dinged for that. Nobody’s going to come at me or push back on me. So, if I don’t do that, then that’s on me. It’s always been important to me to push forward on that as much as possible.”

When discussing the idea for “The Recruit,” Hawley noted that the show has nothing to do with and is in no way connected to the 2003 film “The Recruit” (which starred Colin Farrell as a young CIA recruit) and that the inspiration for this series came from an idea of “absurdism” with the CIA. 

“There was an absurdism to the world that I thought was somewhat unique,” said Hawley.

“Adam Ciralsky, who’s an EP on the show, who was a lawyer at the CIA at the very beginning of his career said very early on that ‘the CIA is not sexy, it’s the Post Office with secrets,’ which I thought was a really phenomenal way to look at it,” said Hawley. “Yes, the operations side does a lot of stuff that is cutting edge and incredibly dangerous and heroic. But, the sort of bureaucracy around them is very much a government institution. It’s just one that is ruled by secrecy. There’s absurdity just within that on a practical level, which was funny, which was fun.”

The first season of “The Recruit” is now streaming on Netflix.

Watch the trailer below.