Fred Norris/HBO
Lynette Rice
January 11, 2013 AT 12:00 PM EST

A studly New Zealand newcomer (who kind of looks like a younger Ray Stevenson from Rome) headlines Banshee, the latest drama from True Blood creator Alan Ball that bows tonight on Cinemax. We asked Executive Producer Greg Yaitanes to share six things that we need to know about the drama, which follows ex-thief Lucas Hood (Antony Starr, pictured above) who shows up to a fictional Pennsylvania town and ends up assuming the identity of the new town sheriff. (Crazy, right?)

 1. Why was Lucas Hood in prison? He got caught after committing a successful diamond heist many years ago. “As you invest in the series, you’ll learn why he got caught and who tipped off the police,” Yaitanes explains. “There is a 20-year mythology around it. There will be a back story to every character.”

2. Who is Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) and why is she dreaming of having sex with Lucas? She, like Lucas, was once his partner-in-crime but now she’s living under an assumed identity in Banshee — as the District Attorney’s wife. “They are upper middle class and living the life while raising their children. Then her past comes and finds her and their pasts collide .. Now he’s looking her for her, and wants the diamonds.”

3. Why the name Banshee? It’s a fictional town (Charlotte, N.C. doubles for it in the series). “It’s supposed to be a town with a great history, with a native American and Amish influence. It could be anywhere in the country yet it’s a town full of secrets.,” says Yaitanes. “Also, the screaming spirit of the banshee sounds cool.”

 4. What’s the story on the hot lead? Starr is from New Zealand and “one of great miracles of the show.” “We were looking for a guy who has life on him as well as feeling compelling and warm while still being a guy. When we got the tape from New Zealand, we started pumping our fist. He just nailed it. He had all that rakish charm that we wanted, yet deeply pained and conflicted. I joked if Alec Baldwin and Russell Crowe had a kid, it would be Antony Starr.”

5. What’s the story on Job? He’s a transvestite/hairstylist/bad dude played by Hoon Lee who has helped Lucas through the years. He’s one of the first people Lucas tracks down in Banshee.

6. How long will Lucas hide his real identity? “The threat of Lucas’ identify being exposed is a source of tension throughout season,” says Yaitanes. “The 10-episode season leads to a very satisfying conclusion and sets up a really exciting story for season two.”

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