Lioness: cast, plot and everything we know about the Taylor Sheridan series

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman (Image credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Not everything Taylor Sheridan does involves cowboys and ten-gallon hats, as evidenced by his new upcoming series, Lioness, which is set to feature the talents of Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana. Sheridan is taking a crack at the spy genre with this new show, also set to be a Paramount Plus original series.

This is just one of many shows that are set to comprise the "Sheridan-verse." In addition to the already popular Yellowstone, as well as its prequels 1883 and 1923, Tulsa King and Mayor of Kingstown, Sheridan has the likes of Bass Reeves, Land Man and another Yellowstone spinoff, 6666, in the works. Then there is Lioness.

When can you start watching Lioness, who else is in it and what's it about? Here's everything you need to know about the show.

Lioness release date

It's TBD on when we can start watching Lioness, as there is no announced release date for the show. What we do know is that it is going to stream exclusively on Paramount Plus. 

Lioness plot

Lioness is set to break away from the familiar confines of the western genre like many of Sheridan's popular shows (even Tulsa King has some elements of a western mixed in with its more predominant gangster trappings), as it looks to be a full-fledged spy drama. Here is the official synopsis:

"Lioness is based on a real-life CIA program and follows Cruz Manuelos, a rough-around-the-edges but passionate young Marine recruited to join the CIA’s Lioness Engagement Team to help bring down a terrorist organization from within."

Lioness cast

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

The two big stars attached to Lioness are Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana. Kidman is set to play Kaitlyn Meade, the CIA's senior supervisor with plenty of experience playing the political game, but who also tries to balance her work in the intelligence community, her at-home life and being a mentor to a young recruit going down a familiar path. Saldana is starring as Joe, the station chief of the Lioness program responsible for training, managing and leading the female undercover operatives. Both Kidman and Saldana are also executive producers on the show.

Kidman is an Oscar winner (The Hours) best known for her movie roles in titles like Moulin Rouge!, Cold Mountain and more recently Being the Ricardos and The Northman. She has also been doing more and more TV, including an Emmy-winning performance in Big Little Lies and other high-profile series like Nine Perfect Strangers and The Undoing.

Saldana also has a number of major movie roles on her resume, including starring in Avatar: The Way of Water and in the MCU, with her latest appearance coming in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. She also had a big hit on the TV side in 2022 with the Netflix limited series From Scratch.

While Kidman and Saldana are the headliners, they are not playing the main character of Cruz Manuelos. That role belongs to Laysla De Oliveira. De Oliveira is best known for appearing in the Netflix series Locke & Key.

One more big name joining the cast is Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman, who is slated to play Edward Mullins, the US Secretary of State.

Other Lioness cast members include Michael Kelly (Jack Ryan, House of Cards) as CIA Deputy Director Byron Westfield; Jill Wagner (Teen Wolf) as Bobby, a CIA Special Activities Division operative; Dave Annable (Yellowstone) as Neil, Joe's husband; LaMonica Garrett (1883) as Tucker, a member of Joe’s team; James Jordan (Mayor of Kingstown) as Two Cups, also part of Joe’s team; Austin Hébert (Ray Donovan) as Randy, a tech specialist in charge of surveillance; Hannah Love Lanier (The Tiny Mighty Club) as Kate, Joe and Neil’s daughter; Stephanie Nur (1883) as Aaliyah, the daughter of a billionaire businessman with ties to terrorism; and Jonah Wharton (The Rookie) as Tex, another member of Joe’s team.

Lioness trailer

There is no trailer for Lioness yet. Once we have one we'll add it here. 

How to watch Lioness

Lioness is a Paramount Plus original series, so it is going to be exclusive to the streaming service. Paramount Plus is available to consumers in the US, UK and a number of other international markets. US subscribers have a couple of plan options, including ad-supported and ad-free versions, while UK and other markets only have one plan.

In addition to Lioness, Paramount Plus exclusively carries Taylor Sheridan series 1883, 1923, Tulsa King and Mayor of Kingstown (plus Yellowstone outside of the US), as well as new original Star Trek series, including Star Trek: Picard, and Paramount Plus original movies. US subscribers can also access live TV and sports on Paramount Plus. Find out what's new on Paramount Plus this month.

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).