Everything We Know About 'Special Ops: Lioness' Season 2

Everything We Know About 'Special Ops: Lioness' Season 2

Though fans are still debriefing from the emotional Lioness season finale, audiences are already anticipating a Season Two renewal. Paramount most likely wants to view the entire season's ratings before making any plans, but Deadline reported that Special Ops: Lioness debuted as the streamer's most-watched global premiere. If audiences kept with the show over its eight episodes, we are most likely looking at a Season Two renewal very soon.

"Special Ops: Lioness scored as the #1 new scripted series of the year on cable and one of the highest performers of all time on Paramount+," stated Chris McCarthy, CEO of Paramount Media Networks. "Brilliantly created by Taylor Sheridan and brought to life by our stellar cast, this heart-pounding thriller inspired by real-life events clearly struck a chord with a huge audience."

Semi-inspired by a real CIA program, Lioness features a trio of women tasked with infiltrating a terrorist network and going undercover to obtain vital information. A rookie Lioness operative, Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira), is tasked with cozying up to the mark's daughter before her wedding. She's trained by Joe (Zoe Saldaña)—the Lioness head operative with questionable methods—and her supervisor, Kailyn (Nicole Kidman).

charley tucker as army joint chief and hael kelly as byron westfield in special ops lioness, episode 8, season 1, streaming on paramount, 2023 photo credit luke varleyparamount
Special Ops: Lioness asks "Who wins?" in a situation like this. The answer isn’t clear.Luke Varley/Paramount+ - Paramount

What Happened in the Lioness Finale?

Special Ops: Lioness balanced the murky waters of American intelligence operations over the course of eight episodes, blending the jingoist politics of CIA fear-mongering with the shadowy business decisions that often guide policy. For Cruz, our main character, both sides of the USA's operations overseas wreak havoc. She's tasked with infiltrating the family of the most dangerous banker for terrorism in the Middle East over the last 20 years. His death would mean a victory for the USA—another world power-player-turned-villain by America's monster-making machine in the war on terror. But Lioness also doesn't shy away from one question: Who really wins following this man's death? Did we really just gain another victory in this special ops war, or did our actions just incite even more violence?

Making her way to the wedding in the finale, Cruz does eventually meet the big bad himself. His daughter, Aaliyah, tries to hold on to their relationship even though she's about to get married, and the groom begins the festivities by threatening to "throw her into the sea." Cruz can't be extracted without a gunfight in this mission, so her only way of completing the task at hand is to place a tracker on her target or kill him and run. We'll let you guess which one would be more exciting. Back at the situation room, Kaitlyn and Byron are losing their minds over "how the f**k we get her out."

laysla de oliveira as cruz manuelos and stephanie nur as aaliyah in special ops lioness, episode 8, season 1, streaming on paramount, 2023 photo credit luke varleyparamount
It’s the final day of Cruz’s mission, and what a final day it is.Luke Varley/Paramount+ - Paramount

When the villain finally makes his appearance, he catches Cruz in a state of weakness. She has her head in the freezer to calm down, but tries to play it off by saying that she was just "looking for water." The groom runs in, screaming, "you're a United States fucking marine!" after finding out her identity, and Cruz enters her killer instincts. She knocks the groom unconscious, stabs Aaliayah's father to death with a kitchen knife, and makes a break for it on the beach. A firefight emerges, but she's safely extracted by the CIA.

The mission is a success, whatever that means. Immediately after reports of his death, the situation room is pissed off that "you have set Middle Eastern relations back 40 years." Director Byron is confused. "If you wanted him alive, you should have taken him off the list," he says. "Don't give me shit because we did our fucking job." Cruz, fresh off a traumatizing murder, is feeling the same way. "Look what you made of me," she tells Joe. "He was an old man, and I killed him in his fucking underwear." Joe tries to remind Cruz that she just eliminated "one of the worst fucking perpetrators of violence in the past 20 years" in the eyes of American intelligence. But Cruz isn't feeling like she just "saved lives." As she tells Joe, "All we changed was oil prices." Biting. Credits.

bassem youssef as amrohi and laysla de oliveira as cruz manuelos in special ops lioness, episode 8, season 1, streaming on paramount, 2023 photo credit luke varleyparamount
Paramount will have to find out if the final showdown brought enough of an audience to come back for more.Luke Varley/Paramount+ - Paramount

Any News on Season Two?

It's tough to think Cruz will be back for another mission after this. She's received the full picture of special ops, experiencing the ramifications of a violent war that never ends. Sure, there could be more missions, new recruits, and new morally gray victories where no one wins. From what we know of Sheridan's works so far, just continuing on for continuing's sake issn't exactly his style. This is likely the end of the road for most of these characters.

Here's another thing to consider: it's possible that Special Ops returns as something completely different. As fans may recall, Lioness received the "Special Ops" prefix shortly before its debut. Much like American Crime Story and Netflix's Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, the popular drama may only be an eight-episode limited series until it returns in anthology form. We could looking at a Season Two that still bears the Special Ops name, but tells another story entirely. We'll know for sure once Paramount gives Special Ops the green-light. With creator Taylor Sheridan's track record, I imagine it won't be too long.

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