With The Blacklist, NBC bet heavily on James Spader’s ability to captivate an audience while elevating a story about international intrigue. It was a show that very well could’ve wilted with the wrong leading man.

With Crossbones, the network is making a similar gamble with another star on a show that looks like it may be more expensive with potentially less broad appeal, but after viewing the first trailer for NBC’s upcoming pirate adventure drama, it looks like series star John Malkovich will have a fair amount of help.

Richard Coyle, a UK actor who has dabbled on this side of the pond, is best known for his work in Grabbers and for his electric turn in the Pusher remake. With Crossbones, he has a chance to really shine opposite Malkovich’s Blackbeard, taking part in a chess match while playing a supposed physician who, according to NBC’s synopsis, poses a real risk to the pirate king’s dominion.

Check out the synopsis below:

It’s 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Part shantytown, part marauder’s paradise, this is a place like no other on earth – and a mounting threat to international commerce.

To gain control of this fearsome society, Tom Lowe, a highly skilled undercover assassin, is sent to the pirates’ haven to take down the brilliant and charismatic Blackbeard. But the closer Lowe gets, the more he finds that his quest is not so simple. Lowe can’t help but admire the political ideals of Blackbeard, whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds – and no law. But Lowe is not the only danger to Blackbeard’s rule. He is a man with many villainous rivals and one great weakness – a passionately driven woman whom he cannot deny.

Written by Luther creator and occasional Doctor Who scribe Neil Cross, Crossbones will occupy the 10pm timeslot that currently belongs to Hannibal when it premieres at the end of next month.

That timeslot and the show’s place on the network’s summer schedule don’t inspire faith, but those old ideas are starting to fade after the success that CBS found last summer with Under the Dome.

Will NBC be that lucky? We’ll have to see more than a trailer to form a solid opinion, but right now, Crossbones looks like an epic and fun summer series that might have more going for it than its intriguing star.

Crossbones premieres May 30th, 2014 @10pm on NBC.