Based on the bestselling novel by Alice Hoffman and executive-produced by Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, the four-hour event is about four women whose lives intersect during the Siege of Masada in 70 A.D. The former NCIS star plays Shirah, a sensual, mysterious and fiercely independent single mother accused of practicing witchcraft.
"Here we are in the worst of times and we realize life goes on," Downey says. "There were awful things happening in these peoples' lives, but love can conquer, courage can conquer fear and the power of survival can conquer the power of war."
Watch our video to see the two gush about the project -- and why they think it's so hot!
The Dovekeepers will air Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1 on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)