A sense of rush and tense climactic scenes is just a small picture of what to expect from Tehran, a miniseries that made its debut on AppleTV a month ago taking viewers deep into a story about the clash between Mossad agents and intelligence agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Tehran is an Israeli espionage drama-thriller about the Israeli-Iranian series. It was created by Netflix’s Fauda creator Moshe Zonder for Israeli T.V Kan 11. It runs for 8 episodes with 45 minutes each on average and was created in three languages that are English, Farsi and Hebrew.
Before we go any further, this article may include spoilers for those who have not watched the series.
The miniseries takes the viewer through the life of a female Israeli spy, Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), born in Iran but left at a tender age together with most of her family in search of a better life. The spy re-enters Iran in a swap at the Airport with another Iranian woman collaborator.
After taking the collaborator’s position, the spy is poised to take her work position at the electricity company so that she can cut electric power to the Iranian radar system, giving Israel tactical ability to neutralize the Iranian nuclear program by launching an airstrike onto it while the radars are blind.
Amidst her mission of trying to achieve her goals, an unforeseen obstacle occurs in the form of the collaborator’s former who was also her abuser. The scuffle between the spy and the boss (who thought the spy was the employee he used to abuse) resulted in the boss’ death and an incomplete mission. This prompts her into hiding and looking for other alternatives to complete her mission as the Iranian Intelligence steps up their pursuit of finding her.
Tehran takes the viewer through the life of a female Israeli spy born in Iran who does everything in her power to complete her mission
Throughout her wanderings in Tehran, the Israeli spy comes into contact with many including family members who had stayed in Iran and anti-regime protest groups. She helped the anti-regime protesters in some ways as she was luring them into helping them finish up the mission in Tehran.
But just like any other movie outlaw, wherever she went, trouble moved along with her, there were arrests, kidnaps, and deaths associated with her and from both sides, the Iranians and Israelis.
The Israelis managed to force through their mission but at the end, the series takes an amazing turn which leaves a brilliant cliffhanger in case the production team thinks of a follow-up season two.
Tehran was warmly welcomed by Israeli audience since it is in Hebrew and – portrays Zionist superiority against their long time Persian nemesis. It also attracted a big number of audience in Iran because of the Farsi language and subtitles provided where the other two languages were used.
However, this does not bar it from negative criticism like for example, the Arabic music in the series. How could the Israeli producers of the TV show underlook the fact that Iranians are not Arabs? Or maybe they did not expect a big audience in Iran but rather from other countries in the Arabian World.
Tehran also portrays Iranian agents in a very different way opposite to the way world media does. Iranian agents are portrayed as mere Nationalists working to protect the interests of their nation and also protect it from foreign invasion but in reality, to achieve their goal, they violate a vast number of human rights to achieve their mission even if it is just a rumour.
There’s also the matter of how the anti‑regime people are displayed very superficially and falsely, making them look so weak and always ready to betray their own country at the slightest smell of trouble.
In Tehran, Faraz Kamali, the head of the Intelligence group pursuing Tamar has a very good command of the English language with even a Western accent, while his wife is also a linguist herself whom not only ironically asks the Mossad chief to sing her a song but also, in turn, sings to him an old Persian song that was banned by the regime.
The show also goes an extra mile to try and portray the anti-regime protesters as first-degree lawbreakers, who throughout the series are shown abusing and selling drugs, carrying out unethical hacking, homosexuality, engaging in corruption, violence among others, activities which are portrayed by many as illegal or morally wrong. But we all know Iranian protesters are better than that.
The miniseries also stars an ensemble cast including the likes of Shaun Toub (The Sopranos, Castle, NCIS, Chuck, Lost), Menashe Noy (Big Bad Wolves), Shervin Alenabi (Gangs of London and Skins), Navid Negahban (Aladdin, 12 Strong, Homeland, American Sniper), Liraz Charhi, and Shila Ommi.
Lastly, the series shows a glimpse into how the Israeli Mossad operate, they honour their missions more than the mission enablers and collaborators. This is clearly showcased in the series whereby the Israelis are only loyal to the mission, nothing more, nothing less!!
Despite its faults in a number of areas, Tehran isn’t that bad of a series, and I recommend anyone who loves spy centred action dramas that leaving you wondering what’s going to happen next.
Created by: David Guggenheim
Studio: Moshe Zonder, Dana Eden, Maor Kohn
Cast: Niv Sultan, Shaun Toub, Navid Negahban, Liraz Charhi, Menashe Noy, Shervin Alenabi
Genre: Serial drama; Espionage thriller
Release Dates: June 22, 2020, 8 episodes
Newslibre Rating: 6/10
Author: Katende Basajjabaka
Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.