Apple TV+’s latest espionage thriller gets off to quite the tense start. With an uneasy atmosphere clinging to every facet of this production, Apple’s acquisition of KAN 11’s Israeli series is a smart one. It not only shows the ambition of this juggernaut company in following Netflix’s International reach, it’s one that – so far at least – gets off to a flying start.
Episode 1 of Tehran begins in Amman Jordan as Flight 159 departs to New Delhi. A young woman dressed in a Niqāb boards a plane. As we find out later in the episode, here name is Tamar and she’s working with Mossad.
A man sits next to her and promises that everything will be okay. Only, two people – Shira and Yoni – board the plane and clearly stand out for the wrong reasons. As they sit and take a selfie together, the plane takes off.
Unfortunately they hit turbulence which happens to be a malfunctioning engine. The pilot confirms the group are touching down at Tehran before continuing on to India. Only, this isn’t going to pose well for Yoni and Shira given they’re Israelis.
Fearing for their lives, the plane touches down and the pair are forced to leave the airplane. As they head out the plane, Shira and Yoni are forced to hand over their passports and follow security through the busy terminal.
On the way, Shira throws up before being allowed into the bathroom momentarily. There, she notices one of the women in the bathroom – Tamar – whom she recognizes from a previous work gig. She’s changed clothes with a flight attendant called Zhila. Adopting the Niqāb, she sits with the man posing as her husband, Milad.
He asks for the codes but she doesn’t know them. Nor will she know until 6pm that night. At Mossad Headquarters the group receive a call from Tehran airport. Milad phones reiterates what he’s just been told meaning they’ve got 4 hours until the codes are handed over.
Yoni and Shira meanwhile are taken into the interrogation room and where Shira is forced to put a head scarf on. While they await their fate, Tamar leaves the airport dressed as a pilot.
She writes a message on her phone confirming that 2 Israeli’s have been detained at the airport. News of this reaches a man named Faraz who busies himself with the next steps. He shows up at the airport and separates the two, speaking to Shira alone.
He asks about Tamar and the incident inside the bathroom. After a brief slap across the face, Shira admits they served together on the base but she was in charge of soldier welfare. This means she isn’t entirely sure what the nature of Tamar’s job was.
Faraz phones his superior who tells him to let the woman go. They don’t want an International situation right now but Faraz is persistent, determined to get to the bottom of what this means. He asks to see the CCTV footage for the women’s restroom.
When Tamar arrives at her destination, Zhila’s husband anxiously asks how Zhila is getting on. Tamar confirms everything has gone well as Tamar rings Mossad and finds out about the codes. One of her contacts is an Iranian hacker who may be able to help. Heading online, she manages to convince him to crack the codes.
Not long after, Tamar stands in front of the mirror and starts applying make-up. She’s determined to look like Zhila but it may be too late for her. Faraz is closing in.
This wily security agent checks the CCTV footage and realizes that Tamar and Zhila have switched.
Meanwhile, Mossad learn that their agent is in position as Tamar infiltrates Zhila’s work. She hacks into the main console and asks her hacker for the codes. Eventually she cracks it and starts hacking the system. Only, she’s not alone.
The connection s severed midway through as a man approaches her and starts chasing Tamar through the building. He tries forcing himself on her but she’s too strong and knocks him out. Unfortunately when he hits the ground he starts bleeding out as a figure approaches from afar.
The Episode Review
Tense, intriguing and really well written, this espionage thriller gets off to a great start. From the opening minute this one keeps you guessing and certainly leaves a lot of questions on the table.
The characters are engaging and the show leaves the door wide open for what could be coming our way next.
Acquiring foreign IPs may actually be a great shout for Apple TV in a bid to bolster out their content. If I’m honest, the interface for this streaming platform is still one of the worst out there. It’s rivaled only by Now TV which is truly woeful.
For now though, this series gets off to a promising start.