Fauda is an Israeli TV series highlighting the tension, complexity, and personal loss wrapped up in the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. It’s also one of the best foreign TV series currently on Netflix. Told from both sides, it follows Israeli agents searching for “the Panther,” a Hamas agent once thought to be dead.
Doron Kavillio (Lior Raz) has retired from an Israeli undercover unit, but is lured back by his boss, Moreno (Yuval Segal), for a single, brief operation. Discontent as a civilian, Doron, of course, becomes an active member of the force again as they track the terrorist Doron thought he had killed two years ago.
The first few minutes of Fauda, episode one, set this up, but we soon jump into action. The tension and suspense as we follow agents infiltrating a Palestinian family’s celebration – where we are not quite sure yet who is who – mirrors the uncertainty and distrust those in these actual situations must feel.
Once events are set in motion, Fauda leaves us little time to relax. The series is not nonstop action, but each scene is important, and the episodes are compact.
The characters on both sides of Fauda are likeable. We naturally pull for Doron and his colleagues, but what is the cost if they succeed? The series empathizes with the Palestinians when there is tragedy in the middle of a wedding. We see the Panther’s family and helpers as people caught in a difficult situation. Despite strong family ties and deep faith, each side seeks revenge for every death or act of terror. There are also moments when the gap is bridged and acts of compassion or just normal interaction occur.
For most viewers, the Fauda TV series is a big cultural shift. It’s worth noting that fauda is an Arabic word for chaos. It takes an episode or two to find our footing in this new terrain. We hear about the Middle East but have little direct experience there. It is portrayed in other series, such as Homeland, but this is the most realistic version of this type of conflict we have seen on TV.
Fauda was created and written by Lior Raz (yes, the one that plays Doron) and Avi Issacharoff. They both used to be members of a special operations unit with the Israeli Defence Forces. That obviously accounts for the realism in the series. It was filmed in an Israeli Arab city near the Green Line, which separates Israel and the West Bank.
The twelve episodes of season 1, each about 40 minutes, first aired on the Yes Oh television network beginning February, 2015. There will be a Fauda season 2, but dates have not been announced. If you are a fan of political thrillers with action, suspense, and undercover operations, we strongly recommend Fauda on Netflix.
The Israeli trailer for Fauda TV series