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Prisoners Of War

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Just noticed that Hulu has this Israeli show.  Looks like first season was in 2010.

So far I've only watched the first two episodes of 10 episodes in the first season.

As some may be aware, this show was the inspiration for Homeland on Showtime.

The first episode really centers on the families.  There were 3 POWs, only 2 of them are alive after 17 years.  

The women are Talya, married to Nimrode, the older of the surviving POW and Nurit, who was the girlfriend, just 21 at the time Uri was taken prisoner.

The third woman is Yael, the brother of the POW who doesn't make it back.

Talya is similar to Jessica Brody in Homeland in that she has a teen daughter and son, with the older daughter also being named Dana, who was a toddler when Nimrode was captured and a young son who was born afterwards.

Nurit has married Yaki, Uri's brother and they have a son.  They are told that Uri, as well as Nimrode, were returning.  They are to meet them at the airport.

But the IDF tells Nurit and Yaki to NOT tell Uri that they'd married until they've had a chance to debrief both of the POWs.  So the first night they're back, Nurit has to carry on a charade and spend the night with him instead of her husband and son in their own home.


Nimrode wants to have sex with Talya that first night but he has a PTSD episode -- we see flashbacks of him being tortured by electric shock.  Talya is shocked by all the scars and wounds, signs of torture on his emaciated body.  He's only 120 pounds.  They try to sleep but Nimrode at some point lies down on the floor while Talya is on the bed.

Uri and Nurit don't try to have sex.  They lie together in bed and then she slips out to call Yaki.  She'd tried to tell Uri but couldn't and she feels guilty.  Uri eavesdrops on Nurit's phone call.  They we have  a flashback where Uri is treated nicely by captors, who allow him to get cleaned up and shaved, eat some decent food.  But they've left an Israeli magazine for him to discover where they show a big cover of Nurit -- apparently the families of the POWs had become celebrities in Israel -- with some headline about "cheating on the nation" apparently her marrying Yaki, betraying Uri who was considered a national hero.


Then they're taken to an IDF facility where they are interrogated for hours by Haim, a psychiatrist who has debriefed other POWs.  But they're being taped and spied on, with difference in information between Nimrode and Uri noted and investigated.  They listen in on Nimrode calling Talya.  When they sleep in the room, the IDF notice that both men have their eyes closed while lying in their respective beds but their hands are tapping furiously.

They are communicating in code with each other!



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Ok finished both seasons, all 24 episodes.

Hard to talk about the plot without spoiling.

I’m not really sure how this show inspired Homeland.  This show doesn’t really center on terrorism intrigue like Homeland, though nominally, the IDF had to be sure these POWs didn’t come back as double agents.

The show centers around the POWs and their families, how their lives are affected by the return.  Homeland tried to do that but Prisoners of War has a much deeper, nuanced depiction of all the personal dynamics.

First time Uri and Nimrode meet their families at the airport there’s a along awkward silence because they’re strangers to their families and vice versa.

All their loved ones, especially Yael the sister of Amiel The third POW who doesn’t return with the other two POWs have their lives upended by the capture. So Uri and Nimrode return to emotional landscapes which are pretty raw at times. 

The IDF psychiatrist detects that Uri and Nimrode are hiding something — they are.  So he assigns Iris to work undercover, gain Uri’s confidence.

Maybe she was the inspiration for Carrie Matheson?  But Iris is nothing like her and vice versa.

Overall plot is interesting and the second season drives it to a satisfying conclusion.

I would say this show attempts to balance a serious drama with an action plot to try to draw in a broader audience, though most of the action is in the second season and it’s not action heavy like Homeland became after the first 3 seasons.

Homeland tries to tap into the same deep emotional palette, maybe hits it in the early seasons a few times, enough for Clair Danes to put up her sour face a few times.  Then it seemed to turn into action show with Carrie herself assuming the role of the gun-wielding hero trying to save he day.



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