“Once you’re in, there’s no way out,” goes the slogan of the Israeli-American co-production “Tehran.” Never has a truer word been written for the spy thriller’s biting eight-episode first season, which concluded in July 2020. And now fans of the show are on edge again. from their seat on the eve of its second season premiering this Friday, May 6 on Apple TV Plus. Will ‘Tehran’ Season 2 Infiltrate the 2022 Emmys?
Believe me, this show hooks you from the moment a commercial plane flying from Jordan to India is forced to make an emergency landing in Iran, kicking off a series of events in which undercover agents of the Mossad are desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Agents of the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) hunt them down. This is not your ordinary spy thriller. Think “24” or “Homeland,” but on steroids.
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“Tehran” was created by Moshe Zonder, Dana Eden and Maor Kohnwith all the episodes directed by Daniel Syrkin and co-written by Zonder and Omri Shenhar. It stars the Israeli actress Level Sultan as Tamar Rabinyan, a Mossad agent and hacker who goes deep undercover to infiltrate the Iranian capital under a false identity, with the goal of destroying its nuclear reactor. When her mission fails and she’s trapped in a new life undercover as an Iranian expat, she leads an operation that puts herself and her loved ones in danger.
The first season aired on Israel’s Kan 11 TV network and Apple TV+ internationally to critical acclaim and strong word-of-mouth, earning an impressive 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, acclaiming the “skillfully plotted twists” of the show. [which] yet another elevating geopolitical thriller deftly balanced between the global and the personal. Filmed on location in Athens, Greece (as a stand-in for the titular Most Perilous City), “Tehran” was a huge hit at home and abroad, with Sultan taking home Best Drama Actress honors. Israeli Television Academy and the show winning the prestigious Outstanding Drama Series award at the international Emmys last year. Building on that success, Apple became the show’s co-producer for Season 2, meaning its second season will be eligible for Emmys in the United States this year.
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Alongside Sultan last season were Iranian-American actors Shaun Toub and David Negahban, best known to American audiences for his work on Showtime’s “Homeland.” Toub reprises his role as the tenacious and cunning IRGC agent Faraz Kamali in Season 2, as he continues to relentlessly pursue Tamar in a gripping game of cat and mouse. And in a serious casting swoop for the spy thriller, Glenn Close — yes, the eight-time Oscar nominee and three-time Emmy winner (out of a staggering 14 nominations) — joins the cast this year. The veteran actress is the mysterious Marjan Montazeri, who plays a major role in Tamar’s quest in Season 2 to bring down the most powerful man in Iran’s military.
Time will tell if Apple TV+ can turn the show’s popularity into an Emmy hit. If enough TV academy voters see it, “Tehran” could surprise not just in Best Drama Series, but potentially Sultan and Toub, or any number of Emmys Creative Arts categories. However, her best chance may be for Close to claim her 15th career nomination if she manages to qualify for the competitive race for best actress in a dramatic supporting role.
You heard it here the first time. Come for the high-stakes drama, gripping plot, and ever-changing allegiances. Stay for Clever Production Values, Israeli Composer Mark Eliyahufrom the thrilling electronic score of the Middle East, the writing of Zonder and Shenhar and the impressive performances of its cast led by Sultan, Toub and Close. You will not regret it.
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