Gideon Rafa‘s new spy-thriller series The Spy offers a good real-life story of Agent 88 but fails to deliver anything outstanding.
Sacha Baron Cohen is known mainly for his work in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006). He plays the role of Eli Cohen as an Israeli agent called Kalem Amin- Thabaath. In six episodes, we come to know about how a local departmental store employee becomes an Israeli agent with proper training and how cleverly ticks everyone in Syria to meet the needs of his mission. Sometimes it becomes quite hard to predict the journey of a plot if the protagonist circumvents almost everything and tricks everyone but sadly this show falls in and out of this category again and again. It tries to stay but it fails to do so. Kalem cleverly befriends Amin Al- Hafeez, the rising Colonel of Syria, and almost everyone through his rich taste and convincing friendliness. As Maazi ( Nassim Si Ahmed) in the show tells Kalem “Everyone wants a part of you.” but we never see anyone trying to know the real Kalem, making the environment around him quite easy. I mean sure, the people suspect him but no one tries to find about his life in depth.
Eli’s wife Nadia (Hadar Ratzan Rotem) is struggling to manage her life with two kids alone. Dan Peleg, the employer of Eli is trying to take care of her as much as he can but certainly, it isn’t enough for her. The continuous struggle of both husband and wife is reminded to you in short periods but at some places looks like they are just there to fill the empty time slots of the episode. The show wants us to feel sadness as well as the sense of thrill both simultaneously like two-in-one ice cream but sadly if it tries to achieve one of them it fails miserably in providing the next one. Alexander Siddig as Sudani, the security adviser to the Colonel is pretty good but his constant interventions in the life of Kalem make him too easy to predict that he will play a crucial role in the end. Some uncanny twists, possibly only two nail-biting moments, witty interactions, make the show somehow reach the level of being a satisfying spy-thriller but the end is so anti-climactic that it just drowns the evolution of the show. The show’s plot is based on the real story, written in The Spy Who Came From Israel by Uri Dan and Yeshayahu Ben Porat but the show lacks the neat detailing as done in the book.
The cinematography looks accurate but the constant Nashville filter of the lens looks a bit absurd after some time. The show might try to make you feel many things but it never really achieves it in any way. The dialogues seems underwritten for all the characters. So you can watch this just for an average experience, otherwise, this show is probably a decade late. There is nothing to take from this series it just somehow becomes a good thriller in the middle. Probably would have worked better in 2009 or 2010.
FINAL VERDICT - 3 / 5.
Average, still can be counted as a one-time watch.