Ömer Uçar is an idealistic young man with a full life ahead of him. Fresh out of military service, he returns to his family and friends in Istanbul in high spirits, with plans to propose to his beloved, Eyşan. His happiness is cut short when he is framed for a robbery-gone-wrong that results in the death of a security guard — a job carried out by none other than his best friends, Cengiz and Ali, and new fiancée Eyşan. His fate sealed by planted evidence and Eyşan's false testimony, Ömer is sentenced to life in prison.
During his imprisonment, Ömer is taken under the wing of Ramiz Karaeski, a powerful ex-kingpin who tutors him on a diversity of subjects. Under the guidance of his new mentor, Ömer slowly pieces together the circumstances behind his arrest and begins to plot revenge against his former friends. When a riot engulfs the prison, Ramiz takes advantage of the chaos by helping Ömer fake his death, allowing him to escape under a new identity. With this new chapter, Ramiz must bid farewell to his charge, but not before providing him the keys to an exorbiant fortune.
Twelve years after his arrest, Ömer re-enters the lives of his former friends as the wealthy Ezel Bayraktar, a handsome, sophisticated stranger with a past shrouded in mystery. In the meantime, Cengiz has married Eyşan and risen as a powerful casino magnate, building his fortune upon the crime for which Ömer was framed, while Ali serves as his right-hand man and head of security. Ingratiating himself as an enterprising high roller, Ezel sets in motion an elaborate plan to pitilessly exact revenge against those who wronged him.
However, exacting the perfect revenge is harder than it seems. Ezel struggles deeply with abandoning his old identity and is confronted with the moral repercussions of his actions, which hurt innocent people caught in the crossfire.
Now has a Character Sheet in progress; character-specific tropes should be listed there.
Ezel features examples of:
- Afterlife Express: The penultimate scene shows Ezel and the mortally-wounded Eyşan seated on a train. After Eyşan dies and Ezel appears to take his own life, the camera pans to reveal the other passengers: Kamil, Mert, Tevfik, Ramiz, and finally, a smiling Bahar.
- Batman Gambit: Several of Ezel's ploys are based upon exploiting the desires, weaknesses, secrets and insecurities of his targets and counting on them to do exactly what he expects them to do.
- Children Forced to Kill: This appears to be the purpose of so-called House of Seasons, the mysterious entity that adopted orphans and gave them new identities, ultimately shaping them into future guns-for-hire.
- Dead Guy Junior: Ali and Azad name their son after their fallen friend Tevfik, who died not only the day before, but in the exact spot his namesake was born.
- Distress Ball: Ordinarily one of the most sensible characters in the series, Azad takes the ball and runs with it in the season two's "Lives Unlived"tr , where she insists on meeting Bade in person over an issue that (while concerning) doesn't exactly require immediate action. Despite her status as a high-value target, she leaves the safehouse and is subsequently captured by Kenan to be used as leverage against her father.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kenan's musings on waiting for years to enjoy a fine wine looks and sounds a lot like he's imagining his long-awaited revenge on his former friend Ramiz. The implication is not lost on Eyşan, who grows increasingly uncomfortable throughout his dinnertime "demonstration".Kenan: [Wine] changes through the years. It changes so much, sometimes it's difficult to recognize. You want to drink everything at once, but sometimes you must wait thirty years... When the time comes, you must remove ít's head [pops cork], like a human's head, without holding back. Then like blood it pours, unwavering, into the glass...
- Former Friends Photo: The series opens with Ezel gazing at a photo of Ömer and his friends laughing together after his return from military service. Taken in better days, the photograph leads into the introductions for Ali, Cengiz, and Eyşan, now targets of Ezel's long-awaited vengeance.
- Give the Baby a Father: One of the reasons Eyşan marries Cengiz is to give her unborn child — actually Ömer's son — a father. As it's early on in her pregnancy, she is able to keep his true parentage a secret for many years.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion:
- Discussed by Bade and Azad after the latter reveals she is pregnant. Bade is aghast and upset to learn her friend is contemplating abortion, saying it would be terrible to kill a living soul who has no one but its mother. Azad asks whether it would be right to keep the child, only to give it a life of loneliness and instability — an experience that describes her own youth.
- Azad ultimately subverts the trope. She has no moral qualms regarding abortion; instead, her inner conflict comes from the tension between what she wants (having a baby) and reality (whether she is able to give her child the life he or she deserves). It is only when she has promise of support and stability that she finally shelves the abortion option.
- Groin Attack:
- Azad gives Ezel a well-placed kick to the nuts in one of her first scenes. To be fair, she was essentially being held hostage by his companions at the time.
- Ali shoots Temmuz in the genitals during their final confrontation. He lets him writhe in pain before delivering the Coup de Grâce.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Cengiz is ordered to beat a man to death to prove his commitment to Kenan. The gruesome results aren't shown onscreen, but the man's cries for mercy and Cengiz's blood-splattered face are suggestive enough for the viewer.
- Inspiration Nod:
- The name of Cengiz's company that wins the hotel bid? Dantes Holding.
- Dantes is referenced again in season two with Dantes Ateşleyiciler (Igniters), the fireworks company through which Ali and Ezel infiltrate Kenan and Eyşan's wedding.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: In a rather depraved example, Cengiz and Temmuz plot to circumvent the temporary truce between Ramiz and Kenan by exploiting a loophole: they can't kill a person, but no one said anything about foetuses. Temmuz takes the pregnant Azad hostage in a supermarket while taunting a frantic Ali over the telephone; what he specifically does to her isn't shown, but it's enough to make her bleed. Fortunately her baby survives the encounter, but she is understandably shaken by the incident and hospitalized afterward.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Ömer's face is repeatedly slashed by a sadistic warden during the prison riot in which he "died", requiring major reconstructive surgery. The process aids his transformation into Ezel.
- Morning Sickness: The first sign Azad is pregnant comes when she runs upstairs to vomit during breakfast with Ali, who rather obliviously assumes she thinks he's a awful cook.Ali: Azad, were the eggs really that bad!?
- Murder by Mistake: Serdar is ordered to kill the troublesome Ezel and make it look like an accident. A combination of low visibility, sleep deprivation, and intoxication leads Serdar to kill the wrong target, Ezel's brother Mert.
- No Honor Among Thieves: The only thing keeps Cengiz, Ali, Eyşan, and Serdar from turning on one another at times is the understanding that doing so will likely illuminate their own misdeeds and involvement in the robbery. It isn't enough to stop them from successfully extorting each other for favors, however.
- Pet the Dog: In a rare moment of complete selflessness, Kenan decides to leave his daughter Damla in peace after meeting her for the first time. Seeing that she is happy, successful, and loved, he ultimately chooses not to reveal his identity, which would doubtlessly bring her grief.
- Removing the Rival: Jealousy motivates Cengiz to betray Ömer, whom he views as an obstacle to Eyşan's affections. The money certainly didn't hurt either.
- Sickbed Slaying:
- Serdar kills Eyşan's cancer-ridden aunt by administering an overdose, fearing what she might tell Meliha.
- Cengiz tries using a Vorpal Pillow to finish Eyşan for good while she lies unconscious in the hospital. However, he hesitates too long and is forced to leave before Ezel arrives.
- Stay with Me Until I Die: Eyşan's final request as she lays dying is for Ezel is to remain by her side.
- Unusual Euphemism: When seeking to recruit Eren as a protégé, Ali describes himself a "surgeon"... specifically, the kind whose patients have a low survival rate.
- Temporal Theme Naming: The children adopted by the House of Seasons are given new names, all themed after the months of the year.Ali: All these fucking bastards named after months...
- Wedding Smashers:
- In a flashback, an infuriated Ramiz interrupts Kenan and Selma's wedding after learning Kenan raped Selma, essentially forcing her to marry him. The confrontation results in a gunfight that seriously wounds Ramiz, and ends in a Sadistic Choice that leaves Kenan's brother dead; Kenan himself is grievously wounded by Selma, who stabs him in the abdomen with a shard of glass during the encounter. The incident and its pretext sets their decades-long Cycle of Revenge between the two men into motion.
- In the aptly-named "A Wedding and a Funeral"tr , gunmen led by Temmuz storm the wedding of Azad and Ali and kill several guests, including Azad's mother Selma.
- Downplayed in the episode "A Perfect Murder"tr : Ezel, Ali, and Cengiz sabotage Eyşan and Kenan's wedding, with the bride playing a key role in her new husband's downfall. While a disastrously shocking occasion, only Kenan is left dead at the end of the evening.
- Widowed at the Wedding: Eyşan legally marries Kenan in a lavish public ceremony before dropping the façade, naming his misdeeds in front of their wedding guests and charging him with Bahar's murder. Abandoned at the altar, he retreats into his private office humiliated, where Ali pays him a surprise visit. He dies in an apparent suicide, leaving his "new bride" with a massive fortune.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Temmuz calmly instructs a unnamed henchwoman to kill Chucky after he kills Tevfik, as he has "served his purpose". The order is particularly shocking as Chucky was set up as an expected Morality Pet — not to mention he's no older than twelve at the very most.