Tehran is a 2020 Israeli drama series created by Moshe Zonder, who wrote for Fauda, for the Israeli channel Kan 11. Apple TV+ is responsible for streaming the show online outside of Israel on May 6, 2022. Cineflix is in charge of distribution rights. Niv Sultan is the leading star with a cast of actors/actresses of Israeli and Iranian heritage. Because of historical and current tensions and lack of diplomatic relations between Iran and Israel, the show is produced in Athens, Greece.
Tamar Rabinyan, an Israeli of Iranian heritage, is sent on a black op mission to Tehran to lead Mossad efforts in disabling Iranian anti-aircraft defenses near an Iranian nuclear reactor so that the Israeli Air Force can take it out in an airstrike without any civilian casualties/lost planes.
However, things go wrong after she changes places with a local electric company employee named Zhila Gorbanifar. Her boss thinks that Tamar is Zhila and tries to rape her, only to be killed in self-defense. Tamar is forced to hide from the notorious Iranian Revolutionary Guards led by Faraz Kamali while she encounters and makes friends with pro-democracy activists in Iran.
In February 2023, it was announced that Tehran will have a third season. The second season was released May 6th, 2023.
The official Hebrew website is here.
The series contains examples of:
- Accidental Murder: Tamar, when disguised as Zhila, fends off her (Zhila's) boss during a rape attempt, accidentally killing him.
- Attempted Rape: Zhila's boss attempts to rape Tamar (who's disguised as her). It ends poorly for him.
- Badass Israeli:
- All of the Mossad agents are highly competent, skilled agents, including the protagonist Tamar.
- Averted with the two Israeli tourists in the first episode, who are clearly scared out of their mind to even be in Iran.
- Bittersweet Ending: The second season ends with Qasem taken out by Tamar. However, Milad's killed in a rigged sedan while he and Tamar try to escape Iran.
- Casting Gag: Shaun Toub plays Faraz Kamali, a servant of Iran's Islamic regime who is the antagonist to Tamar, an Israeli Jew of Iranian descent. Toub is himself of Iranian Jewish descent, and left Iran like most did (including Tamar's family).
- Dirty Cop: A couple Iranian cops are bribed to let a car's passengers go without searching them.
- Fake Kill Scare: Faraz torments Masoud by seeming like he's about to shoot him, only it's empty.
- Hope Spot: Arezoo gets to have a meeting with her daughter, who assumes this is because Qasem Mohammadi is going to pardon her and her husband for helping out Tamar in the previous season. Qasem instead has Arezoo and Dariush executed
- I Have Your Wife: Faraz frequently threatens people's relatives who he has in custody or can get to for cooperation from them. Later he suffers this himself when his wife is kidnapped by Mossad, and then inflicts it on Tamar to get her back by kidnapping her father.
- Missing Mom: Tamar's mother died of cancer, and it was a slow, painful death.
- Myth Arc: Season 2 starts when Tamar is given orders to oversee the rescue of an Israeli Air Force pilot who was shot down over Iranian soil.
- Oh, Crap!: The Israeli couple flying from India to Jordan in "Emergency Landing in Tehran" when they find out that they've made a landing in Iran. They are rightfully worried as Iran and Israel haven't had diplomatic relations since 1979. After Faraz was able to get a transcript of the couple translated to Persian from Hebrew (thanks to a hidden camera) to get a lead on Tamar's presence, he's ordered to let them go due to Tehran's fears of creating an international incident since two Israelis detained in Tehran, even with no ambassadors, is not a good thing.
- Prisoner Exchange: Mossad arranges to have one for Masoud by kidnapping Faraz's wife. However, it falls apart.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Mossad's operation to disable Iranian anti-aircraft defenses for a potential Israeli air strike is (likely) inspired by the Israeli Air Force's air strike operation when they bombed the incomplete Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.
- Secret Test of Character: Milad's drug dealer friends test Tamar by having a couple pretend they're undercover cops. She passes by not ratting anyone out when "arrested" and fighting them off.
- Spotting the Thread: Kamali was seen reviewing surveillance tapes of the women's restroom and noted that the Jordanian Airline stewardess (who happens to be Zhila) uses her right hand. He finds out that the switch was made since Tamar was seen in the stewardess uniform using her left hand.
- The Theocracy: Iran is one, and it overshadows much of social life there, with Iranian dissidents against religious restrictions imposed upon them which the Islamic Revolutionary Guards enforce. Many of the Iranian expats make it clear it's what they hate about Iran, while loving the country itself (and the people).
- Title Drop:
- "Betty" is not the name of a person. It's one of the sports cars Qasem worked on and gave to Peyman for him to use.
- Wham Episode:
- "Five Hours Until the Bombing Run" ends with Yael being killed by Faraz after he storms a Mossad safehouse by himself. The Israeli Air Force has done their bombing run, but Yael's work with Iranian intelligence enabled them to nab a downed IAF pilot.
- "13000" has the IAF pilot in Iran safely rescued, but the four Iranians who are supposedly responsible for helping Mossad teams in Tehran were executed by hanging.note
- "Faraz's Choice" has Faraz accidentally touch the poisoned tennis racket meant for Peyman. His health begins to go downhill to the point that he kept certain things such as being poisoned from Ali that he's being treated as a suspect. Worse... Faraz tries to get the pistol from Ali and the latter dies in the struggle. And the worse thing is that Mossad never considered a scenario where they needed to target him directly.
- "Betty" has Faraz turned to work alongside Mossad. Also, Milad tries to hack the brakes on Peyman's car when he races with his father. However, the ending implies that he didn't time the brake jam right that Peyman crashed and flipped after the car was smashed on the brick barrier of a highway.
- Would Hit a Girl: Faraz shows no compunction at hitting women in his custody, and the Basij men don't spare Tamar either.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Tamar's father expresses his sorrow over having had to leave Iran, his home country, for Israel after antisemitism increased following the Iranian Revolution (Tamar was born an Israeli). He doesn't blame the Iranians generally though, saying they are kind and generous, blaming it on the ruling Islamists. It's poignant and very sad to see just how much he missed Iran, keeping a photo album which holds pictures from his life there. Other Jewish Iranian expats express similar sentiments.