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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tehran is an Israeli spy thriller set in the contemporary proxy war between Israel and Iran. It has lots of violence that ranges from imagery of bloody wounds and corpses to people being hanged. Individuals are also shown being slapped and beaten. There is some sexual content as well, including references to sex work, as well as some cursing, drinking, cigarette smoking, and drug use. Despite all of this, it also challenges many of the stereotypes used to characterize Iranians living in the country. The series is in English, Hebrew, and Farsi, and includes English subtitles.
Phenomenal show, but adults only
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What's the Story?
TEHRAN is a Israeli spy thriller set in the Israeli-Iran Cold War. Tamar Rabinyan (Liv Sultan) was born in Iran, but fled to Israel with her family as a child. Now a Mossad operative, she is back in the country on an undercover mission, and is tasked with infiltrating the city's electrical grid to facilitate the Israeli air bombing of a nuclear reactor. When the mission is compromised, Tamar must go into hiding and find a way to escape the country safely. She disengages from her superiors, including her commanding officer Yael Kadosh (Liraz Charhi), and Israeli operatives on the ground, like Masoud Tabrizi (David Negahban). Turning to a local aunt (played by Esti Yerushalmi), and relying on her computer hacking skills to connect with young anti-regimists like Milad (Shervin Alenabi), she is still committed to helping her government while looking for a way out of Iran. But Tamar is being hunted by Faraz Kamali (Shaun Toub), the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, making every move a dangerous one.
Is It Any Good?
This binge-worthy espionage series features a cat-and-mouse game fueled by the ongoing tensions between Israel and Iran. It paints the Iranian government as a brutal, anti-Israeli regime, and the Israelis, through the Mossad, as its equally ruthless opponent. The plot embodies the traditional political narratives associated with these conflicting entities. But it grows more complex with every episode, thanks to its cast of multifaceted characters that are pitiless and unsparing while on their individual missions, and emotionally vulnerable in their personal lives.
Tamar Rabinyan is one of the many strong women, both Israeli and Iranian, featured throughout the series. Nonetheless, it is her Iranian-Israeli background, her youth, and her very human mistakes, that make her interesting. Adding to this is that Tehran moves away from traditional stereotypes about Iran, and highlights the range of different, and often complicated, feelings the Iranian people have about their government. The result is a story that is both compelling and entertaining, and that has international appeal.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the ongoing cold war between Israel and Iran. Why is it called a "proxy war"? What is fueling this conflict? How long has it been going on? How do you find out about what's going on in the world? What sources do you use?
Tehran makes clear distinctions between Iran's government and its people. Why? How does this challenge the cultural and gender stereotypes often used to characterize Iranians and others living in the Middle East in Western media?
- Premiere date: September 25, 2020
- Cast: Niv Sultan, Shaun Toub, Liraz Charhi
- Network: Apple TV+
- Genre: Action
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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