HOSTAGES

by evseymour

Like a spoilt kid, I whined last week ‘what the heck am I going to watch next?’ Remember, this was after I’d been glued to a number of dramas that had floated my proverbial boat. Sure enough, suggestions for alternative viewing poured in – special thanks to Oliver Goom.

Meanwhile, I checked out BBC 4, always a reliable source for high-class drama, and was delighted to stumble across ‘Hostages’, ‘Bnei Aruba’, an Israeli version of the US drama previously aired in 2013 by CBS. It’s a simple enough premise: a surgeon, due to operate on the Prime Minister, is told to kill him if she wants to save her family from certain death. The surgeon, Dr Yael Danon played by Ayelet Zurer, ingeniously tests herself to the limit as she seeks to find a way to protect her family while also protecting the life of the PM.

In a small cast strong characterisation is vital and Hostages doesn’t disappoint. There are some phenomenal performances, not least of all by Jonah Lotan, who plays Adam Rubin, chief hostage-taker. Make no mistake, this is no mindless thug, and do I imagine a flicker of romantic interest between abducted and abductor, along the lines of Stockholm syndrome? Or is the super smart surgeon simply manipulating the man who has the power of life and death over her and her family? And what a family! Dad is a headmaster with heavy-duty financial problems; seventeen year-old daughter is pregnant, and fifteen year-old son, a picture of strutting teen arrogance, hacks Daddy’s email account in order to sell exam papers.

Lotan, as Rubin, treads a fine line between credibly menacing and compassionate. One gets the impression that he has been wronged somewhere along the line and this explains why a good guy takes such extreme measures. Naturally, the gang has a resident psycho in tow, only tamed by a female hostage-taker who is more glacial than the Snow Queen. With a plot that twists and turns so that you are never quite sure who is pulling the strings, it’s a treat.

Flip back to 18th Century Cornwall and a remake of Poldark. I admit I was a bit flaky about the prospect but, having seen the trailer, and decided that Aidan Turner is a magic piece of casting, I tuned in on Sunday night.   Yup, I really enjoyed it. Again, strong script and acting prevails, and I’m looking forward to the next episode. So all is well in my world…

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