The third season of ‘Fauda’ goes to Gaza

While the first two seasons have followed the Israeli counter-terrorism unit in action in the West Bank, the new season has a new setting – Gaza.

The cast of 'Fauda'  (photo credit: RAFI DELOYA)
The cast of 'Fauda'
(photo credit: RAFI DELOYA)
Fear and tears. That’s what Fauda’s co-creator and leading actor Lior Raz says audiences should brace themselves for in the show’s third season, which promises to have even more action than the first two.
Raz worked with veteran journalist Avi Issacharoff to create and write Fauda. The two (along with the rest of the cast and crew,)
hosted reporters last week for an inside look at the new season of the hit Yes series that has become an international sensation on Netflix. While the first two seasons have followed the Israeli counter-terrorism unit in action in the West Bank, the new season has a new setting – Gaza.
Raz, who plays the show’s lead character, Doron Kavillio, says that the show has gained worldwide acclaim for its compelling storyline which shows multidimensional sides of Israelis and Palestinians, and that he and Issacharoff aren’t blind to the fact that they have a significant role in portraying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“When we are writing... we are not trying to influence people in the world,” Raz said. “We are trying to talk about our small country and the problems here. But we know that people watching the show outside of Israel are understanding our situation we are living in much better because of it and I think it’s a blessing for us and for Israel as well.”
Though both writers acknowledged they have taken flack over the show’s portrayal of Palestinian society, there has been plenty of positive feedback, even in the Arab world. Raz says he was flooded with compliments from viewers who spotted him in Abu Dubai while he was recently there working on a movie.
Issacharoff explained that Fauda became a hit because it targeted the Israeli audience before a universal one.
“I think that it’s a very local TV show that happened to do very successfully abroad,” he said. “That’s one of the secrets. Meaning, if you want to succeed, you cannot focus on the global audience. You have to focus on the local one, and that might bring us more success in the future.”
Issacharoff writes from experience – capturing the essence of people he’d met with during his time working as a reporter focusing on the conflict. He says characters are based off of people he’s met in the Palestinian arena including terrorists, prisoners, Hamas officials, and the Palestinian Authority. He calls all of those details “materials to make the Palestinian side colorful, interesting, more round and not just the enemy.”
Actors applaud him for it, speaking to experiences on set where Issacharoff has told stories of his times reporting in the field, which helps performers connect to scenes better.
Season three has some new characters including actor Khalifa Natour and the fierce Marina Maximilian, who will playing the role of a top-ranking investigator. Maximilian says the powerful female role is what drew her to consider the part. An established singer, Maximilian has acted before, but spent the last few years turning down roles she considered too flat, too disinteresting and too sexist for her to take on. 
“For me, as a woman, I am the face of a career woman – a talented woman,” Maximilian said. “My character has a lot of sides and they are all beautiful and fascinating ones. Her actions are very radical. She’s ambitious, she’s obsessed with her job and she’s totally committed. In a way, she’s the main character in a female.”
The actor went on to say viewers can expect some tense arguments between her character and top male officials in her unit. Additionally, she notes that the script is ever-evolving, giving her creative space to bring more layers to her character.
A challenge for Raz, who plays the show’s biggest tough guy, was keeping his eyes wet. 
“This season, my character is darker and deeper than ever before. As an actor, for me it’s really hard to cry on camera. And this season I cry so much. There’s a lot of sadness and there’s even more action than before,” Raz said, though he couldn’t give any spoilers. 
A supporting character who’s formed a bond with viewers in the first two seasons — Captain Gabi Ayub, played by Itzik Cohen – serves as the liaison between Israel and Palestine, often displaying the highest level of compassion out of anyone on screen. 
“I feel like I’m the fan favorite. Wherever I go, fans always approach me and tell me I’m their favorite part of the show,” Cohen said with a humble smile. 
Fauda’s third season is scheduled to debut on Yes in November and Netflix around four months later. As with the first two seasons, the show, which is filmed in Hebrew and Arabic, will be released with subtitles and dubbing catering to a variety of other languages. But it all translates into one word – suspense.