Israel’s ‘False Flag’ turns into Apple TV’s ‘Suspicion’

Apple TV+ has just released Suspicion, an adaptation of the Israeli series, False Flag (Kefulim).

A 3D printed Apple TV logo is seen in this illustration picture taken May 4, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)
A 3D printed Apple TV logo is seen in this illustration picture taken May 4, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

Apple TV+ has just released Suspicion, an adaptation of the Israeli series, False Flag (Kefulim), that it made in collaboration with Keshet Productions, and while it is a competently made thriller with a good cast, it is not nearly as compelling as the original.

That’s mainly because it dispenses with the premise of the first season of False Flag: A group of seemingly ordinary Israelis discover that they are the main suspects in the killing of an Iranian official in Moscow when their passport photos are broadcast around the world in news reports. This was based on a real-life incident that took place in Dubai in 2010, when a senior Hamas official was assassinated and the passport photos of the suspects were in the news. Reportedly, all 11 were Mossad agents who had assumed the identities of Israelis who were dual citizens, but had nothing to do with the spy game.

If this description makes you want to check out False Flag, it should because it’s so dramatic. However, the creators of Suspicion have chosen tell a story about a group of Britons who are at a Manhattan hotel one night and are implicated in the abduction of Leo Newman (Gerran Howell), the son of Catherine Newman (Uma Thurman), a media mogul who specializes in crisis management. The kidnappers all wear masks that show grotesque representations of members of the royal family and security camera footage of them subduing Leo in a hallway goes viral. It makes sense that they would want to differentiate Suspicion from False Flag, but they have taken out the most interesting aspect of the original: What would you do if you, your friend or a family member were shown around the world committing a political assassination?

THE SUSPECTS ALL know more than they are telling, as is de rigueur for this type of drama, and it is up to the audience to figure out who may have a personal or professional secret to hide that is unconnected to the kidnapping plot and who is in thick of it. The four suspects represent a cross section of contemporary England. Tara (Elizabeth Henstridge) is a troubled academic fighting to regain custody of her daughter. Aadesh (Kunal Nayyar) works in his in-laws’ carpet business, but dreams of being a cybersecurity expert. Natalie (Georgina Campbell) is a financial planner about to get married. Sean (Elyes Gabel) seems to be a drifter, but may be a violent criminal.

 Apple logo is seen on the Apple store at The Marche Saint Germain in Paris, France July 15, 2020. (credit: GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS) Apple logo is seen on the Apple store at The Marche Saint Germain in Paris, France July 15, 2020. (credit: GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS)

On the law enforcement side, Vanessa (Angel Coulby) is a by-the-book London investigator, while Scott Anderson (Noah Emmerich, who played Stan on The Americans) is an FBI agent who has a different playbook.

The cast is appealing, but Thurman lacks energy to the point where she seems almost glazed.

The first episode is particularly disjointed, but if you stick with it, you may get hooked. That said, there is a certain déjà vu to the proceedings. The first two episodes have already been released and new episodes of the eight-part series will be released every Friday.

And Just Like That..., the divisive Sex and the City reboot that is still available on Hot VOD and Next TV, came to an end last week, not with a bang but a bat mitzvah. Or rather, a “they”-mitzvah, since Charlotte’s daughter Rose, like much of the supporting cast, is questioning her gender identity. It was a nice touch to have Charlotte, who converted to Judaism in the original series, confirm her commitment to the tribe by fighting to have a festive coming-of-age celebration for her daughter in the face of many obstacles. And it wasn’t surprising that the fabulousness factor was quite high at the event that she managed to pull off, and that while the celebration took an unexpected turn, it was actually moving.

If you haven’t gotten your fill of charming sociopaths from Netflix’s The Tinder Swindler, the streaming service network has a new one coming up this week, Inventing Anna, which will be released on Friday. It stars Ozark’s Julia Garner, who has a different accent this time as a European swindler cutting a wide swathe through the American elite. Based on a true story, it has sparked allegations from the victims that Anna Delvey (or Anna Sorokin, no one is sure) will find a way to enrich herself from the series, while her victims still struggle to repay their debts.

SHALOM HANOCH, ONE of the most acclaimed and beloved Israeli musicians of all time, is the subject of a new documentary series on Yes Docu, Shalom by Anat Goren. The first episode of the three-part series aired and is available on Yes VOD and Sting TV and new episodes will air Thursdays on Yes Docu at 9 p.m. It’s an intimate look at a man who has often insisted that what he has to say he says through his music, but here he talks quite a bit. At times, it seems as if he is trying out for a part in the Hebrew-language version of Grumpy Old Men, but he has earned the right to be a little difficult, even elusive.

The series mixes interviews with meetings with former partners – both personal and professional – and features footage from recent performances, as well as clips from way back when, including the days when Hanoch performed with Arik Einstein and the rest of the Lool gang. In addition, there are rarely shown clips of him playing with the one-time Israeli supergroup, Tamuz. He meets with musicians from generations that have followed him, among them Aviv Geffen with whom he discusses his reluctance to perform at political demonstrations. 

I would have liked more music and less talking. The songs are the most enjoyable aspect of the series. Throughout, there is always the sense that he is holding something back and that he is at his most unguarded when he is singing and playing.