Dr. Yael Danon (Ayelet Zurer) is selected to perform surgery on the Israeli Prime Minister. On the eve of the surgery Yael returns home to her family who are targeted by a mysterious group that breaks into their home and takes them hostage. Yael is told to ensure that the Prime Minister dies on the operating table or her family will be killed. As Yael tries to save the lives of her family and the Prime Minister, she tries to find out the motivations of the kidnappers to understand what is really going on.
Hostages was remade in the US in 2013 with Toni Collette, Tate Donovan and Dylan McDermott leading the cast. The show lasted for one season before being cancelled. Most critics agreed that the remake wasn’t a patch on the original Israeli series that preceded it. Currently showing on BBC Four, Hostages has garnered widespread critical acclaim thanks to its mix of character-driven drama and nail-biting suspense.
At its core, Hostages explores the moral dilemma faced by Yael. Should she sacrifice her family for the greater good to save the Prime Minister, or does she put her family and her own interests first? It’s by no means a clear-cut situation and as the show progresses through its 10 episodes you can’t help but think long and hard about what you would do if you were in Yael’s shoes.
Over the course of the season, you get to learn more about the individual members of Yael’s family as well as the group that is holding them hostage. Hostages isn’t your usual mix of clichéd good and bad characters; every single character in the show has a reason for being there and as their motivations are revealed the show becomes much more involved than you think from the first episode.
Ayelet Zurer is the shining star of Hostages. Her performance is perfectly nuanced and she balances the different sides of her character Yael expertly. You see the human side battling with the professional side as Yael tries to navigate the situation she’s forced into. Yair Lotan is also worthy of note as Adam Rubin, the leader of the kidnappers. He steers away from playing Adam as a stereotypical villain and brings humanity to the character. We don’t want to reveal anything about what’s motivating him but you’ll be surprised at how much compassion you have for him as the season progresses.
If you’ve seen the US remake of Hostages then you should definitely check out the original series it was based on. Hostages is much tighter than the US version and benefits from having 10 episodes rather than 15. The show is much more intense and realistic, and it’s definitely a thrill-ride for those who love suspense. The show is both entertaining and thought-provoking, and we highly recommend it.
Watch the trailer for Hostages below: