Icerde (2016-2017) is a Turkish masterpiece and a pioneer in the genre for action-filled mafia crime dizis in the country. With 39 well-crafted episodes written by Ertan Kurtulan and Toprak Karaoglu that have a perfect blend of drama, suspense, action, humor and romance; enacted by a talented ensemble cast led by Cagatay Ulusoy, Aras Bulut Iynemli and Cetin Tekindor; a suspenseful but haunting musical score by Toygar Isikli; and an action-packed directorial mastery by Uluc Bayraktar, maintains Icerde as a tight story that is widely appreciated by global audiences as movie making genius.
Inspired by Martin Scorcese’s Oscar-winning American gangster flick The Departed (2006), which in turn is inspired by Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs (2002), all three stories center around the concept of mutual infiltration of a crime gang and the police force, as the two sides get into a cat and mouse game of having the last word. Icerde liberally borrows plot devices from both earlier versions but makes the story entirely its own by bundling in the powerful love of family, a relentless fight for justice and a willingness to sacrifice so that good can win over evil.
Focused on the stories of Sarp Yilmaz (Cagatay Ulusoy), a police cadet tasked with infiltrating Celal Baba’s (Cetin Tekindor) mafia gang, and Umut Yilmaz (Aras Bulut Iynemli), Sarp’s younger brother who was kidnapped as a toddler and groomed by Celal to infiltrate the organized crime division, Icerde showcases how through all the trials and tribulations faced by the Yilmaz brothers, the one thing that guides their ethos is their deep desire to reunite as brothers. By the end of episode one, Sarp was “Icerde” (Insider) in Celal’s gang and Mert/Umut was “Icerde” in Director Yusuf’s division. Only Yusuf knows that Sarp is an undercover policeman; and only Celal (and one other) knows that these two are brothers, taking a twisted pleasure in pitting them against each other while playing the puppeteer in this game of life.
Icerde’s choice to make an action drama also an epic tale driven by love for family makes it a very relatable and beautiful human story, which is the bedrock of Turkish productions. A mother’s pain and her never-ending hope; a brother’s love and his unfailing quest; a little boy’s search under the halo of his forgotten reality; young girls looking for love; women looking for protection; men looking for father figures; sons waiting for fathers; criminals looking for redemption, and those that are beyond repair, – are all depicted beautifully.
All of Cagatay Ulusoy, Aras Bulut Iynemli and Cetin Tekkindor shine in their layered portrayals of their characters.
All actors for the other major roles for Yusuf, Fusun, Melek, Eylem, Yesim, Daud, Alyanak and Coskun were great in their given parts, creating distinct personalities that allow the audience to grow with the characters as the show progresses.
Even though Icerde is produced on the shoulders of giants such as Scorcese’s The Departed and the critically acclaimed Infernal Affairs franchise, it still manages to become a prized trophy in the Turkish showcase of dizis. Not to be missed.
Copyright (c) mh
This review originally appeared on Dizilah, here
#Icerde #EnglishReview #TurkishDrama #TurkishMasterpiece #CagatayUlusoy #ArasBulutIynemli #CetinTekindor
by Paola Cesarini
The 2016-17 series "Içerde" is widely acclaimed as one the best ever aired in Turkey. It is also probably one of the least Turkish. The story is based on the highly successful 2006 Martin Scorsese film "The Departed", which centers on real-life characters from the infamous Boston Irish Mob. The movie, in turn, is an adaptation of the Hong Kong action film "Infernal Affairs." "The Departed" is considered a cinematic masterpiece. It was also a commercial success that earned several awards -- including four Oscars. So how does a Hong Kong gang/Irish mob cinematic tale fare once it is transplanted on the Bosphorous and stretched into a 39 two-hour episodes series? The answer, almost surprisingly, is harika.
In "The Departed", Boston Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello -- interpreted by an over-the-top Jack Nicholson -- plants Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police. At the same time, the police assigns undercover state trooper Billy Costigan (Leonardo Di Caprio) to infiltrate Costello's crew on account of his family ties to organized crime. To increase his credibility with Costello, Costigan drops out of the academy and serves time in prison on a fake assault charge. While located in Istanbul, "Içerde's" story has the virtually identical premise of the Scorsese's film. Infamous Turkish mafia chief Baba Celal (Çetin Tekindor) supports his adoptive son's -- Mert Karadağ (Aras Bulut İynemli) -- career into the Police Academy. Upon graduation Mert earns a coveted spot into the organized crime investigative unit. At the same time, the Director of the very same unit manages successfully to infiltrate another police cadet -- Sarp Yilmaz (Çağatay Ulusoy) -- into Celal's gang. Sarp too has to spend one year in jail in order to penetrate Baba Celal's inner circle.
Like "Medcezir", the similarities between "Içerde" and "The Departed" end after the first episode. More specifically, "Içerde" dramatically complicates the relationship among the main characters, adding a great deal of pathos to the original story. Thus, in the Turkish series, Mert turns out to be Umut Yilmaz, Sarp's long lost younger brother, whom Celal had kidnapped in order to ensure his father's silence. Then, Sarp happens to fall in love with Melek (Bensu Soral), only to find out that she is Celal's biological daugther. And finally, Mert falls in love with Eylem (Damla Colbay) who is Sarp's sister-like childhood friend. "Içerde" reaches its climax when the two brothers, after a myriad of extraordinary events, eventually find each other in what is arguably one of the best scenes ever to be shown on Turkish TV. In contrast, "The Departed" ends in a depressing bloody mess that leaves viewers with a distinctive bitter aftertaste.
While "The Departed" has been praised as an "American epic tragedy","Içerde" is essentially about the ineradicable family bond between two long lost brothers that, defying time and space, triumphs against impossible odds. It follows that "Içerde's" success squarely rests on the shoulders of the two young leads -- Çağatay Ulusoy and Aras Bulut İynemli. And indeed, their performance is nothing short of brilliant, resulting in something much greater than the sum of their individual parts. With their relationship evolving from ruthless rivalry into unquestioned loyalty, the two young Turkish actors faced perhaps greater performance challenges than Leonardo di Caprio and Matt Damon. Sarp and Mert/Umut's interaction during most of the series is delightfully confrontational, alternating between spectacular fight scenes and utterly comic interludes. Later on, however, they are forced to trust each other. And after Mert/Umut discovers his true identity, the Yilmaz brothers appear to pick up their relationship right where they left it two dozens years earlier.
"Içerde" is so good that it manages to keep glued to the screen even those who tend to avoid mafia-type shows such as "The Departed". This is because it offers a great deal more than action-packed entertainment. It is first and foremost a story about the power of family -- i.e. the real one, and not the fake substitutes, which mafias, gangs, mobs, etc. allegedly offer. It is also a story about loyalty, honor, hope, justice, redemption and the fine line between good and evil. Second, it offers a stellar cast of young and experienced actors, who spare no effort in morphing into their characters. Third, "Içerde" is superbly written and produced, and also counts on outstanding photography and cinematic techniques. Fourth, the Turkish series contains fight scenes that are so amazingly choreographed as to make one forget about the violence involved. Finally, it includes an unforgettable soundtrack by the consistently outstanding Toygar Işıklı.
How did this series manage to remain week after week in the top spot of Turkish TV rankings, and -- at the same time -- withstand comparison with a movie of the caliber of "The Departed"? First, everything about "Içerde" is out of the ordinary. For example, in episode 33, Sarp and Mert meet on a building's rooftop for what they both think is their ultimate confrontation. This long fight scene is absolutely worth watching in its entirety. Interspersed with slow-motion flying bullets, flashback from their childhood, drying linen, color explosions, crumbling chimneys, mesmerizing music and the flight of a dove, it is nothing short of poetic. It makes one forget that the scene depicts two brothers, who are trying to annihilate each other. The other reason for "Içerde's" success is that it is a story about hope. While from the beginning to the end, "The Departed" offers a gloomy tale of corruption and despair, "Içerde" remarkably manages to deliver a feel-good ending amidst a great deal of tragedy.
In conclusion, "Içerde" is not to be missed. Those who enjoyed "The Departed" -- and may therefore be tempted to dismiss a Turkish remake a priori -- will be pleasantly surprised by the quality and originality of this intriguing and outstanding adaptation.
On Monday, May 4, ShowTV will be starting reruns of Icerde, a 2016-2017 crime drama that broke all sorts of ratings records during its 39 episode run. It will air every evening.
Icerde is led by Cagatay Ulusoy and Aras Bulut Iynemli, both shining stars in the crowded field of dizi actors. Cagatay, who was already famous from his loverboy roles in Adini Feriha Koydum and Medcezir, reinvents himself as the gangster Sarp, who is really an undercover cop. For Aras, Icerde is his breakthrough role as Umut Yilmaz/ Mert Karadag.
In this action-packed dizi, the first of its genre for Turkey, Cagatay stands out as Sarp Yilmaz, a resolved and unwavering cop, with a spine made of steel. Inspired by Martin Scorcese's The Departed, Icerde manages to remain a quintessentially Turkish show, with action, drama, love and family portrayed beautifully. The ratings for the show never fell below 7 during its run, being one of the first shows that completed the season as planned. It is also one of the top shows to have been syndicated internationally, to great success in Latin America and other markets.
For more information on the show, you can visit our filmography page or browse through earlier posts.
Cagatay Ulusoy (born September 23, 1990) is a Turkish model and a versatile young actor, who has established himself as one of the country’s brightest young stars, being the first actor to play the lead in Netflix’s production foray into Turkey. Ulusoy has received one Golden Butterfly Award (out of 6 nominations), two Turkey Youth Awards, one Golden Lens Award and numerous other accolades. He has also been named to tachandler’s 100 Most Handsome Faces (in the world) 3 years in a row, as the highest ranking star from Turkey. Most recently, he received his first international award as one of GQ Middle East’s Men of the Year 2019. After his win as Best Model of Turkey in 2010, as one of the youngest contestants to do so at age 20, Cagatay has become best known for his dizi roles in Adini Feriha Koydum (2011 – 2012), Medcezir (2013 – 2015), Icerde (2016 – 2017) and the Netflix original The Protector (2018 – present).
Cagatay is managed by Engin Aykanat in Istanbul, and is also signed on by Hollywood’s United Talent Agency, one of the best known talent agencies in the industry.
He splits his time between Istanbul and California.
2011 – 2017: Turkish Dizi & Movies
Cagatay started filming in the lead role for “Adini Feriha Koydum” and breathed life into the complex role of Emir Sarrafoglu, a rich, young man who falls passionately in love with a girl who was more than she appeared to be. Starring alongside renowned actress Hazal Kaya, who played the titular role of Feriha, the show surpassed expectations and became one of the first few Turkish shows to be syndicated internationally. This made Cagatay/ Emir a household name in important markets such as the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia and Eastern Europe. The show ran for two seasons with 67 episodes. He resurrected the role of Emir in a short-lived spin-off series “Emir’in Yolu”.
Available in English before Adini Feriha Koydum , “Medcezir” is the 2013 series that shot Cagatay into international stardom, leading to his first Golden Butterfly award for Best Actor and ELLE Style awards. Co-starring with an ensemble cast that included Serenay Sarikaya, Taner Olmez, Hazar Erguclu and Baris Falay, Medcezir is loosely based on the FOX series The O.C. The adaptation deviated significantly from the original, giving it a life and rhythm of its own. Cagatay’s Yaman Koper and Serenay’s Mira Beylice brought a beautiful love story to life, set against the backdrop of the social tensions that exist within the rich enclave of fictitious Altinkoy. A stunning production featuring an all-star cast, air tight script from a team led by Ece Yorenc, and an astounding soundtrack from Toygar Isikli, Medcezir became the 5th most successful Turkish TV series in terms of net sales. In addition, Cagatay reveals himself as a formidable musical talent and sang many of his own songs on the show. Medcezir received the Seoul International Drama Award in 2015, and the award was received by Cagatay Ulusoy and Ece Yorenc, on behalf of the team.
Continuing his work with the same director from Medcezir ( Ali Bilgin ) and under the auspices of the same producers ( Ay Yapim ), Cagatay transformed himself into Baris Ayaz for a full-length movie called “Delibal”. Cagatay prepared for 6 months for this role, taking drumming lessons and studying people with mental health issues, so that he could believably essay the role of a talented musician and student of architecture, who also struggles with bi-polar disease. In addition to his acting prowess as Baris, Cagatay lent his voice to the song “Mutlu Sonsuz”, the principal song for the movie’s music track. Playing alongside Leyla Lydia Tugutlu, the movie was a critical and commercial success.
In 2016, Cagatay became the face of “Colin’s” clothing brand in Turkey and, together with Victoria’s Secret model Taylor Hill, shot the commercial Bize Uyar for the company. He is also said to have directed a short film titled “Home”, which focused on the homeless in Los Angeles, but the film has not been seen by a wider audience. Later in the year, he took on the lead role of Sarp Yilmaz, a resolved, unwavering, undercover policeman with a spine made of steel in the action-packed dizi “Icerde”, the first of its genre for Turkey. Inspired by Martin Scorcese's The Departed, Icerde manages to remain a quintessentially Turkish show, with action, drama, love and family portrayed beautifully. Starring alongside Aras Bulut Iynemli, who plays the lost brother, Umut, that undercover cop Sarp is desperately searching for in the gang he infiltrates, the 39-episode Icerde broke all sorts of domestic records and the ratings never fell below 7. It is also one of the top shows to have been syndicated internationally, to great success in Latin America and other markets. Cagatay cut an amazing hero figure in the form of Sarp and proved himself a worthy brother, son and partner. His performance won him the Turkey Youth Awards two years in a row, with his first one for Baris in Delibal.
2018 – Present: Netflix & New Frontiers
Cagatay’s domestic success and international appeal led to him being selected as the lead for Netflix’s first original Turkish production “The Protector”, a series based on the book Karakalem, written by Ipek Gokdel. Playing the role of a reluctant superhero, who is bestowed with special responsibilities and powers due to his lineage, Cagatay brings to life the complexities of a maturing young man who has to learn to embrace his destiny. The global release of the 10 episode Season 1 proved to be hugely successful for Netflix with more than 10 million views within the first four weeks. Even though the storytelling caters to a young, modern audience, and the style is vastly different than that of a traditional dizi, Cagatay’s acting as Hakan Demir was layered and true to a young man struggling with competing pressures on his heart and mind. Acting alongside other popular names such as Hazar Erguclu, Ayca Aysin Turan and Okan Yalabik, Netflix will drop Season 3 on March 5 2020, while the audience eagerly awaits Seasons 4, rumored to hit the screens later this year. For his role as Hakan, Cagatay received the Golden Lens Award and Best Actor – Internet Platform (by Ayakli Gazete ).
In the Fall of 2019, it became known that Cagatay will be directing his own project “Azadlik Saka” (“Freedom Bird”) based on a script he authored in collaboration with Toygar Aydin. News on filming or release schedules are not yet available.
Cagatay is now firmly established as an internationally recognized icon for Turkey, both as an actor and a person. He is known for his humanitarian efforts and supported a charity event in May 2019, hosted by the Monk Foundation in Tbilisi, Georgia, visiting children with cancer. For a young man who has achieved such stardom, Cagatay remains inspiringly humble, protective of his private life and is deeply loved by both fans and industry peers. His hobbies include basketball, painting, music, fishing, deep-sea diving, among others.
For more information:
You can watch The Protector on www.netflix.com
You can visit the IMDb profile pages for shows and other actors listed in the article
(C) North America TEN, CUNA & mh