The view

The emphasis in Prisoners of War is on a psychological study ahead of thriller elements.SO ABU NAZIR, the Osama bin Laden-like terrorist leader, is dead, though his deadly schemes for attacks on Americans live on. That’s where the second season of the thriller, Homeland, left us when it finished.

The cleverly plotted finale rendered the threat to the US as bigger than the bogeyman who had come to personify it. As well as an explosive ending, the finale opened up a fresh chapter for CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and her lover, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a freed POW, war hero, congressman, estranged husband and father, murderer, and possible terrorist.

We won’t see them again for a while, but on January 19, SBS will launch the 10-part first season of Prisoners of War, the Israeli series that inspired Homeland, and the differences between the two are revealing.

The Israeli series starts as a family drama, as the return of soldiers held captive for 17 years is negotiated. The emphasis is on a psychological study ahead of thriller elements. The focus is the trauma of coming home, both for the damaged men returning to a country that now feels foreign to them and their families.

It’s a drama of disconnection and, at least in the early stages, much quieter than Homeland, which mined its story with intrigue from the get-go. There’s no agitated Mossad agent dodging bullets and screaming into her phone that one of the war heroes might be a traitor.

If there’s to be a questioning of the soldiers’ loyalties, it will build from slow-burn suspense. Intense yet comparatively restrained, Prisoners of War makes a compelling start, without any explosions.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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