Inmates are milling about in the prison yard. In his cell, a prisoner with a bird tattoo on his hand is waiting. A guard directs him to the compound.
The gist is that the prisoner is confronted by another inmate in the compound and beaten to within an inch of his life. We later that man, Segev Azulay (Lior Raz), three weeks earlier in Tel Aviv, watching his wife, Danielle Wexler (Kaelen Ohm), perform with Israel’s prestigious Batsheva Dance Company. Segev, who owns his own tour company, and Dani have been happily married for about a year. Ella (Neta Orbach), Segev’s daughter, is head over heels in love with her stepmother. Everything appears to be going well in Segev’s life.
Dani is returning to the United States to audition for a dance company in New York. Segev does not want her to make the trip because he and Ella will most likely stay in Tel Aviv if she gets the job. Dani receives a text message before leaving for the airport, telling her not to ignore whoever sent it. She instructs the driver, family friend Moshe (Yoram Tollendano), to wait while she sees her friend Syd (Siena Kelly) and instructs her to leave a note for “him.”
She then stops at a cafe to get coffee for herself and Moshe. On her way out, she is hit by a car, which comes to a stop briefly before driving away.
When Segev receives the call, he rushes to the hospital, but Dani has already left. He must call Dani’s father, Martin (Gregg Henry), to break the tragic news, but the most challenging thing he must do is tell Ella. But first, another family friend, Tali Shapira (Moran Rosenblatt), pays a visit to the hospital. She’s a detective, and Segev wants her to look into things because the cops haven’t found anything yet. As she investigates, she discovers that the car belonged to a local gang leader, whom she pursues through Tel Aviv’s streets.
Segev goes to get Ella and tell her about Dani, and he remembers how they met; she went on a tour with him, and they got along so well that she went with him to pick up Ella.
When he retrieves Dani’s phone, he discovers text messages and missed phone calls from the same number. And when he answers one of the calls, he is surprised to hear a man address her affectionately. The person is Assaf (Lior Ashkenazy), a married Mossad director who learns of Dani’s death through a news report. During another flashback, we understand that Dani and Assaf were together when Dani met Segev.
What shows will it make you think of? Hit & Run has the feel of one of Netflix’s many Harlan Coben adaptations, such as The Innocent. However, this is not a Coben screenplay but an intriguing collaboration between Israeli and American writers, actors, and producers.
Executive producers Raz and Avi Issacharoff (both of whom created Fauda) came up with the idea for Hit & Run. Still, the show is run by American producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin. The production spans Tel Aviv and New York, and well-known American actors such as Henry and Sanaa Lathan, who play Segev’s ex-girlfriend, who assists him in his search for Dani’s killers, are featured. It’s an intriguing combination that results in a thriller with a slightly different feel than most shows of this genre have had in recent years.
Mike Barker, who directed the first episode, provides the show with an Israeli feel as the tension rises, with zoom-ins and camera pans. And he makes a point of displaying Segev’s tattoos frequently, giving viewers the impression that he has a weird past for a guy who only drives tourists around Israel for a career. It’s what makes things shocking but not surprising when he discovers an intruder in his home after Shapira begins investigating the accident and breaks the guy’s neck in the ensuing struggle. A tour guide’s toolbox does not include that kind of training.
It’s a show full of action, such as car chases and fights, but it’s also thoughtful and deliberate. It takes time to examine Segev and Dani’s relationship and not just the emotional underpinnings of What else was going on that Segev wasn’t aware of, such as her relationship with Assaf.
Raz’s performance is both defiant and troubling, and he is ably supported by veteran Israeli actors such as Rosenblatt and Ashkenazi. However, he also works well with American and Canadian actors such as Henry and Ohm. It helps that this is based on his idea that delves into his life in the IDF, but Raz definitely pulls off more than action-star level emotion in the more dramatic scenes.
So many intriguing scenarios are set up in the first episode: Was Dani, an undercover agent who fell in love with her handler by accident? What is the situation with Segev? And why does he follow the trail of clues leading to Dani’s death in New York? A first episode that raises so many intriguing questions is unusual, and it decides to watch more a simple one.
Hit & Run has an outstanding international cast, an intriguing premise, and opens up a lot of story possibilities without confusing the audience.