Prisoners of War is the Israeli series, recently shown on Sky Arts 1 HD, that inspired the hugely successful US series Homeland. It’s very different to its American cousin, and fans of that show may be disappointed if they watch this expecting the same levels of stomach-churning tension. Prisoners of War is a very human drama, and concentrates more on relationships than secret service politics.
Two Israeli Defence Force reservists are released after being incarcerated for seventeen years. They were held behind enemy lines in Lebanon, but now they are free to return to their families. This doesn’t prove easy, and as the series develops we become entangled in the domestic lives of these three men.
Not only is it a superb study of family life, it also raises important and difficult questions about masculinity and loyalty. None of the characters are flawless; they all have their own difficulties with adjusting to everyday life within their homes. The way these troubles are played out is both believable and compelling.
If you’ve seen Homeland and think Prisoners of War isn’t worth your time or money, think again. It’s a completely different experience. The overall effect of the drama is so strong and memorable I am already looking forward to revisiting it again. This is a drama to be rewatched and cherished.
Prisoners of War (2010) is distributed on DVD in the UK by Arrow Films, Certificate 15.