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One of Apple TV+’s best dramas is about an Israeli operation to undermine Iran from within

Published Apr 15th, 2024 7:09PM EDT
Tehran on Apple TV+
Image: Apple

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Even though the first season of Tehran debuted on Apple TV+ back in 2020, anyone who dives into it for the first time today would be forgiven for thinking this taut-as-a-wire spy drama was ripped straight from current headlines

As I type these words, for example, Israel is preparing to hit back “clearly and forcefully” in response to the dramatic aerial assault Iran launched over the weekend, which included hundreds of missiles and drones. That episode marked Iran’s first direct attack against Israel, following the high-stakes shadow war that’s played out in cyberspace for years between the two nations.

A fictionalized version of that same real-world dynamic, meanwhile, drives the propulsive storyline of Apple’s Tehran. In the first season, Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan) sneaks into the Iranian capital city for a supremely dangerous mission — she’s there to hack into the computer system of Iran’s nuclear reactor, in order to leave it vulnerable to an Israeli bombing run. In the show’s second season, she’s still in Tehran and undermining the regime’s military from the inside.

Tehran on Apple TV+
Niv Sultan in “Tehran” on Apple TV+. Image source: Apple

The whole thing, honestly, feels like a prequel to what’s unfolding right now in the Middle East. And we’re getting even more of the Apple show soon; Tehran‘s third season is supposedly coming at some point this year, based on social media postings from cast members. I suspect that Apple might be dragging its feet, though, so as not to drop the new episodes at, shall we say, an inopportune moment — while tensions between the two nuclear powers still remain sky-high.

I’m especially excited for the third season, which will introduce Hugh Laurie to the cast (he’s playing a nuclear plant supervisor), and also because Tehran ratcheted up the quality with the release of season two. Honestly, spy series like this one — when they’re done right and don’t rely on boring tropes about the secret world — are some of my all-time favorite streaming releases. Tehran is definitely a must-watch for fans of the genre, specifically of shows like Slow Horses, The Bureau, and The Americans.

Surprises, plot twists, and potential double-crosses lurk around every corner in Tehran, which has a lead actress who’ll keep you spellbound throughout and relies on smart tradecraft rather than lazy writing to keep everything moving along.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.