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Prisoners of War (TV series)

Prisoners of War
Also known as Hatufim
Created by Gideon Raff
Written by Gideon Raff
Directed by Gideon Raff
Country of origin Israel
Original language(s) Hebrew, Arabic
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 24
Executive producer(s)
  • Gideon Raff
  • Liat Benasuly
Producer(s) Liat Benasuly
Cinematography Itai Ne'eman
Running time 45–60 minutes
Production company(s) Keshet Media Group
Original channel Channel 2
Original run 6 March 2010 (2010-03-06) – present
Related shows Homeland
External links
Website (Hebrew)

Prisoners of War (original title in Hebrew: חטופים Translit.: Hatufim Translated: "Abductees") is an Israeli television drama series made by Keshet and originally aired on Israel's Channel 2 from March to May 2010. A second season aired in Israel from October to December 2012, and a third season is planned. The series was created by Israeli director, screenwriter and producer Gideon Raff.

In July 2010, it won the Israeli Academy Award for Television for Best Drama Series.

The show was sold to 20th Century Fox Television and adapted into the acclaimed series Homeland for cable channel Showtime in the United States.


  • Plot overview 1
    • Season 1 1.1
    • Season 2 1.2
  • Cast and characters 2
    • Season 1 2.1
    • Season 2 (additional characters) 2.2
  • Production 3
  • Songs 4
  • Reception 5
  • Episodes 6
    • Season 1 (2010) 6.1
    • Season 2 (2012) 6.2
  • Broadcast 7
    • Season 1 7.1
    • Season 2 7.2
  • DVD releases 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Plot overview

The series, set in 2008, depicts three Israeli soldiers who were captured seventeen years ago while on a secret mission with their unit in Lebanon.

Season 1

The story begins with the soldiers' return home after years of negotiations for their freedom. Nimrod Klein and Uri Zach return alive, along with the remains of Amiel Ben-Horin.

The series explores the reintegration of Nimrod and Uri into a society which has made them national icons, and into an interrupted family life, while working through the trauma of being held captive and tortured. They must deal with partners who waited or moved on, children who have grown up without them, and parents who have died.

They also have to undergo psychiatric evaluations and military debriefings. When a military psychiatrist finds discrepancies in their stories, an investigation is launched to discover what they are hiding.[1][2]

Season 2

After flashbacks to events at a school in Metula in 1990, and to the period shortly after Nimrod and Uri's release, the second season rejoins the story a few days after the events at the end of the first season.

Initially disagreeing on what to do with their discovery that Amiel may still be alive, Nimrod and Uri take the information to Haim and Iris, who start to pursue their own (unofficial) investigation into what happened to Amiel - with unanticipated consequences.

Alongside this, the series continues to follow Nimrod and Uri (and the soldiers' families) as they pick up the pieces of their lives post-release. It also depicts Amiel for the first time as a living character (rather than Yael's visions of him) and follows his new life - as Yusuf, a Muslim - in Syria.

Cast and characters

Season 1

  • Yoram Toledano (he) as Nimrod Klein, a prisoner of war, and a brave, witty and intelligent man. He has difficulty readjusting to life with his wife and two children.
    • Yael Abecassis as Talia Klein, Nimrod's wife. She campaigned tirelessly for her husband's release. Since his return, she has trouble relating to him, and she finds that her life no longer has a clear purpose.
    • Yael Eitan (he) as Dana, Nimrod's rebellious daughter, who was two years old when her father was captured.
    • Guy Selnik (he) as Hatzav, Nimrod's teenage son, who was born after his father was taken captive.
  • Yishai Golan (he) as Uri Zach, a shy and timid prisoner of war. He is very close to Nimrod. During their captivity, Uri's former girlfriend married his brother, and they had a son.
    • Mili Avital as Nurit Halevi-Zach, Uri's former girlfriend. After mourning Uri's capture and becoming convinced that he was dead, she eventually grew close to and married his brother Yaki. She feels intense guilt after Uri's return.
    • Mickey Leon (he) as Yaakov "Yaki" Zach, Uri's brother and Nurit's husband. He is concerned about the effect Uri's return might have on his marriage.
    • Adam Kenneth (he) as Asaf, son of Yaki and Nurit.
    • Shmuel Shilo as Joseph "Yoske" Zach, Uri and Yaki's elderly father and a widower.
  • Assi Cohen as Amiel Ben-Horin, a prisoner of war believed to have been killed during his captivity under mysterious circumstances.
    • Adi Ezroni as Yael Ben-Horin, Amiel's younger sister. She finds it impossible to deal with his death, and she begins to see him in visions.
  • Nevo Kimchi (he) as Ilan Feldman, an IDF liaison to the families of killed, captured and injured soldiers.
  • Gal Zaid (he) as Haim Cohen, an IDF psychologist. He leads the investigation of Nimrod and Uri, convinced that they are hiding something.
  • Sendi Bar as Iris, an IDF operative working with Haim.
  • Aki Avni as Ofer, owner of an advertising agency and a friend of Nimrod who served with him in the IDF.
  • Dalik Volonitz (he) as Dr Shmuel Ostrovsky, Dana's therapist.
  • Doron Amit (he) as Ehud, son of Dr Ostrovsky.
  • Salim Dau (fr/he) as Jamal Agrabiya, leader of the cell that captured and imprisoned Nimrod, Uri and Amiel.
  • Abdallah El Akal as young Ismail, son of Jamal.
  • Said Dasuki as teenage Ismail.

Season 2 (additional characters)

  • Hadar Ratzon-Rotem (he) as Leila, wife of Yusuf (Amiel).
  • Makram Khoury as Sheikh Qasab, father of Leila, and founder of the organisation responsible for the kidnapping of Nimrod, Uri and Amiel.
  • Yousef Sweid as Abdullah bin Rashid, serving a prison sentence in Israel for a terrorist attack but released as part of the prisoner exchange that freed Nimrod and Uri.
  • Jonathan Uziel (he) as Yinon "Noni" Meiri, whose father was murdered by Abdullah when Noni was a child.
  • Shimon Mimran (he) as Dr Ze'ev Kaplan, an IDF psychologist.
  • Sinai Peter (he) as Atar Shorer, a former Mossad chief who was killed in an accident around the time of Nimrod and Uri's release.
  • Boaz Conforti as Oren, a friend of Nimrod and a member of Nimrod and Uri's reserve unit.


Filming commenced on the first season of Hatufim in August 2009.[3] First season episodes had a budget of $200,000 each.[4]

The second season of Hatufim was filmed between May and October 2011.[5][6] It was originally due to be broadcast in Israel from December 2011[7] but the premiere was put back to June 2012[4] and then October 2012 due to the state of the local advertising market.[8]

Gideon Raff has confirmed that he intends to write a third season of Hatufim.[9][10]


Season Episode Song title Written by Performed by Album (year) When featured in episode
1 2
"I Have Come Home"
(Hebrew: הנה באתי הביתה, Hine Bati Habaita)
Dana Berger &
Itay Pearl (he)
Dana Berger &
Itay Pearl
I Have Come Home
Episode 2 - at the start, during Nimrod's early morning run.
Episode 10 - during the end credits.
(Although the song was released in 2010, it was not written specifically for the series.)[11][12]
5 "Keep Your Soul - The Guard Song"
(Hebrew: שמרי נפשך - שיר משמר, Shimri Nafshech - Shir Mishmar)
Nathan Alterman &
Sasha Argov
Chava Alberstein Let It Be
(Hebrew: לו יהי, Lu Yehi)
After Amiel's funeral, while Yael's dogs are being walked.[13][14]
10 "In A Dream"
(Hebrew: בחלום, Bachalom)
Jaroslav Jakubovic &
Michal Vered
Anat Atzmon In A Dream
At the start, when Uri is listening to old cassette tapes,
and later, in Nurit's kitchen.[15][16]
2 1 "Goodbye, Sweetie"
(Hebrew: להתראות מתוק, Lehitraot Matok)
Meir Goldberg (he) &
Leah Shabat (he)
Nurit Galron Goodbye, Sweetie
At the end, during the Nurit Galron concert.[17][18]
6 "Shores (Are Sometimes)"
(Hebrew: (חופים (הם לפעמים, Chofim (Hem Lifamim))
Natan Yonatan &
Nachum Heiman (he)
N/A N/A Hummed/sung by Abdullah at the end of prayers and while carrying out surveillance,
and later by Yusuf (Amiel) in his bathroom.[19][20][21]
12 "The Heart"
(Hebrew: הלב, Halev)
Mirit Shem Or (he) &
Svika Pick
N/A N/A "Ivy" quotes lyrics from the song ("it's an autumn night and there are no stars")
while on the radio to "Bird".[22][23][24]
14 "The Song of the Land"
(Hebrew: השיר על הארץ, Hashir Al Haaretz)
Joshua Sobol &
Yoni Rechter
Nurit Galron A Gentle Touch
(Hebrew: נגיעה אחת רכה, Negia Achat Raka)
Towards the end, on the radio in Yael's living room.[25][26][27]


At the time of broadcast, the first season of Hatufim was Israel's highest-rated TV drama of all time.[4] It also achieved critical acclaim and was awarded Best Drama Series of 2010 by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television. For their work on the show, Gideon Raff won Best Directing for a Drama Series, Ishai Golan won Best Actor in a Drama Series, and Yael Abecassis won Best Actress in a Drama Series.[28][29]

The series was not without controversy, however. It was criticized by family members of soldiers held prisoner, including Miriam Groff, mother of one of the men released in the Jibril Agreement. She suggested that the series might encourage the kidnapping of soldiers.[30]

Viewing figures for the second season of Hatufim were even higher than for the first, with an average audience share of 40% (rising to 47.9% for the final episode) making it the highest-rated drama in Israel in 2012. Online viewing reached 3 million.[31]

At the 2013 Seoul International Drama Awards, Hatufim (season 2) was awarded the festival's Grand Prize, out of a total of 225 entries from 48 countries. Other series nominated included Homeland (season 2) and House (season 8).[32][33][34]

At the 2013 Israeli Academy Television Awards, season 2 of Hatufim was nominated in 9 categories, including (for Drama Series) Best Series, Best Directing (Gideon Raff), Best Screenplay (Gideon Raff) and Best Actor (Assi Cohen).[35][36][37]

In December 2009, three months before Hatufim premiered in Israel, it was reported that the rights to develop an American version of the series had been sold to 20th Century Fox Television.[38] It was sold on the strength of the script alone, before the series had even begun shooting. The result was the acclaimed show Homeland, developed in cooperation with Gideon Raff and broadcast on cable channel Showtime.[4][39]

Following on from the success of Hatufim in Israel, and the worldwide success of Homeland, Keshet has sold the original series (in Hebrew with subtitles) in a number of territories internationally, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and several European countries.[40][41][42] The rights to produce local versions of the series have been sold in Russia[43][44][45] (due to start filming in March 2014[46]), Colombia and Mexico[47][48] Turkey[41][49][50] and South Korea.[51]

Author Stephen King included Hatufim (season 1) at number 8 in his top 10 TV shows of 2012.[52]

The New York Times placed Hatufim (season 2) at number 2 in its top 12 TV shows of 2013.[53]


The first season of Hatufim (10 episodes) aired on Channel 2 in Israel from March to May 2010.

The second season (14 episodes) aired in Israel from October to December 2012. The majority of episodes were released a week in advance for online viewing (rental service) via makoVOD.[54]

Season 1 (2010)

# Title[55][56] Written & Directed by Original air date
1 1 "Homecoming"(original Hebrew title: השיבה, "The Return") Gideon Raff 6 March 2010 (2010-03-06)
2 2 "The Facility, Part 1" Gideon Raff 13 March 2010 (2010-03-13)
3 3 "The Facility, Part 2" Gideon Raff 20 March 2010 (2010-03-20)
4 4 "Letters from Mom" Gideon Raff 27 March 2010 (2010-03-27)
5 5 "Keep Your Soul"[57] Gideon Raff 10 April 2010 (2010-04-10)
6 6 "The Journal" Gideon Raff 17 April 2010 (2010-04-17)
7 7 "A Picture from Hell"(original Hebrew title: תמונה מהשבי, "A Picture from Captivity") Gideon Raff 24 April 2010 (2010-04-24)
8 8 "Family Portrait"(original Hebrew title: 'ושבו מצרימה...', "'...And They Return to Egypt'"[58]) Gideon Raff 8 May 2010 (2010-05-08)
9 9 "Awake at Night"[59][60][61] Gideon Raff 15 May 2010 (2010-05-15)
10 10 "The Tape"(original Hebrew title: גילוי מצבה, "Unveiling of a Monument") Gideon Raff 22 May 2010 (2010-05-22)

Season 2 (2012)

# Title[54][55][62] Written & Directed by Original air date
11 1 "First Grade"(original Hebrew title: להתראות מתוק, "Goodbye, Sweetie"[63]) Gideon Raff 15 October 2012 (2012-10-15)
12 2 "Birthday"(original Hebrew title: חג לה שמח, "Happy Birthday"[64]) Gideon Raff 16 October 2012 (2012-10-16)
13 3 "Little Lies" Gideon Raff 22 October 2012 (2012-10-22)
14 4 "Blue" Gideon Raff 23 October 2012 (2012-10-23)
15 5 "A Ghost from the Past"(original Hebrew title: פקידה פלוגתית, "Platoon Secretary") Gideon Raff 29 October 2012 (2012-10-29)
16 6 "The Song"(original Hebrew title: חופים, "Shores"[63]) Gideon Raff 5 November 2012 (2012-11-05)
17 7 "The Picture" Gideon Raff 12 November 2012 (2012-11-12)
18 8 "The Double Agent"(original Hebrew title: מותו של סוכן, "Death of a Salesman")[65] Gideon Raff 26 November 2012 (2012-11-26)
19 9 "Mika's Boyfriend" Gideon Raff 3 December 2012 (2012-12-03)
20 10 "The Notebook"(original Hebrew title: חלבה, "Halva") Gideon Raff 10 December 2012 (2012-12-10)
21 11 "Our Agent in Damascus"(original Hebrew title: האישה שלנו בדמשק, "Our Woman in Damascus"[66]) Gideon Raff 17 December 2012 (2012-12-17)
22 12 "The Kidnapping"(original Hebrew title: נוהל חניבעל, "The Hannibal Procedure") Gideon Raff 18 December 2012 (2012-12-18)
23 13 "Operation Judea"(original Hebrew title: מבצע יהודה, "Operation Judah"[67]) Gideon Raff 24 December 2012 (2012-12-24)
24 14 "Prisoners of War" Gideon Raff 25 December 2012 (2012-12-25)


Hatufim in its original format (in Hebrew with subtitles) has been sold internationally for broadcast on network and pay television, for download via VOD, and for DVD release.

Season 1

The first season originally aired from 6 March 2010 to 22 May 2010. It aired on Sky Arts in the UK from 10 May 2012 to 12 July 2012. It aired on 14 July 2012 to 15 September 2012 on Hulu in the United States. On SBS in Australia aired from 19 January 2013 to 23 March 2013. In Canada it ran from 10 July 2013 to 7 August 2013.[68]

Season 2

The second season originally ran from 15 October 2012 to 22 December 2012. Ran from 28 May 2013 to 20 August 2013 in the United States.[55][69] The season ran from 14 August 2013 to 25 September 2013 in Canada.[68] Aired from 2 October 2013 to 15 January 2014 in Australia.[70][71] It premiered on 22 April 2014 in the UK.[72]

DVD releases

Season Audio Subtitles Release dates Episodes Discs
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 Hebrew English 8 October 2013 (Canada)[73][74]
8 July 2014 (USA)[75][76]
16 July 2012[77] 3 April 2013[78][79] 10 3
French N/A 22 May 2013[80][81][82] N/A 10 3
German N/A 8 August 2013[83] N/A 10 3
2 Hebrew English 16 September 2014 (USA) [84] N/A 4 December 2013[85] 14 4
1 & 2 Hebrew Hebrew
N/A 20 March 2013[86][87][88] N/A 24 7


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  57. ^ Title is the name of a song featured during the episode.
  58. ^ Hebrew title is a partial quotation from Exodus 13:17.
  59. ^ Title is a reference to Erim Balaila (Awake at Night), the Israeli association of former prisoners of war founded in 1998. The support group depicted in the episode included a number of real-life ex-POWs.
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  63. ^ a b Hebrew title is the name of a song featured during the episode.
  64. ^ Hebrew title is a line from a traditional Israeli birthday song (similar to "Happy Birthday to You"), as sung to a female recipient.
  65. ^ Episode was originally scheduled for 19 November 2012 but broadcast was postponed on account of Operation Pillar of Defense which was ongoing at that time.
  66. ^ Hebrew title is a reference to the book Our Man in Damascus (Ben-Hanan 1967) which tells the story of Israeli spy Eli Cohen.
  67. ^ In the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt, Joseph's brother Judah plays an instrumental role in both the selling of Joseph into slavery and the eventual reconciliation of their family.
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  71. ^ No episodes broadcast on 25 December 2013 or 1 January 2014.
  72. ^
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  79. ^ Released in PAL format for Australian market (ie Region 4) but DVD itself is region-free.
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  81. ^ "Succès pour l’activité d’ARTE Editions" (in French). ARTE Éditions. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  82. ^ "Hatufim (Prisonniers de guerre) - Saison 1" (in French). Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  83. ^ "Hatufim - In der Hand des Feindes, Staffel 1" (in German). Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
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  85. ^ "DVD PRE-ORDER: Prisoners of War, Series 2 ( iTunes Digital Download Available Now)". Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  86. ^ "Prisoners of War (Hatufim) Seasons I & II , TV Series 2009-2012". Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  87. ^ "Kidnapped- "Hatufim"-(homeland)- All Episodes the First and Second Season Hebrew- Israeli Tv Series 7 DVD English Subtitles". Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  88. ^ "Kidnapped- "Hatufim"-(homeland)- All Episodes the First and Second Season Hebrew- Israeli Tv Series 7 DVD English Subtitles". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 

External links

  • Official website (Season 1) in Hebrew
  • Official website (Season 2) in Hebrew
  • Prisoners of War at the Internet Movie Database
  • Season 1 episodes on makoVOD in Hebrew with Hebrew subtitles
  • Season 2 episodes on makoVOD in Hebrew with Hebrew subtitles
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