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Apple TV Plus’s ‘Tehran’ Sees Israelis, Iranians Working Side By Side

Tehran on Apple TV Plus
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Season two of espionage thriller Tehran is on Apple TV Plus May 6, with two episodes available. Mossad hacker-agent Tamar (Niv Sultan) infiltrates Tehran under a false identity to help destroy Iran’s nuclear reactor. Things don’t go as planned. 

Dana Eden created the show with Moshe Zander and Maor Kohn. Eden was surprised to see Tehran take off the way it did after season one was released in fall 2020. She called it a “small Israeli production that millions of people watched around the world.”

Including in Iran. Some Iranian viewers shared their distaste, but the majority enjoyed it, Eden said. “A lot of Iranian people watched the show in Iran and loved it,” she said. “They said it looks authentic and they felt they weren’t stereotyped.”

There are eight episodes, with new ones on every Friday through June 17. 

The spy thriller could not shoot in Iran, but producers found their version of Tehran in Athens, of all places. Eden was vacationing there, and called co-creator and director Daniel Syrkin. “I found Tehran,” he said, sharing Eden’s phone call, “and it’s in Athens!”

Israeli construction companies had built much of Tehran, he said, and worked extensively in Athens too, giving the cities a similar feel in some places. Still, building their version of Tehran in Athens was “a huge task,” according to Syrkin. 

Glenn Close is in the cast for season two. Eden said Close is a fan of the show, and was eager to come on board, even if it meant shooting far from the U.S., and learning a bit of Farsi. “Glenn really pushed us into excellence in this production,” said Eden. 

Playing Marjan Montazemi, Close appears near the end of the season’s first episode, guiding Tamar in a moment of crisis. According to The Guardian, "Close adds menace to this breathlessly exciting thriller."

Shaun Toub, Shervin Alenabi and Arash Marandi are also in the cast. 

Syrkin said “the stakes are much higher” in season two, with Tamar enduring a “baptism by fire.” She goes undercover among elite Tehran society, hanging out with the offspring of Iran’s most influential citizens. 

Eden is proud of the fact that there are many Iranians working on the show–in production, reading scripts for authenticity, helping out with Farsi, and working in the wardrobe department. “One of the moving things about Tehran is the fact that Israelis and Iranians collaborate together on this production, and they realize we are very much alike,” she said. “That brings authenticity and love to the screen.” ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.