Masum (Innocent)

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Categorisation: Crime Drama

Availability: Netflix – Turkish with subtitles

Plot: Directed by Seren Yüce and adapted from Berkun Oya’s stage-play, this Turkish drama was brought to the screen in 2017. Yosuf, a hot-headed detective, is obsessed by his estranged wife’s new relationship. She has taken their daughter and moved in with a new man. Yosuf interferes unwisely and inappropriately, creating  problems for everyone, including his boss. After several warnings, he is given an assignment that takes him from Istanbul to his home village where the family of ex-police chief, Cevdet, has experienced a tragic loss. Emil, Cevdet’s daughter-in-law, has been killed in a car accident. Cevdet’s older son and Yosuf’s childhood friend, Taner, was with Emel in the car, but mysteriously his body has not been found. The local police have been unable to close the case. Whilst working undercover, Yosuf uses his relationship with the family to dig deeper into the tragedy. As he does so, family secrets are exposed and through a myriad of twists in the plot Yosuf examines the complexity of innocence and guilt.

Cast: The performances are excellent in this series. Haluk Bilginer is outstanding as the retired police chief, Cevdet. His heartfelt portrayal of the loving father, carries the action as he tries to keep his family on track and the police at bay. Nur Sürer is also very good as the family matriarch, Nermin. Cold and distant one minute, she surprises with impassioned emotion the next. Okan Yalabik does an amazing job as their younger son, Tarik. Plagued by debilitating mental illness, he is haunted by grief over the death of his wife Emel. Some of the best scenes involve him trying to understand his own behaviour in a life that is full of misunderstanding and assumptions. 

Filming and Setting: The series is beautifully photographed, cleverly capturing visual expressions as the character’s lives unravel. If you prefer action to a slow-moving buildup, you might find the series frustrating. The soundtrack is also likely to divide opinions. Some will find it irritating, others intriguing, but in any event, it certainly adds to the tension. The story is told through a series of largely unsignalled flashbacks and as a consequence time sequences can be confusing. Full attention is required otherwise you are likely to lose your way in this one. 

Personal Comments: Award winning writer and director Berkun Oya created the wonderful 2020 Turkish series Ethos (see, and so I was interested to watch an earlier production of his. Like Ethos, Masum is a slow-burning psychological exploration of family dynamics that exposes the nature of family frailty. But it is a much, much darker series as violence permeates relationships and family loyalties become central to the way in which the protection of individuals is sought and lost. This is an intelligent eight-episode drama that has its fair share of surprises.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *