In the compound, the prisoner is confronted by another inmate, and he’s beaten within an inch of his life. Three weeks earlier, we see that man, Segev Azulay (Lior Raz) in Tel Aviv, watching his wife, Danielle Wexler (Kaelen Ohm), performing with Israel’s prestigious Batsheva Dance Company. Segev, who runs his own tour guide company and Dani have been married for a year or so, and quite happily. Segev’s daughter Ella (Neta Orbach) is enamored with her stepmother. Everything seems like it’s going well in Segev’s life.
Dani is taking a trip back to the U.S. to audition for a dance company in New York. It’s a trip that Segev doesn’t really want her to take, because if she gets the job, it’s likely that he and Ella will stay in Tel Aviv. Dani gets a text before she leaves for the airport, telling her not to ignore whoever is sending it. She tells the driver, family friend Moshe (Yoram Tollendano) to wait while she sees her friend Syd (Siena Kelly) and tells her to give “him” a note.
Then she stops at a cafe to get some coffee for her and Moshe. On her way out, she’s run over by a car, which momentarily stops then leaves the scene.
Segev gets the call and rushes to the hospital, but Dani is already gone. He has to call Dani’s father, Martin (Gregg Henry) to break the tragic news, but the hardest thing he’ll have to do is tell Ella. First, though, another family friend, Tali Shapira (Moran Rosenblatt) visits the hospital. She’s a police detective, and Segev wants her to look into things, since the police so far have no info. As she investigates, she finds that the car was owned by a local gang leader, whom she chases down in the streets of Tel Aviv.
As Segev goes to pick up Ella and tell her about Dani, he flashes back to when they met; she took a tour with him and they got on so well she went with him to pick up Ella.
When he gets Dani’s phone back, he sees texts and missed calls from the same number. And when he answers one of those calls, he’s shocked to find a man calling her by an affectionate name. That man is Assaf (Lior Ashkenazy), a married Mossad director who only finds out through a news report that Dani is dead. It’s then we find out during another flashback is that Dani and Assaf were together when Dani met Segev.
The idea for Hit & Run came from Raz and Avi Issacharoff (both of whom created Fauda), who are executive producers, but the show is run by American producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin. The production spans not only Tel Aviv, but New York as well, and well-known American actors like Henry and Sanaa Lathan, playing an ex of Segev’s who helps him search for Dani’s killers, are featured. It definitely makes for an intriguing mix, producing a thriller that has a bit of a different feel than most shows of this type have been like in recent years.
Mike Barker, who directed the first episode, gives the show a bit of an Israeli feel, with zoom-ins and some camera pans as the tension ramps up. And he makes sure to show Segev’s tattoos often, to give viewers a hint that he’s got a complicated past for a guy who drives tourists around Israel for a living. It’s what makes things surprising but not shocking when he finds an intruder in his home after Shapira starts probing the accident, and in the ensuing struggle, he breaks the guy’s neck. A tour guide doesn’t have that kind of training in is toolbox.
It’s a show that has a lot of action, like car chases and fights, but it’s also thoughtful and deliberate. It takes the time to flash back and examine Segev and Dani’s relationship and examine not only the emotional underpinnings about what else was going on without Segev’s knowledge, like her relationship with Asaaf.
Raz’s performance is defiant and distraught all at once, and he’s supported by veteran Israeli actors like Roseblatt and Ashkenazi. But he also plays well off American and Canadian actors like Henry and Ohm. It helps that this is based on an idea of his that delves into his life in the IDF, but Raz definitely pulls off more than just action-star-level emoting in the more dramatic scenes.
The first episode sets up so many intriguing scenarios: Was Dani an undercover informant who accidentally fell in love with her handler? What’s going on with Segev? And why does he follow the trail of clues about Dani’s death to New York? A first episode that sets up that many intriguing questions is rare, and makes the decision whether to watch more an easy one to make.