Yarim Kalan Asklar which translates to Love Interrupted, is a dark comedy you definitely don’t want to miss. Unlike most Turkish dizi productions, this TIMS series is told in 8 tightly knit 55 minute to one hour episodes, and is free of extraneous and unnecessary plot lines. The script is well-written and skillfully depicts a serious subject matter through comedic situations and witty dialogue that is edgy, and at times, vulgar. The acting is superb all around, and the dialogue is engaging, humorous, and well-timed. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the series despite the gruesome subject matter. Kudos to the writing team of Hakan Bonomo, Ethem Ozisik & Ercan Ugur, who have some great projects such as Söz, Poyraz Karayel, Ilk Ve Son, Marasli and more to their names.
The story is about an idealistic journalist Ozan (played by Tolga Saritas in a cameo role) who is about to marry fellow journalist Elif (Dilan Cicek Deniz). At the same time, Ozan, who is an investigative journalist, is pursuing the cause of a mysterious blindness affecting the people of a small nearby town. Just as Ozan’s investigation leads him closer to the truth, he is tragically killed in a car accident. Enter Burak Deniz (Marasli, Medcezir) who plays the role of Kadir Bilmez, a dirty cop on the verge of death due to an overdose.
Ozan’s soul enters Kadir’s body at that crucial moment and he is visited by the vice president of the other worldly Department of Unfinished Business (presumably an angel). Kadir is told that he has been given a second chance to finish his business in the body of the degenerate cop, but he must not speak of the situation to anyone, even Elif.
As the story progresses we learn along with Ozan that Kadir has a money grubbing ex- wife, Saadat, brilliantly played by Esra Rusan (Masumlar Apartmani) and a daughter, Ada (Zeynep Naz Kasap) who is suffering an eating disorder as a result of her parent’s breakup.
But that’s not all; as it turns out Kadir is also involved with the mistress (Gizem Unsal) of an underworld mafia boss for whom he has done some dirty work. Burak Deniz’s performance as the ethical Ozan living in the body of the unscrupulous, deadbeat Kadir is simply staggering. It’s a joy watching Deniz portray the bewilderment and powerlessness Ozan experiences in Kadir’s body each time a new fact about Kadir is revealed. And believe me, there are many.
Kadir’s life is a maze of dirty deeds, illicit affairs, and criminal activity. As Ozan realizes, much to his dismay, Kadir is in cahoots with the mafia, and may even have some connection to the story he’s been pursuing! And on top of his relationship with the mafia mistress, he’s also had a fling with his colleague, the indecisive Ebru played brilliantly by Nazli Bulum. You may recognize her from her role as Nil in the popular drama series Sadakatsiz. Ebru, who is engaged to marry the unsuspecting Ihsan (Onur Gucay), is in love with Kadir and plans to give it all up just to be with him.
The screenplay cleverly presents each of Kadir’s bizarre relationships and allows Ozan (in Kadir’s body) to work towards salvaging them one by one. With Ozan’s help, Kadir takes the time to talk to his daughter, and give her what little assurance he can. He also tries to find a way to provide his ex-wife with the money she needs, and tries to help Ece get out from under the clutches of Ismet (Ezel Akay), the morbid mafia boss. Unfortunately, most of his efforts backfire hilariously due to circumstances beyond his control, but the people in his life recognize his efforts. The series cleverly depicts Ozan’s limitations in Kadir’s body, most of which have to do with his reputation as a corrupt, unsympathetic slacker.
There is a love story here too. Ozan is still in love with Elif and believes that there may be some hope for them to carry on their relationship with him in Kadir’s body. To be near her, Kadir enlists Elif’s help in his “investigation” to find Ozan’s killer. As Kadir and Elif get closer to the truth about Ozan’s murder and the mysterious illness, Kadir realizes the hopelessness of the situation. Because what they find at the end of their search is not at all what they expect.
And no series is complete without a soundtrack which in this series is fit to perfection. Unlike most Turkish series that overwhelm you with a lofty soundtrack, Yarim Kalan Asklar uses music sparingly and with purpose. The series strategically employs every day sounds such as traffic noises and the soft din of a newsroom to emphasize the real life nature of the plot and when the music (by Emre Altaç, Alp Yenier) does play, it is a light hearted, whimsical tune set against a backdrop of blood splatters and dismemberment.
Yarim Kalan Asklar is a joy to watch if you’re tired of the rambling, formulaic Turkish dramas, or any drama for that matter. With its clever dialogue, superb acting, and coherent script, the series draws in, and engages audiences in the same manner as the well-known dark comedies, Fargo and American Psycho. If you’ve got a weekend to blow, give this little gem a shot.
Rating: 10 out of 10.
Yarim Kalan Asklar is available for streaming with English subtitles on BluTV for less than 5 dollars per month. For a little flavor of the series, check out the trailer below.
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