Despite receiving barely any promotion, “Hit & Run,” featuring Israeli star Lior Raz, has become a bona fide hit, consistently placing among Netflix’s top 10 trends in the U.S. since its release on Aug. 6. Created by Raz and Avi Issacharoff from “Fauda,” in partnership with Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin of “The Killing,” it’s easy to understand why this Israeli American collaboration, which alternates between Hebrew and English and between Tel Aviv and New York City, has become so popular. While not great TV by any means, it’s an incredibly watchable and compelling pulp thriller.
Raz plays Segev Azulai, an Israeli tour guide deeply in love with his dancer wife, Danielle (Kaelen Ohm). You don’t even need the opening flash-forward to Segev in prison to immediately tell he’s a tough guy—Raz, a man so muscular and intimidating that he was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodyguard before he became a writer/actor, is kind of a giveaway. Segev has a military background, but also a criminal one, and at the start of the series it seems as if he’s finally settled down and found happiness.
Obviously, this happiness isn’t going to last, as midway through the episode, Danielle is killed in a hit and run. The authorities dismiss it as an accident, but the grieving Segev is certain something is up. Flying to New York to track down the killers, Segev’s instincts about a greater conspiracy are proven right. With his old army buddy Ron Harel (Gal Toren), journalist ex-girlfriend Naomi Hicks (Sanaa Lathan) and detective cousin Tali Shapira (Moran Rosenblatt) helping him out, Segev learns that his wife’s death is at the center of a global crisis—and that she was not the woman he thought she was.
The revenge narrative of “Hit & Run” doesn’t go full “John Wick,” trying to keep at least one foot grounded in the real world, but it still gets kind of ridiculous. There are consequences to Segev’s violent revenge, but he also escapes from those consequences extremely easily; at times, he seems more like an action superhero than a real person. Where the show excels is in its pacing, knowing the exact right moment to introduce another violent confrontation or plot-reshaping twist to keep you captivated without going so extreme that you stop being able to take it seriously on its own terms.
Filmed and set in 2019, “Hit & Run” is now an accidental period piece. The political conflict at the center of its conspiracy story seems to be at least partially inspired by the Trump administration’s difficult relationship with Israeli intelligence agencies, though “the president” and “his son-in-law” are never directly named, probably out of a combination of legal caution and the knowledge that much of the audience would be sick of hearing Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s names.
Despite this political edge, it’s hard to say that “Hit & Run” is really about American Israeli relations. That’s just one of the many themes—along with grief, revenge and whether you can ever truly know someone—the series brings up without having that much to say about it. It’s not a show that’s going to move or enlighten you. However, it is a show that will make you want to binge the next episode, and when you’re done with the nine episodes in Season 1, it’s going to make you want to watch another season.
“Hit & Run” is now streaming on Netflix.