Akin Akinozu’s current project, Tuzak (Trap), is near the bottom of the Turkish ratings chart, but that hasn’t stopped the production team and the cast and crew from forging ahead with their well-written, unconventional dizi culminating in the final moments of Episode 16. It’s true, the theme of Tuzak – revenge- is an age old, hackneyed one especially in Turkish dizis. But it veers from its conventional path by being tempered by the quest for justice and the application of intellect rather than uncontrolled rage.
In the early days of the internet, young Umut Yorukoglu accompanies his entrepreneur father, Ibrahim, from investor to investor as he pitches his novel e-commerce idea. After several unsuccessful attempts, Ibrahim crosses paths with Demir Gumusay (played by Talat Bulut), a down on his luck young investor who recognizes the true monetary potential of Ibrahim’s proposal. The two strike a deal, and with Demir’s backing begin to turn Ibrahim’s idea into reality. Greed takes over and Demir decides to shut Ibrahim out of the company created around the idea. Realizing Demir’s intention, Ibrahim initiates a confrontation that results in tragedy. Losing control, Demir shoots both Ibrahim and his eldest son, severely disabling Ibrahim and killing his eldest son Utku. This tragic event takes place in front of young Umut who witnesses the shooting from the back seat of his father’s car.
Effectively fatherless (Umut’s mother had left them years earlier), Umut, his older brother Mahir (Emir Benderlioglu) and his younger sister Umay (Eylul Su Sapan), are left in the care of his two aunts. Although Demir is suspected of having a hand in the shootings, he is never convicted and escapes justice.
Two decades pass and Umut, now a high priced lawyer going by the name of Cinar Yilmaz, sets in motion an intricate plan to bring Demir who has created an empire from Ibrahim’s idea, to justice. In his planning, Umut runs across the myriad people whose lives Demir has destroyed in his rise to power. People he considers as insects to be squashed, and on whom Umut relies to implement various aspects of his plan.
Umut’s inner circle and willing accomplices include his brother and sister as well as two life long friends- a hacker, Ali (Onur Durmaz), and Ayse a young woman with a tragic past whom the Yorukoglus adopted as a child.
Umut under the guise of Cinar Yilmaz uses his skills as a lawyer and his keen intellect to set intricate traps for Demir and his family and ultimately to make him pay for his crimes. As fate would have it, Umut comes face to face with Demir’s daughter and business partner, Ceren (played by Bensu Soral) who is an intellectual and emotional match for Umut. The two start as adversaries but as Ceren learns about her father’s corrupt dealings and criminal activity, she too comes down on the side of justice.
Along the way, Ceren becomes Umut’s most ardent supporter and most effective accomplice. The lead actors are supported by a stellar cast including Riza Kocaoglu as Ceren’s sensitive and easily influenced older brother Guven, Yagiz Can Konyali as Ceren’s ambitious and often unscrupulous younger brother, Mete.
Unlike nearly every Turkish dizi, there are no toxic relationships in the series, and in general the men have a healthy respect for women (with the exception of Demir’s initial treatment of his wife). The love story is a slow build between two mature adults who know what they want and are not held back by cultural norms. Unlike other dizis where the two leads only come to terms in the final episodes of the series, Umut and Ceren know their feelings early on, in episode 6, and slowly move forward in a manner that does not jeopardize their shared quest for justice.
Episode 16 of Tuzak is both a milestone in Ceren and Umut’s relationship, and a nod to modern love and passion on Turkish television. The closer Umut gets to achieving his goal, the more insecure Ceren becomes. In her mind, Umut will leave her when he has achieved justice for his brother and father, and the countless other injured parties. The iconic video clip below shows her deep insecurities and also shows Umut’s unrelenting effort to convince her of his sincerity.
Turkish television is monitored by Radio and Television Supreme Council known as RTUK, which levies heavy fines for what they consider unacceptable scenes (often love scenes). Most Turkish dizis are resigned to showing intimacy in the shadows, with longing looks, timid touches, and closed-mouthed kisses. Much to the surprise of the viewing audience (and perhaps RTUK), Tuzak broke this barrier in the final minutes of episode 16 in the midnight hour.
The scene in the video clip below, between Ceren and Umut tastefully depicts passion and desire between two willing adults. See for yourself and enjoy!
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