The protector: The first Turkish Netflix original

The protector: The first Turkish Netflix original

“The Protector” is the first ever original Turkish series by Netflix. The show was released on Netflix on Friday, December 14 and has become a hit all over the world since. More than 10 million households watched the show in its first four weeks.

Unlike most foreign productions about Turkey, the series feature many cultural and real-life themes and elements making the story even more enjoyable.

The protagonist of the series, Hakan (played by Cagatay Ulusoy), is a carpet salesman in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, where the drama unfolds.

Hakan’s life turns into a fascinating fable when he learns that he has special powers and is The Protector to save the city and its 15 million inhabitants.

Zeynep is teaching Hakan how to kick ass | Image courtesy of Netflix

Zeynep is teaching Hakan how to kick ass | Image courtesy of Netflix

With his talismanic shirt and his dagger, he is on a mission to defeat the lone surviving Immortal, who is out to destroy Istanbul.

What is the story behind that shirt?

In the series, it is briefly explained that Mehmed II (Fatih the conqueror) had worn the shirt to protect himself from the Immortal evil. Indeed, many other Ottoman or Turkic kings wore talismanic shirts which would be inscribed with verses from Quran, star of David, sword of Ali, names of God and of other prophets and with numbers.

The detail on each shirt is magnificent. The tailor would personalize the shirt for the wearer. From the selection of the Koranic verses, to the names of God and holy symbols were all personalised for the king or the prince the shirt was made for.

The tailor would inscribe the time and date as well as the astrological records on each shirt. The talismanic shirt that was made for the Ottoman prince Cem (son of Sultan Mehmed II) includes not only the exact date and time at which the construction of the shirt was begun, (30 March 1477, Tuesday, 12:36pm, the Sun in 19 degrees Aries), but also the exact date and time it was finished (29 March 1480, Sunday 3:57am, the Sun in 19 degrees Aries). Basically it took three years to complete Cem’s shirt.

The inscribed names were believed to be capable of offering protection and guidance to the wearer.
Ottoman kings wore these shirts during battles or sickness.

It is reported that Mehmed II had worn a shirt which looked like the shirt Hakan wears during the conquest of Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia is the perfect venue for The Protector

Hagia Sophia is a mysterious building with many conspiracy theories associated with it, which would make it just the ideal hideout premise for the sleeping immortals.

Once world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time, Hagia Sophia has many undiscovered tunnels, rooms and halls underneath.

From the date of its construction in 537 until the conquest of Istanbul by Ottomans in 1453, Hagia Sophia served as an Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Ottomans converted Hagia Sophia to a mosque with the conquest.

Hagia Sophia remained as the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

In the folk culture, Hagia Sophia is believed to be the venue for Jesus’s return. This makes it the ideal setting for a good vs evil story.

Okan Yalabik plays Mr. Erdem

Okan Yalabik plays Faysal Erdem. Yalabik is known for playing another ambitious character, Suleiman’s vizier Ibrahim in the Magnificient Century

Ambitious Faysal is so relevant

Faysal is the last remaining Immortal who amasses a huge fortune in a short amount of time. The story of Faysal is relevant in Turkey.

It is not unusual in Turkey to hear a new name of some mega-rich businessman every day who, just like Faysal, would be known to have started from zero and made a fortune in a short amount of time. Unlike the new class of the techno-rich like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, the new rich and wealthy in Turkey owe their wealth to their support to politicians – which makes the shady Faysal character very relevant.

The show's hero Hakan played by Cagatay Ulusoy | Image courtesy Netflix

The show’s hero Hakan played by Cagatay Ulusoy | Image courtesy Netflix

Will there be another series of The Protector on Netflix?

The cliffhanger ending signals Netflix’s intention for a second season. A release date has not been confirmed but it is set for sometime late 2019 according to Hurriyet

Season two will likely see Cagatay Ulusoy will likely return as the show’s leading man Hakan in the second season.

Hakan’s on-screen love interest Leyla (Ayca Aysin Turan) is also likely to reprise her role, having appeared in every episode of season one.

Hakan’s sidekick Zeynep (Hazar Erguclu) and his nemesis Faysal (Okan Yalabik) are also likely to return, as both had a 100 percent appearance record in season 1.

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