'Baghdad Central' Preview: A thrilling and heartbreaking tale of Iraq's war days through the journey of a father

'Baghdad Central' Preview: A thrilling and heartbreaking tale of Iraq's war days through the journey of a father
(Channel 4)

Spoilers for 'Baghdad Central'

Iraq needs change, Sawsan al-Khafaji (Leem Lubany) says at the beginning of the series just before the US-led coalition lands. But will it solve their country's problems? Sawsan's father Muhsin al-Khafaji (Waleed Zuaiter), an ex-Iraqi policeman, wonders for some time before saying, "It will solve nothing."

Sawsan dreams of living in a democratic state — a state with freedom, a state where people have the right to make their own decisions, the agency to live freely. But her father isn't all that convinced. Neither is her extended family. In fact, they prefer to turn to television channels to avoid contending on the controversial topic that is Saddam Hussein.

Barely a minute later, bombs are dropped and the US-led coalition starts its attack on Iraq.

'Baghdad Central' is a six-part series that tells the story of freedom and war. In the midst of this chaos, Muhsin, who has lost everything, is fighting to keep himself and his sick daughter Mrouj (July Namir) safe.

Our story begins with the disappearance of Muhsin's estranged elder daughter Sawsan. To find a missing Sawsan, Muhsin finds himself in the midst of a criminal, violent, desperate hunt against all odds. However, he is not fully prepared for what is about to come his way.

He soon finds out that he did not know Sawsan like he imagined he did. Sawsan and her two close friends Sanaa (Nora El Koussour) and Zahra (Maisa Abd Elhadi) have been leading a hidden life this whole time — a life that has brought them to the gates of danger.

In a case of mistaken identity, Muhsin is taken hostage and tortured. At his lowest, he meets Frank Temple, an ex-police officer played by double Olivier Award-winner Bertie Carvel. Temple comes all the way from Britain to rebuild the Iraqi Police force from the ground up. For this job, he needs people like Muhsin, honest Iraqis who wish to make the country their own.

(Channel 4)

And so, Temple recruits Muhsin to give his operation some local credibility. Temple's nemesis, American military police captain John Parodi, played by Golden Globe-nominated Corey Stoll, has different plans in store forMuhsin.  What the two of them don't know is that Muhsin is driven by his own reasons to collaborate with the occupying forces.

Resistance in his journey also comes from security op Douglas Evans (Neil Maskell), who provides a terrifying counterforce to Muhsin's efforts of finding his daughter.

Muhsin soon discovers that his daughter's disappearance happens to be linked to the murder of an American employee. In order to get closer to finding out what happened with his daughter, Muhsin gets involved in the murder investigation. However, he soon finds himself embarking on the deadly quest for justice in a society that’s become truly lawless.

'Baghdad Central' is a thrilling story about the 2003 US-led military action on Iraq told through the country's own people. Scandalous and heartbreaking in parts, the show is guided by the strong direction of Alice Troughton and Ben A Williams. Adapted from the novel by Elliott Colla, the six-part series is a nail-biter. 

All episodes of 'Baghdad Central' are currently streaming on Hulu.

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