The new police drama series ‘Halka (The Ring) premiered on Tuesday, January 15th on TRT1. Starring Serkan Çayoğlu, Hande Erçel, Kaan Yıldırım, Hazal Subaşı, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan and Nazan Kesal. Directed by Volkan Kocatürk.

‘A new life. A new war.’
Two young men will come together by fate and mere coincidence, face obstacles and struggles as they try to destroy the dark world dominated by mafia, money and schemes. They will ask account for the past, dirty cases, including the small and big lies.

Episode 1 started with such a thrilling opening scene, I was so amazed by this scene which showcases the murder of Eren Karalubut which took place 25 years ago. Then it jumps to the present where Cemal a police commissioner is talking about this case to several police officers including Bahar. He tells them exactly what occurred moments before Eren was murdered. That Eren went to the warehouse with money to give in exchange for his baby son. However as we saw in that scene, things got complicated for Eren. No only was he killed but it a tragic murder as well. I must admit, the music and the cinematography was just amazing in the opening scene and throughout the entire episode. Especially when the car flipped over and crashed. Then he says that after when the got to the crime scene, Eren was killed the money was gone but those men left a baby in the back of the seat. The interesting part is that baby in the car is not the same baby that Eren went to get in exchange for the money. Those bad men switched the babies. Hümeyra (Eren Karabulut’s wife did not say anything to the police she took the baby even though he was not her baby that was taken. But she took him and raised him. We see a flashback of young Hümeyra with the baby looking very distraught. The question that viewers ask and even Bahar is why Hümeyra took the baby even though it was not hers and raised him up? I was very curious about that. So maybe this baby is Eren’s baby with another woman? That is one possibility after watching the first episode. Or he is the baby of another family?

Kaan Karabulut is the baby that was found in the car 25 years ago. This is the boy that Hümeyra loves and raised up. At the start of the episode, he is shown in prison serving a 5-year sentence for theft. He has a great sense of humour as well.

“Why are we talking about this case 25 years later? Why is it important?” Cemal says to Bahar and the other 6 police officers. It about the red DVD that was sent to prison for Kaan to view. It shows exactly the murder of Eren Karalubut and the voice says exactly the three men that were behind the murder. Ercan, İskender with the order from İlhan Tepeli. However, the voice did not mention anything about the babies being switched. They just want Kaan to avenge his father’s murder. Before the police let Kaan watch it, the police watched it including Cemal. Then Kaan watched it in prison. Who send it? That is the mystery question. No one knows. Not the characters and not the viewers. Cemal showed the DVD to Bahar and the other police officers. He tells them he is not just going after İlhan Tepeli but all of those in the ‘HALKA’ organization. He comes up with a plan to involve Kaan in their operation to take down İlhan and to get close to destroy ‘HALKA’.

We first see Kaan Karabulut in prison and Bahar and Cemal went to visit him. His attitude is really something. Cemal offers Kaan a ‘new life’ a deal he cannot refuse. He gets out of prison early, he will get a chance to avenge his father’s murder and catch those that murdered him while working with the police. Although there are restrictions, it takes a while but Kaan accepts the deal. Cemal tells Kaan that he will have to earn the trust of İlhan Tepeli’s son Cihangir and work beside him to learn their moves and plans. Kaan tells them that he wants to involve and inform his mother Hümeyra about this matter. Cemal says its fine but he cannot tell her about the DVD. They give him all the information he needs.

That was the first DVD, the other red DVD was sent to Cihangir Tepeli. We first saw the DVD in Cihangir’s car. He ended up watching the DVD in his bedroom alone. In this video, its pretty much the same as the one Kaan watched. Same voice but slightly different words, this one tells Cihangir that he is the son of Eren Karalubut and that İskender and İlhan got his ‘real’ father murdered. I found this line very interesting, “You are not the son of İlhan Tepel and you call your father’s killer ‘father'”. What is intriguing about this scene is that Cihangir in a way did not seem surprised it like he is already been suspicious of his family the Tepeli’s. He lives alone in his own house and Nurten cooks and takes care of the house for him and he visits his family often, Gülay and İlhan Tepeli. Now we (the viewers) understand that Cihangir is the baby of Eren Karalubut and Hümeyra. The one that was switched with Kaan 25 years ago. The voice did mention that İlhan got Eren killed and then İlhan took him and raised him up.

Even though Cihangir Tepeli does not know much about the ‘HALKA’ organization but he is connected to it. He works for his father in their business of trades and exports. His close friend is Adem who also works for him. He seems to be the guy who helps his friends out of trouble or tough situations. The scene when Cihangir first saw Müjde, he did not know who she is. He helped his friend/football player Hakan. He called Cihangir because he thought she died but she was only sick. Adem takes Müjde to the hospital as requested from Cihangir but she was unconscious.

The following day, Cihangir cannot stop thinking about that DVD that he watched. It seems like he will begin to investigate the information he received about the murder of Eren Karabulut (his real father) and he maybe he will see that he has been right in his suspicions. While he eats breakfast with Adem and Nurten. When Cihangir asked Adem about what happened to the girl and if he found any information about her. Cihangir was shocked to learn that the girl he saved is the daughter of İskender Akay. Adem tells him that ‘her name is Müjde’. Cihangir knows İskender from his father and it’s one of the names he heard on that DVD. Although his father hates him.

İskender Akay is a businessman, he owns a restaurant and has a young daughter in her early 20s named Müjde. However, he deals with the dirty business it seems. He is a funny and interesting character. I found the scene when he went to İlhan’s house very interesting. It was action-packed and mysterious. İlhan and Gülay were not pleased to see him. We are not sure of what exactly happened between them but İskender used to work for İlhan they had a fall-out and then started his own business. It seems these two are definitely involved in the ‘HALKA’ organization. To irritate İlhan, İskender speaks to Cihangir and offers to have him work for him instead of working for his father. İlhan and Gülay do not like seeing their son speaking with Cihangir. Another mystery, they are hiding something for sure. Cihangir wonders why İskender visited his parents out of sudden, İlhan tells him that İskender just wants to destroy their business and they have an upcoming business deal and he is worried that İskender might ruin it. In a way, it feels like İlhan feels threatened by İskender. Cihangir refuses İskender’s work offer.

Bahar does not trust or believe Kaan. She tells Cemal to not involve Kaan in their operation but he says to give Kaan a chance and that he could be very beneficial to them. He tells Bahar to keep an eye out on him at all times and to leave him alone. Bahar is a good policewoman, she loves her job and she respects Commissioner Cemal and Chief Altan. We see that Bahar works for both Commissioner Cemal and Chief Altan. She respects and trusts both of them. But it seems like Chief Altan has some kind of history with Commissioner Cemal. He tells Bahar to be suspicious of everyone even Cemal and that surprises Bahar very much. He tells her to keep informing him about Cemal and the operation and even Kaan. This Chief Altan is suspicious, I wonder if he is part of the ‘HALKA’ organization.

In Ankara, Bahar picks up Kaan from prison and takes him to Istanbul. The scene in the cafe was amusing. Kaan a very interesting character. Then Kaan reunites with his mother Hümeyra in Istanbul. Despite what Cemal and Bahar said, he did tell his mother Hümeyra about the DVD and that it mentioned the names of his father’s and her husband’s killers. Bahar got angry but nonetheless, her and Cemal end up telling Hümeyra about this operation and a new opportunity for Kaan to take down his father’s killers. Hümeyra offers to help, to get Kaan inside İlhan Tepeli’s world/business. She tells them that she will visit the Tepeli’s. We can tell that Bahar does not like Kaan, I’m sure that will change later on. Towards the end of the episode, we learn that Bahar is an orphan. She tells Kaan that she grew up in boarding schools, she does not exactly where she is from. Her parents died in a car accident when she was very young and then her grandfather and aunt. She is very closed-up, she follows the rules.

In episode 1 we (the viewers) learn that Cihangir recently suffered from insomnia and can only sleep by looking at a photo (mural) in an isolated sound-proofed room. That is if he manages to get any sleep. Maybe this is why we saw him with lots of water in episode 1. That is another mystery, what caused his insomnia? He only had it for a few years. Another question that viewers ask after watching this episode is what is with that photo in his bedroom? Is it reminiscent of his childhood? Cihangir is an interesting character. Another character that we get introduced to is İrem. She is his supposedly his fiancee but it really does not look like that. İrem is not happy, we learn from her that Cihangir was abroad for a while and that he has changed since he got back. It’s not clear how long Cihangir has been suffering from insomnia. The scene at the restaurant, İrem tells Cihangir that he has changed a lot and that their relationship was better before he went abroad. Cihangir looks tired due to his insomnia. It seems like he cares for İrem but does not love her.

I liked the scene when Cihangir and Müjde officially met. It’s not the usual typical encounter between the lead female character and the lead male character. He apologized to her for the misunderstanding between Hakan from the night before. She recognized his voice even though she did not see him. Later he drove her home that is when he encountered her father İskender and his guards outside in the rainy weather near İskender’s restaurant. She playfully messed with her father and Cihangir. It was funny when Müjde kept yelling ‘I’m not coming home, father’. Her father İskender’s reaction was hilarious he yelled for her to come over and to embarrass him. Cihangir was confused, he had no idea was Müjde is messing with him like that. İskender was pretty angry at Cihangir and Cihangir tried to explain the situation but İskender would not listen.

The next day, Hümeyra went to visit her ‘old friends’ Gülay and İlhan Tepeli whom she had not seen in years. I was surprised at their conversation it seems like they were very good friends in the past. But another mystery, other than the murder of Eren Karalubut something happened that separated them. Gülay was surprised but happy to see Hümeyra, she asked Hümeyra how she is doing and if she ever remarried. Hümeyra said she did not get married again and that she raised her son and worked. Even İlhan when he saw Hümeyra, he was surprised too. Is he reacting like that because he is really is the one behind Eren’s murder? Or maybe there is something that happened? Maybe it’s about Kaan and Cihangir? She tells them that her son Kaan just got out of prison and she is hoping that İlhan would help him get a job. This is her way of helping with the operation to get Kaan ‘inside’. They tell her that Cihangir would be able to get a job for Kaan in their business. I found it strange how quickly Cihangir’s name was brought up. It seems like Gülay really wants the two boys to meet. Does she know that Cihangir and Kaan Kaan were switched as babies? Interesting that İlhan did not go against that idea. He tells Hümeyra that they would be glad to help. I really liked this scene, it was so interesting.

Coincidentally Cihangir saw Hümeyra as she left his parents house. He wondered who she is as he saw her talking to his mother. Adem tells him that women is ‘Hümeyra Karabulut’. Cihangir is a bit surprised and confused by her visit. He remembers the DVD. Inside their house, Cihangir hears his mother and father arguing and saying something about the past. They stopped as soon as they saw him. He asks them “who that woman was’ and they do not lie. They tell him that she is an old friend and that her husband Eren Karabulut was a good friend of İlhan. Serkan was surprised because he did not they were old friends. Then İlhan says to Cihangir that Eren got killed and no one knows who killed him and that he was a troubled man. They tell Cihangir that Hümeyra came because she was looking for a job for her soon. So they tell him to help her son who recently got out of jail. Cihangir continues to ask great questions, he was very curious. After a few questions, his father realized that Cihangir was asking too many questions.

Meanwhile, Kaan went to an auto repair shop to get his car and some belongings. He met with his old friend whom he calls ‘Uncle doctor’ real name is Tamirci. Kaan tells him that he will make the people that set him up to pay for they did, he wants vengeance. The scene when he found his car destroyed with the ‘HALKA’ symbol inside was so funny. Especially when he jumped on it due to his frustration.

Towards the end, Cihangir received a threatening call from İskender. He has İrem and he wants money from the deal that he lost to Cihangir 9 million. İskender says that Cihangir should not have involved his daughter. İskender wants payback and money. Cihangir was so frustrated and surprised. Then the time came when Cihangir and Kaan met. A great scene indeed. Adem was so funny, he wonders how Cihangir can trust Kaan that easily. Cihangir probably things that Kaan is his stepbrother. Unlike Adem, Cihangir has no trouble trusting Kaan. He asks for his help and tells him what to do. I found it so interesting that the episode ended at the exact location of the first scene of the episode. But the events are 25 years apart. The ending was confusing but I loved it. Especially from the point of view of Cihangir as he remembers what he saw on that DVD. While Kaan also wonders of this big coincidence, he is at the same place that he saw on the DVD. The place where his father got murdered. He then saw the big ‘HALKA’ symbol on the wall. We see some men and İrem and then many shots get fired. Shockingly we see that Bahar as she takes photos from far away. She ended up following Kaan even though Commissioner Cemal told her not to, the words of Chief Altan got stuck in her head.

For the 10 minutes, I was literally on the edge of my seat. I could not stop watching. The first episode of HALKA was really great and action-packed. The ending was confusing and the episode left us asking so many questions. That is their intention as the producer and director have mentioned. That this series Halka is not supposed to be easy to understand, it is supposed to confuse us. We as viewers are supposed to be asking questions and getting confusing and also feeling the suspense. I must admit the music and the cinematography are just beautiful. Those and the scenario make the series that much better and of course the cast. The ‘Halka’ cast is greatly chosen from the young new players to the veteran players. Cihangir and Kaan will take viewers on an unstoppable adventure trying to destroy the dark world, a 40-year criminal organization ‘HALKA’. With tricks from the police and detectives which includes a big operation, Cihangir and Kaan, two completely different men will uncover mysteries and secrets from the past.

Halka~ (The Ring) is the name of this big bad mafia organization.

Serkan Çayoğlu (Cihangir)
Kaan Yıldırım (Kaan)
Hande Erçel (Müjde)
Hazal Subaşı (Bahar)
Nazan Kesal (Hümeyra)
Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan (Cemal)
Burak Sergen (İlhan)
Umut Karadağ (İskender)
Dilan Telkök (İrem)
Deniz Hamzaoğlu (Adem)
Funda Anika İlhan (Gülay)

You can watch the episodes live every Tuesday night at 8 pm Turkish time on TRT1 

Written By – Raghad A.K



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