In Netflix’s newest drama, a woman seeks out her husband to tell him the news of their child’s death. As her quest progresses, she ends up becoming an invisible killer who falls deeper and deeper into trouble.
Netflix’s newest Turkish drama, Fatma, is topping the charts in Turkey, where it was released on April 27, 2021, along with the rest of the world. The six-part miniseries focuses on Fatma, a housewife abandoned by her husband, and charts her transformation from victim to empowered woman.
The gripping drama, written by Ozgur Onurme and directed by Ozer Feyzioglu and Ozgur Onurme, marks a star turn for actor Burcu Biricik, who shines in her role as Fatma. Displaying at equal turns a facade of panic, stoicism, and regret, she makes the series compelling as the central character.
The series starts with an interrogation scene, where police demand to know who killed two men as Fatma sits blankly. It’s not much of a giveaway to say that Fatma has already been arrested for some murders, as the scene flashes back to her as a cleaner looking for her husband who has been released from prison.
But what drives Fatma? As the six-episode series progresses, viewers learn more about her with each interaction she has with the mean men that surround her. Mean, with the exception of three: the author, the young attorney Sidar at the Argah Law Firm who tries to help her, and the truck driver who drops her off on the way to her village.
Fatma works as a cleaning lady for the author, played by famed Turkish actor Ugur Yucel, who is kind to her despite showing a grumpy facade to others. He notices her being out of sorts, sits her down to ask her how she is, and is willing to entertain her autistic son that she brings with her to work.
The rest of the men in the series do not fare so well. There is Bayram (Mehmet Yilmaz Ak), her husband Zafer’s one time employer, allegedly an auto dealer, who is more mafia than not. And Yusuf, his henchman, who is supposed to kill her once she tells him where Bayram’s gun is.
There is Ismail, her landlord and neighbour, who breaks her glass door down in a drunken haze seeking sexual favours from her, now that she is seen as a single woman with no husband to protect her.
There is Ekber, played by celebrated percussionist and actor Burhan Ocal, who is the head of a mafia organisation, and likes to torture women as he snorts cocaine.
Fatma’s husband Zafer (Ferit Kaya), who is missing for most of the episodes, is perhaps less one-dimensional: a weak man who is lured by money and the promise of a simple life back in the village, who can no longer handle being in Istanbul after he gets out of prison, to go back to a wife who is shattered by the death of their child.
At the beginning of the series Fatma is a reluctant killer, shooting men with a gun she borrows from Bayram’s safe. Her first stop is Sevket’s office, where he growls that he will tear her husband Zafer to pieces when he finds him because of the debt he owes. She raises a gun to protect herself, then bam! Sevket is dead.
She goes back to Bayram to tell him the news, and soon is caught in a web of intrigue and killings she cannot get out of. The more she tries to extricate herself, the more she finds herself deeply entrenched in a quagmire.
Bayram pressures her to deliver drugs that will kill Ekber, the head mafioso, which she does. Instead, she decides not to wait for the drugs to do their job and takes matters into her own hands after a heated exchange with Ekber’s moll.
She then disposes of a man who knows of her murders by pushing him under a train, and similarly pushes her stalker, neighbour and landlord Ismail from the 17th floor of a construction site to his death.
As the body count mounts, she grows from a desperate killer to a determined woman, seeking justice for her son’s death and looking for her deadbeat husband who, it turns out, has accepted a settlement for their son and skipped town to go back to their village.
Along the way, we also meet Fatma’s estranged sister Emine, who goes by the fancier name Mine now that she’s left the village behind; Kadriye, Ismail’s wife, who tells Fatma of their plans to sell the house Fatma lives in; and the convenience store cashier, who calls the cops on Fatma and Yusuf after witnessing him being rough with her.
The six-part miniseries is worth watching, and can be streamed on Netflix easily in a one- or two-day binge. With each episode clocking under an hour, the series introduces a rich cast of characters and allows the viewer to witness a woman’s transformation, even when that transformation inevitably leads to a sombre ending.