×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mipcom: Keshet Waves Thriller ‘False Flag’ at Buyers

Amit Cohen was working as a journalist for the Israeli daily newspaper Ma’aariv when the news broke: a Hamas leader wanted for the deaths of a number of Israelis had been assassinated in Dubai, but the covert operation had been botched, and now the identities of a number of Israeli spies looked to be compromised.

It was 2010, and as Ma’ariv’s Arab Affairs correspondent, Cohen was used to covering stories of intrigue and uprising across the Middle East. He had pounded pavement during both intifadas, had reported from the frontlines of Israel’s controversial pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and was now neck-deep in stories about the ever-explosive Arab Spring.

But something about the Dubai assassination felt different. A team of traveling spies take out a top-ranked terrorist, but in doing so reveal their cover: forged passports based on the real identities of totally unwitting Israelis back at home. What must it be like, Cohen though, to wake up one morning and see your passport splashed across the news, suddenly linked to a notorious international crime?

Five years later, Cohen teamed up with producer Maria Feldman (“Homeland,” “Fauda”) to explore that very idea. The result is “False Flag,” a new drama from Israeli media giant Keshet Intl.. The series, which was snapped up by France’s Canal Plus this month and will lead KI’s offerings at Mipcom, follows five ordinary citizens who suddenly find themselves — or at least their identities — embroiled in a high-profile internationalassassination.

False Flag,” which had its global debut at the Berlinale’s inaugural Special Series section and won the Grand Prize at Series Mania, will bow in Israel on Keshet Broadcasting this winter.

Cohen, who also penned Keshet Intl.’s spy thriller “Gordin Cell,” is quick to insist that while the show’s premise spun out of the Dubai assassination, its plot is entirely original.

“We’re not telling a true story — it’s just an opening scene,” he tells Variety. “We want to see how far we can push it, how far we can go with it, and along the way tell the story of these characters, many of whom are inspired by real people, some of them totally ordinary and some of the more or less ordinary.”

The action of “False Flag” kicks off on an ordinary Israeli morning, with five Israelis — a chemist, a bride-to-be, a British immigrant, a daycare worker and a traveling backpacker — suddenly finding themselves shocked to realize their identities are the subject of every single news broadcast in the country. All five are being fingered as players in the assassination of the Iranian Defense Minister while on a secret visit to Moscow, and even worse, not a single one of them seems to have a solid alibi.

Keshet created “Prisoners of War,” the Israeli predecessor to “Homeland,” and whether or not “False Flag” will be their next major international hit remains to be seen. Ahead of Mipcom, Cohen is quietly confident. “The conflicts are universal,” he says. “The feeling that this is something that could happen to you — audiences can relate to it.”

More TV

  • American dollars bills and coinsAmerican cash,

    Entertainment Biz Comes Under Fire for Assistants' Low Wages, Working Conditions

    It’s no secret that many assistants in Hollywood bear heavy workloads for low pay. But the entertainment industry’s labor practices when it comes to those workers have now become the subject of intense social-media scrutiny. TV writer and WGA board member Liz Alper shone a light on the issue Monday with the creation of the [...]

  • Megyn Kelly

    Tucker Carlson Plans Megyn Kelly Interview on Fox News Channel

    Megyn Kelly is returning to Fox News Channel – briefly. Tucker Carlson has scheduled an interview Wednesday with the former Fox News and NBC News anchor, who will make her first appearance on her former employer’s programming since leaving in early 2017. The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment would also mark Kelly’s first appearance on a [...]

  • Picture shows: Gemma Foster (SURANNE JONES)

    India's Hotstar to Remake BBC Thriller 'Doctor Foster'

    Hit BBC thriller “Doctor Foster” is to be remade in India following the sale of the scripted format to streaming platform Hotstar Specials. Disney-owned Hotstar has collaborated with BBC Studios to adapt the series for Indian audiences. Indian filmmakers Tigmanshu Dhulia and Aijza Khan are directing the show, which is yet to be titled and [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Watch Signs Content Pact With France's M6, Unveils European Short-Form Slate

    Facebook Watch has inked a content pact with French channel M6 and unveiled a slate of short-form content from European digital publishers for the platform. The deal with M6 will see the French broadcaster place spinoff programming from some of its hit shows on Facebook Watch. M6 will run pre- and after-show clips, interviews, and [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops ‘Marvelous

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Releases ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 3 Trailer

    In today TV’s news roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases the Season 3 trailer for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Showtime announces Celeste Barber’s standup special premiere date.  DATES Showtime’s forthcoming comedy special “Celeste Barber: Challenge Accepted” will air Nov. 1.  This marks Barber’s televised standup debut. She is best-known for her viral Instagram hashtag #celestechallengedaccepted. [...]

  • Tom Succession

    'Succession': Matthew Macfadyen on the Status of 'Tomelette' After Season 2 Finale

    Matthew Macfadyen hasn’t even seen the second season finale of “Succession” yet, but says he wasn’t surprised by how it ended when he read the script. Over the course of the series, Macfadyen’s character Tom has suffered at the expense of the Roy family on personal and professional levels. Will he turn a new leaf [...]

  • Jason Sudeikis Apple

    Jason Sudeikis Sets Ted Lasso Comedy Series at Apple

    Jason Sudeikis is bringing his Ted Lasso character to Apple’s upcoming streaming service. Variety has learned that Apple TV Plus has given a series order to “Ted Lasso,” on which Sudeikis will star in addition to writing and executive producing. In the series, Sudeikis plays Lasso, an idealistic all-American football coach hired to manage an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content