I’d never seen a Turkish drama, so I was curious to find out what all the fuss was about. And when The Tailor showed up on Netflix, I got the perfect opportunity to test the waters. Although the over-the-top dramatics and the long slow-motion shots were a bit too much for me personally, I can understand why it could be an easy and quick watch with a new twist every episode. With every episode ending on a cliffhanger, it is sure to hook you in and make you wonder what the secrets are. It is easy to predict what is going to happen somewhere around the midpoint of the series, so it brings down the excitement for the show a little bit. Nevertheless, the last episode is sort of rewarding in the sense that it leaves you wanting more (because we already have a trailer for Season 2).
Terzi, or The Tailor, is a Turkish series that follows a young man named Peyami and his best friend, Dimitri. They have been friends since school and label each other as blood brothers as adults. Peyami has a grand fashion atelier in Istanbul, whereas Dimitri looks like the sort to waste his parents’ money and exploit his privilege. Dimitri has a fiance who curiously disappears one day, so he begins to go mad over finding her. In the meantime, Peyami has his own secrets regarding his family. We soon find out how these three parallel stories intertwine and become one big mess.
The first thing I want to touch upon is that it is understandable that the series tries to address the discrimination against differently-abled people, but it comes across as overly dramatic and insensitive more often than it should, leaving no room for redemption. It is great that there has been more representation in recent years than ever before, but in this show, it isn’t able to do what it wants to. I do appreciate the attempt. With that aside, The Tailor is essentially a love triangle minus the romance and plus 1000 for family drama. With all the marketing material, The Tailor looks like a mysterious love story with a dark twist, but in reality, it’s a dozen mysteries, a bullet train of a love story, and the dark twist is the families of all three lead characters.
Let me explain: in every episode, some new mystery is revealed that may not have been on our minds, to begin with. “Love” happens suddenly and very quickly, essentially in the last 2 episodes of the season, with no pining or anticipation. Somehow these two characters, who don’t really care for each other, are madly in love and will give their lives for each other. Our attention spans are not that short just yet! The director is quick to establish that each of the families has a dark secret that they are hiding from the world (another one of those “rich people have no hearts” kind of plots). The actors do a great job keeping up with the story’s fast pace. Çagatay Ulusoy as Peyami is charming and a perfect leading man. Salih Bademci is absolutely despicable as Dimitri, and it looks like he had a lot of fun playing this character, leaving a scarring impression. Sifanur Gül is as beautiful and devoted as Esvet.
Olgun Simsek does his best to play a believable Mustafa and is the bright light of joy in many of the episodes. It might be the pacing of today that proves to be at fault for The Tailor turning out great. Sometimes it is very unclear how many days, hours, or even months and years have passed within a show due to the quick jumps in limited episodes. While there are no jumps at all in The Tailor, as I’ve mentioned numerous times already, the pacing makes it hollow and doesn’t leave a mark like old-school soaps. The overdramatization of certain parts makes it unbelievable that the show is based on true events. Mustafa only feels like a plot device as a kickoff for the twisted events to follow, leaving a sour taste in the mouth post-watching. Esvet’s character is especially exasperating as she manages to purposely put herself in positions that are easy to spiral out of with a massive crash. It’s just not fun watching her dig a hole for herself, and I wish it had been something new instead.
The themes of the show are lackluster and lean heavily on the same old tropes of yesteryear. The true story the show is based on comes from a book published in 2011 named “Hayata Dön” by author Gülseren Budaycolu, who is a psychiatrist and writer. According to many, the story is based on no true events that she may have witnessed, but the writer, of course, isn’t interested in disclosing anything about the people involved in the books. I can imagine how this would be a great book to read, but as with many previous adaptations, the plot may be lost in translation. Along with Mustafa, Peyami himself has some trouble with anxiety, which appears and disappears as and when it seems fit to push the story across the next twist. I’m surprised I remember that part myself. Along with this, there is the subject of orphans, jealousy between friends, abusive parents, discrimination against the differently-abled, and sexual and mental abuse. I’m not even sure I covered the whole list, and yet, all of these topics are barely mentioned and then moved on from. Still, without a doubt, Terzi is entertaining if you’re looking for some background noise while working, as it has a straightforward plot. You won’t be missing much if you miss five minutes because of some of the extra-long scenes where the camera lingers on one character who can’t deal with life anymore. The Tailor has mild to moderate profanity, some sexual content, and a showcase of abuse (mental and physical), so the viewer’s discretion is advised. If, like me, you’re interested in seeing the works of a different country, then you can give The Tailor a try, provided you’re susceptible to copious amounts of drama and twists.
I’d give The Tailor 2.5 out of 5 stars for effort and a possible improvement in season 2. Although the trailer makes one anticipate even more drama and bleakness rather than a light at the end of the tunnel.