‘Palace Spies’ is a Turkish historical drama set in 18th Century Istanbul during the Ottoman-Persian War. The series follows Khalil, a wrestler whose father was an Ottoman spy in the Persian court. Upon his discovery and death he sends his son to Istanbul to warn the Sultan and unravel the treacherous mysteries occurring within the palace walls.
Sultan Ahmed III is faced with war after refusing the demands of the Persian Shah to return their land, but before it breaks out on the battlefield it wages within the palace walls. Persian spies have infiltrated the palace in an attempt to overthrow his regime from the inside and have wormed their way into the highest political positions with disastrous consequences.
This Turkish historical drama series is a gripping viewing experience full of compelling performances which keeps the audience in suspense, mistrustful of every secretly passed note and furtive glance. Corrupt politicians turned traitors and rebels heighten the intensity of the programme, as everyone vies for personal power in a political climate that becomes increasingly complicated and dangerous by the day.
This corruption and strife is not simply limited to within the palace walls, as through political sabotage the people are starving and civil unrest is brewing and Khalil is faced with more and more challenges to overcome in his quest for peace. Whether facing enemies motivated by greed, personal ambition or hatred of the corrupt government, the mounting pressures make for an intense and riveting viewing experience that is action-packed and full of surprises.
The series begins with Khalil fleeing his home in the wake of his father’s death and promising to go to Istanbul and save the city from invasion. From the moment he arrives danger lurks behind every corner as he tries to figure who he can trust whilst the spies and their henchmen conspire to stop him by any means necessary and bring about the war.
Khalil begins to understand the full extent of the corruption when he uncovers a plot to assassinate the grand vizier, an action which would send the country into chaos and allow the invasion to commence. Khalil must befriend his enemies in order to protect the empire, acting as a double-agent after being tasked by the grand vizier himself with wheedling out the spies and bringing them to justice. However the corrupt lords of the court are hot on his heels, making it a race between who can solve the mystery fastest and uncover the truth.
A key concern and driver of the action are the strains being put on the one thing that used to unite the two empires, their Islam. The desire to divide the two Islamic states is representative of the splintering of religious ideology and the beginning of the end of the golden age of Muslim empires. This Turkish historical drama series represents a key part of Islamic history retold in a way that truly captures the high-stakes atmosphere of the time.
This series is a gripping watch full of action, conspiracy and romance. It is a beautifully shot and extravagantly costumed, creating a well-rounded and rich viewing experience modern audience have come to expect from historical dramas. This programme is an exhilarating viewing experience that pulls the audience into this critical time in Islamic history, a binge-able historical drama of the highest quality.
Alchemiya has a selection of Turkish historical feature films which are spiritually-uplifting and full of action and adventure, such as The Last Seljuk Hero, Yunus Emre, Somuncu Baba – The Master Baker, Suveydâ and Free Man.
You may also enjoy our selection of other must-watch historical drama series from the Muslim world.