I had some time to flip through Netflix this weekend, and I was immediately drawn to this drama. Time travel, mystery, a country on the edge of revolution, and Agatha Christie? Sign me up! I marathon-watched this drama in one day, which was easy since it’s only eight episodes.
Based on the critically acclaimed Charles King novel, this series discusses the rise of modern-day Turkey, specifically, those who helped make the city into the amazing place it is today. Esra is a journalist looking for her next big story. She sets off to visit the Pera Palace, an esteemed hotel in Istanbul known for both its intriguing history and its mysterious supernatural happenings. One fateful night, Esra is suddenly sent back to the past, finding herself in 1919. There, she meets all sorts of key figures from the past, including Mr. Halit, who isn’t just the key to Esra returning to the present but is also the key to ensuring the election of Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal, comes to pass. How will Esra keep the past the same to prevent the future from changing? We’ll have to tune in to find out.—Netflix
Esra is our modern-day heroine. A journalist, she marches to the beat of her own drum, never satisfied with a simple assignment. She is tasked with writing an article about the anniversary of the Pera Palace Hotel, but she wants to know more about this beautiful, old building. When she hears a story about a key that will take you to another time, she is fascinated. When she is transported back to 1919, her life is intertwined with that of a woman who looks just like her, Peride.
Ahmet is the manager of the modern-day Pera Palace. He meets Esra on a dark and stormy night when she comes to write her story about the hotel. He regales her with a tale about the room Agatha Christie once stayed in, and about the rooms that make people disappear. When Esra disappears from her room, he goes looking for her. He knows the secret of the hotel, and he travels to 1919 to help her.
Halit is a man with many secrets. He runs a speakeasy, and he seems to be in cahoots with the Nazi soldiers who have come to Turkey. Halit and Esra have an uneasy relationship and a spark that neither can deny.
This story is absolutely in the style of Agatha Christie. The tale is tightly woven, and each episode holds your interest with unexpected twists and turns. I felt like the plot stayed strong throughout with few plot holes. I loved the Agatha Christie connection; she stayed at the hotel and supposedly wrote part of Murder on the Orient Express in room 411. Esra stays in room 411 at the hotel and has a chance encounter with Agatha Christie in 1919. I appreciated that this story was woven using real historical events. By including real people like Mustafa Kemal, it adds to the intrigue. The future and freedom of Turkey are hanging by a thread, and any deviation from the original timeline may result in a future where there are no Turkish people. Esra is someone who has never really been responsible to anyone but herself, and now she has to save Peride’s family and her country.
Should You Watch?
If you love Agatha Christie, murder mysteries, time travel, stories about saving a country, and doppelgangers, the answer is a resounding yes. It does end on a cliffhanger, and I’m hoping for a second season. This drama checked all the boxes and left me wanting to know more about the story. I found this gem on Netflix, and I highly encourage you to watch it and leave a comment about what you thought.
Until the next time jump,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi