‘Hit & Run’ is an Israeli Netflix action-drama series that centers on Segev Azulai, a tour guide whose life is turned upside down when his wife is killed in a sudden and brutal accident. The grieving husband’s journey into investigating his wife’s death forms the show’s narrative and proves to be a veritable Pandora’s box of international espionage and vengeful violence. Segev’s own turbulent past is also slowly revealed, making the story all the more layered. Parts of the show seem like outright fiction, while some of the situations portrayed feel like they take inspiration from real people and events. We decided to investigate just how much of the gritty Israeli show ‘Hit & Run’ is based on a true story, and here’s what we found out.
Is Hit and Run Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Hit & Run’ is not based on a true story. The show is the brainchild of Lior Raz and journalist Avi Issacharoff, who are also the co-creators of the popular Israeli television series ‘Fauda.’ They had the idea for what would eventually become ‘Hit & Run’ about 6 years before the series actually got made. Following their success with ‘Fauda,’ the two pitched the idea to Netflix and were paired up with Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich and a team of writers that included Jessica Brickman and Ali Selim. This resulted in their idea being developed sooner than expected into a full-fledged series.
Despite the story being fictional, the co-creators draw from their deep experience to inform the show’s serpentine plot. Both have spent time enlisted in the Israeli armed forces, and Avi’s reporting career has brought him close to the action on multiple occasions. Lior was also part of Unit 217, the elite counter-terrorism outfit of the Israeli special forces. Like the character of Segev that he essays, he was a highly trained commando. Therefore, his actual persona and the one he portrays on ‘Hit & Run’ have similarities that undoubtedly give the show and his character a feeling of authenticity.
There is still more of Lior’s life that he has taken inspiration from. The show’s explosive narrative is set off by the death of Segev’s wife in a brutal hit and run accident. The show’s co-creator and lead actor seemingly drew from his own painful experience of losing a partner, which likely informs much of the story’s emotional arc. Lior’s girlfriend of 3 years was fatally stabbed in Jerusalem in 1990. Her name, Iris Azulai, is touchingly carried over to the show, whose lead character is named Segev Azulai. In writing the show, Lior relived the emotional toll of his devastating loss in real life. Issacharoff, on the other hand, was deeply affected by the loss of his father.
Lastly, the choice for the American leg of the story being set in New York City also finds its roots in Lior’s past experiences as the former commando-turned-creator found himself in the Big Apple in his younger days. In the crowded streets, surrounded by skyscrapers on all sides, he most likely felt lost and claustrophobic, a feeling that he has attempted to impart to his character Segev when he arrives in the city looking for his wife’s killers. The stark cultural differences between Israel and America are also hinted at in how out of place Segev looks and feels during his time in New York.
Raz explained, “We understand what loss is. Writing is a healing process for us and we write from the heart.” Consequently, it comes as no surprise that ‘Hit & Run’ — a show whose center of gravity is the very concept of loss (and grief) — is a fictional story crafted to entertain audiences with its twists and layered characters. However, the narrative also draws significant heft from the show’s creators, who have both lived through some very intense experiences and have used them to enrich their production, making it feel gritty and authentic.
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