Based on true stories from Egyptian Intelligence files, El A’edoun (The Returnees) series explores the notion of recycling terrorism and exporting it to Egypt through the returnees from ISIS, how they were prepared there in order to return to Egypt and the Middle East to terrorism, and most importantly how the Egyptian state effectively faced this challenge with a proactive and preemptive plan.
The series gives us an in-depth look into the work of Egyptian Intelligence through officers Omar (Amir Karara) and Nabil (Mahmoud Abdel Moghny) in addition to aide Nadine (Amina Khalil).
Written by Baher Dewidar, directed by Ahmed Nader Galal and produced by Saadi-Gohar production company, El A’edoun presents a number of well-crafted master scenes that have made waves on social media.
Among these is was when Head of the General Egyptian intelligence assigned his team to work on the “returnees from ISIS” file and not to wait to see ISIS fighters entering Egypt carrying out tasks that will destabilize the country.
But arguably the most talked-about scene is that where Egyptian agent Hussein (Mohamed Farag) is burned alive by ISIS.
Farag, who appeared as a guest of honor, provided an impressive and credible performance that moved viewers to tears.
The masterful scene was able to highlight Hussein’s strong belief in God and his cause, and at the same time it entrenched the brutality of ISIS as they burned him alive.
The ISIS leader gave an order to burn Hussein alive after he failed to reach an agreement with him to record a video in which he disavows those he worked with and declares his repentance to leave him alive, but Hussein refused.
The execution scene reminded viewers of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh who was captured and burned to death by ISIS after his F-16 fighter aircraft crashed over Syria.
After the incident Omar vows to save the last Egyptian intelligence’s agent in ISIS named Abou Omeira. In a series of action scenes, Omar is able to free Abou Omeira from inside a hospital located in an area under ISIS control.
El A’edoun sheds light on ISIS and the internal divisions inside the terrorist group, revealing disagreements such as the one between the military leader of ISIS and ISIS Caliph.
The two argued over the need to comply with ISIS’s plan to follow in the footsteps of Al-Qaeda and consider the entire land as its territory rather than confine themselves to Syrian territory only. While the Caliph disagreed with the new plan and felt ISIS needed to stay in Syria, the military leader was intent on following ISIS.
Interwoven with the terrorist plot is a romantic story line which sees a love story unfold between Omar and Nadine, tempering the intensity of the series’ political incidents.
The chemistry between Karara and Amina Khalil helped her a lot to master Nadine’s character and she was able to convincingly convey the mixture of contradicting feelings Nadine carried around inside.
Amir Karara has arguably reached a stage of artistic maturity, his performance natural and smooth.
His fitness also enabled him to effortlessly pull of the action scenes.
Mahmoud Abdel Moghny was what we could describe as the tempering element of the series as his disciplined rendition balanced the performance of the rest of the cast.
Meanwhile Mido Adel brilliantly performed the role of Alaa, the agent that the Egyptian Intelligence planted in ISIS.
Baher Dewidar is an acclaimed scriptwriter who has a vast experience in writing patriotic works.
His extensive research into the ISIS societies makes the events of the series all the more believable.
In making El A’edoun the cast and crew had to address a number of challenges including shooting abroad.
But their efforts paid off and the series has managed to draw in viewers with its exciting plot line mixing action with politics, social commentary and romance.
“It was necessary to mix all of this in order for the series to have one color, so that the social part, the excitement, and the action scenes that took place outside Egypt would not be disjointed from the rest of the drama. This was the biggest difficulty I faced,” director Ahmed Nader Galal said ahead of the airing.
From the audience’s overwhelmingly positive reviews, it’s clear that he has managed to overcome the challenges and win the bet.