Jewish investigator bows to TV during wave of anti-Semitism
New York — Viewers of “The Calling” will quickly learn that it is not a typical procedure for television police. Just two minutes later, the lead investigator of a new murder quietly bends over the corpse – and prays.
Detective Avraham is an extraordinary figure in the New York Police Department: a keen observer of human behavior from his studies of philosophy and orthodox Judaism.
“I’m proud to play a devout Jewish detective,” says actor Jeff Welbush, who plays Abraham. “It is very unique to have such a show. And I think it is an important story to tell.”
Peacock’s The Calling, co-starring Juliana Canfield as Avraham’s partner, is from acclaimed model, writer, and executive producer David E. Kelly, with Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Barry Levinson directing the first two episodes and Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro providing the music. debut Thursday.
Based on a series of books by Israeli crime writer Dror A. Mishani, “The Calling” sets a Jewish detective who quotes the Torah front and focuses on prime times in the United States during a new wave of anti-Semitism.
“We live through hard times, and sad times,” Welbusch says. “I strongly believe in the power of storytelling. You know, I don’t know how much power I have, but I am very proud of the series.”
“The Calling” is a quirky, quieter show, using tunes borrowed from the Middle East and cinematography on the gritty streets of New York City, shot during the spring and summer of 2022. A recurring character is a homeless former professor.
“It’s a different animal. It won’t be for everyone,” says Kelly. “It’s a battle to get the viewer’s attention and when you use it as your vehicle to wrestle a quieter character in a quiet show, that brings with it certain challenges.”
Avraham of Wellbush, or Avi for his mates, is a lone detective wolf – cool but a bit discreet and sometimes very rude. He draws pictures of fish on napkins to relax and can read a room – and a suspect – like any other detective.
“The show’s mood is intentionally ambiguous,” Canfield says. “Avi is a detective who works differently than the average detective. And I think the show mirrors his approach in many ways, meaning that the show and Avi are deeply concerned with character and human behavior.”
The first season focuses on the case of a missing teen, which spans over eight hour-long episodes. Detectives hunt down every leader, from school friends and his sister to his miserable mother and stern father. Abraham is always trying to get into the suspect’s or victim’s head, even sitting quietly on the edge of the missing teen’s bed to feel his core.
“He sees the world with empathy,” Welbuch says. “He believes that each of us deserves infinite respect – it doesn’t matter where he comes from, what belief he belongs to, the color of his skin.”
She is a character that immediately piqued the interest of the Israeli-born actor. A few acting jobs prompted him to prepare by asking real homicide detectives how to decompress after work while reading essays about Hellenistic-period Stoics such as Marcus Aurelius.
In one scene, Canfield’s character notices the bookshelves in her partner’s room. There is a version of the Torah and Talmud, but there are also books written by great Greek philosophers and classical philosophers. So he uses Judaism as an entry point into the way of thinking about the world philosophically. And this is how he handled his detective work.”
The interaction between Abraham and a rookie detective in Canfield is fun. She’s an ambitious policewoman who, book by book, sees her use her knowledge pools and highly detailed observations of social behavior to solve cases. “You can’t tell what he’s doing,” her leader warns. She replied, “Yes, I can.”
The yin became the yang. “She’s not put off by his lonely inclinations sometimes. I think she’s also someone who has things to teach her about how to survive on Earth and how to get out of his genius castle covered in clouds in the sky,” Canfield says.
“I was able to surprise him,” Welbusch says. “They are building a very interesting relationship that they never knew they needed most.”
The original book was set in Tel Aviv. Kelly and his creators decided upon his relocation to New York that they needed to keep religion and spirituality at their core.
“We just thought, ‘We’re not going to be shy about it.'” Far from feeling alienated, it’s fun and rich with characters. So we decided to take a dip in it,” says Kelly.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
#Jewish #investigator #bows #wave #antiSemitism