I have never been able to choose a top Turkish drama, but Kara Para Ask (Black Money Love) is clearly one of my all time top 3 best Turkish drama series. Read the details in this no-spoiler review.
• Format: Turkish Drama Series
• Number of episodes: 54 Turkflick / 164 Netflix (Netflix subdivided the episodes)
• Genre: Romantic Drama
• Ending: Happy
• Air date: 2014-2015
• Turkish Title of Black Money Love: Kara Para Ask
• Where I watched full episodes of Black Money Love with English subtitles: Netflix
**Other places to watch Black Money Love: Kara Para full episodes with English subtitles-- see my blog post "Where to watch Turkish Drama with English subtitles."
A policeman of meager financial means, Omer Demir attends the scene of a double homicide in Istanbul. His fiancé is found dead alongside the father of Elif Denizer, a jewelry designer. The two bereaved characters begin a long perilous investigation of a diamond theft gone wrong. Omer and Elif partner up to get to the root of the murders as the plot thickens in several directions beyond the diamond theft itself. Be prepared for a roller coaster ride along a journey full of extreme suspense and drama.
What I loved:
Well written script
The storyline itself was believable, well written, and involved many surprise turns of events which take the story in incredible directions. The intricate pieces of plot were cleverly woven together in a relatively fast paced series.
The romance between Omer and Elif was well written with on-again romance, balanced with off-again conflict, and clearly matched the needs of the script at the appropriate time. In spite of their rollercoaster relationship, there were several romantic scenes for those viewers interested in romance.
The chemistry between Omer and Elif is almost unparalleled in drama. It was so believable, you will want to see more Turkish programming with these two stars, both of whom have recently expressed a genuine willingness to work together again.
Good balance of complementary personalities
Black Money Love has a treasure chest full of top caliber stars who brought wonder to the screen. Most were good characters, while others were simply evil, and those who we placed into one category often surprised us by falling into the other. In truth, those who were evil, or even in the middle, showed great humanity as the show progressed. It restored my faith in human nature.
Several characters enhanced the production by their steady friendship to Omer and Elif and provided a guiding light throughout the series.
• Arda (Ahmet Tansu Tasanlar), Omer’s colleague in the police force, with his own budding relationship with Pelin.
• Pelin (Ikin Turekci) Omer’s other colleague in the police force who captured this reviewer’s heart.
• Elvan (Gulerr Okten) Omer’s mother.
Food for Thought
I found Black Money Love special for several reasons, beyond the acting and the story line. It taught me about deep human emotions such as trust, forgiveness, and family values.
In addition, the most compelling part of the story is a frequent theme in Turkish drama -- the role of the mother, whose values are taught down to her children. Sometimes children stumble, sometimes they fall, but a true Turkish mother always picks them up, and continues to love and forgive them.
Noteworthy acting performances
• Erkan Can was excellent as the purely evil Tayyar Dundar. Yet Tayyar still had a sentimental side when it came to his family. I found it very surprising to watch this same actor in other shows playing a character with a heart of gold. The depth of his acting range is amazing.
• Hazal Turesan, who played Elif’s sister Asli. It was difficult for me to like Asli as a character, but the strong performance by Hazal is truly remarkable.
• Isil Yucesoy, as Elif’s Aunt Nedret. It was difficult to know if one should like Nedret, or suspect the worst. But without wanting to provide a spoiler, let me simply say that her acting was powerful.
• Other outstanding performance: Saygin Soysal as Metin/Fatih; Emre Kizilirmak as Levent; Burak Tamdogan as Omer’s brother Huseyin; and Elif Inci as Huseyin’s wife Melike.
The series was shot almost exclusively in and around Istanbul and the Bosphorous. Although I have visited Istanbul before, I plan to return to Turkey soon, in great part because of my new addiction to Turkish TV. Most beautiful to me was the Maiden Tower on a small island in the Bosphorous. I long to walk along the paths beside the Bosphorous and hopefully find Elif’s distinctive home. Several homes of the not-so-wealthy characters were shot in neighborhoods full of Istanbul’s charm which revealed a touching side of Istanbul life one does not often discover. As a professional photographer, I cannot wait to find some of the locations from this program and to photograph them myself.
Incredible job of subtitles on Netflix
Translating a program from Turkish to English is no easy job, yet Netflix's translators made the program far more understandable by translating signage for important businesses and newspaper headlines relevant to the plot. More important, they translated text messages between characters, making the storyline simpler to understand.
What I wasn’t so fond of:
I have discovered that it is not uncommon for Turkish dramas to have a tragic ending. This series has a happy ending, but would I say it was well done? Not particularly. The writers certainly could have done a better job of it. A few major characters were actually missing from the final scene. I did, however, walk away from the series glad to see how it ended happily for most of the characters.
The length of the series
Although the series was relatively fast paced, I found myself fast-forwarding through many sections. Sometimes there would be 2, 3, or even 4 minutes of character introspection.
The plot of Black Money Love developed and exploded in new directions at regular intervals to keep viewers’ attention. Cliffhangers forced me to start watching the next episode when it was already hours past my bedtime. The series was well written, well produced, with an incredible cast. As much a drama as a romance, the series held my interest throughout. If you are a fan of either drama or romance, you can’t go wrong by investing in a marathon session of this top notch production. Enjoy!
~ Mark Lauderdale (bio below)
Copyright @ 2020 Ginger Monette Article reprint policy
-Kara Para Ask (Black Money Love) Trailer. Full Episodes of this Turkish Drama series are now available on Netflix.
Special thanks to Mark Lauderdale for his guest review!
Married for nearly 50 years, Mark Lauderdale works as a part time travel agent from his Fort Lauderdale, FL, home along with his wife Susan. The retired teachers have visited every continent and over 100 countries.
New to Turkish Drama, his addiction has encouraged the couple to book their third visit to Turkey in the spring as they travel around the Black Sea.
Also a professional photographer, Mark is hoping for an opportunity to conduct a few photo shoots with his favorite Turkish TV stars, as well as capture the beauty and mystery of Istanbul and the rest of Turkey.
Mark’s greatest achievement might be that he dropped 75 lbs at the age of 66 and the honour of being Florida’s Inspirational Athlete of the Year for the National Bodybuilding Organization. One year later he become the oldest man in history to compete on the stage at Nationals for Men’s Physique, just missing a pro card by 2 positions.
Mark would love to hear from you at MarkLauderdalePhotography@gmail.com.