ALEPH – A MURDEROUS BEGINNING, AN UNCERTAIN END
Detectives Kemal and Settar pursue a dervish serial killer who sets a series of mysterious clues, launching them on a quest that will make them confront their pasts in a series enriched with traces of Ottoman and Islamic history.
The discovery of a corpse in Istanbul’s Golden Horn inlet sets in motion a thrilling mystery, enriched with traces of Ottoman and Islamic history, which lead two detectives on a quest filled with dark mysticism. The young Kemal and seasoned Settar, polar opposite homicide investigators, are drawn towards a confrontation with their own pasts and a shocking ending.
They set out in pursuit of a dervish-turned-serial killer whose murders leave a complex trail of clues for the detectives to untangle. During an ancient Christian ceremony to retrieve a crucifix from the sea, the corpse of a sex worker with the tongue ripped out is discovered chained below a jetty. The gruesome find is just the start of a sinister journey.
The intellectually sharply and handsome Kemal Tekin is a successful “super recognizer” at London’s Scotland Yard police headquarters. His cold, workaholic character struggles with the pain of losing his daughter, who drowned while swimming with his depressed wife. This trauma leads Kemal back to Istanbul.
His new partner is the experienced and brutally honest Settar, an unpopular detective near retirement, whose work methods are sharply at odds with Kemal’s. His harsh demeanor masks a soft-hearted and humorous man with strong intuition that complements Kemal’s analytical skills. Mutual dislike gives way to respect as the unlikely duo build a strong bond.
One of Settar’s children Güneş, who committed suicide several years ago, continues to weigh on his father’s conscience and comes back to haunt him as the mystery unravels. The conservative and outspoken Settar had struggled to cope with his son’s sexual preferences. Güneş had fled and taken refuge in a commune lodge named Rainbow before disappearing and killing himself.
Key to solving the murder mystery is Yaşar Görener, an Islamic history professor and daughter of a renowned mystical Sufi sheikh. Her expertise on obscure Islamic sects, deviant devotion and the history of mysticism will draw Kemal towards solving the mystery. Their mutual understanding and attraction for each other will also lead to them becoming lovers.
The killer’s obscure message starts to emerge when a second corpse, that of a renowned writer, is found chained below another jetty. The police chief, with political motives, rejects their insistence on linking the murders and temporarily pulls them off the case – a challenge which brings Kemal and Settar closer together.
Kemal uncovers the second victim’s identity and they discover in his deserted house a recording by the murderer. The killer wants an obscure writer’s novel published within one week, or there will be more victims. Finding another corpse in a bloody bathtub they identify above it the mystical symbol of Alef – the first letter of the Arab, Greek and Hebrew alphabets. It will be key to solve the grim puzzle set for the two detectives.