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New Saudi Crime Drama Breaks Glass Ceiling

Put it this way: every single Saudi household tuned in to watch the show.

“Rashash” is a new Saudi crime drama that is setting the bar high in modern television production in the Kingdom. The thrilling 8-episode series has attracted a major public reaction and has set a new bar for the country’s flourishing TV and film industry. With its multimillion-dollar budget, and produced by Saudi owned MBC Group, “Rashash” has been promoted as the biggest Saudi production to date and has attracted a bigger audience than expected.

Saudi Arabian actor, Yagoub Al-Farhan, also known for his role as Juhayman Al-Otaibi in the Alasouf series in 2019, plays Rashash Al-Otaibi, in the true-life story of a Saudi bandit, drug trafficker and murderer who terrorized the population in the 1970s and 1980s, and the show follows the main character’s life and foray into the underworld – which eventually came to a halt after his arrest and execution.

“Rashash” has been lauded for its cinematography and production value, and is attributed to a collaboration between an internationally recognized crew and Saudi talent. The show features an all-Saudi cast in leading roles, including Nayef Al-Dhufairi as Officer Fahd, Khalid Yaslam as Chief Azam, and dozens of other Saudi actors.

Directed by British filmmaker Collin Teague, who has also worked on shows including “Doctor Who,” the show is written by Bahraini Sheikha Suha Al-Khalifa, and Richard Bellamy, a political scientist, and has a viewer’s warning about the show being suitable for consumption for those aged 18 years and above, and despite that, many teens have tuned into the show and become obsessed with the protagonist, Rashash Al-Otaibi. The show has created such a phenomenon amongst the youth in Saudi Arabia that many have adopted the character’s hair style and demeanor.

Many viewers have found the show to be rather controversial and have questioned whether it was appropriate to highlight the life of a criminal and have voiced their concerns about the show triggering tribal tensions in the kingdom as Rashash Al Otaibi belonged to one of the most noted tribes in Saudi Arabia.

It has also been reported that the criminal mastermind’s family have been opposed to the release of the show as his sister told local new channels that it was demeaning for the family and could “open old wounds.” Not only is the show about Rashash, but it also highlights the officer, Fahd, who undertakes the task of bringing the criminal and his gang to justice.

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