A review of Caliphate – Episode 8 (Season Finale)

How realist is the depiction of ISIS in this first season of the Caliphate series? In this podcast, intelligence veteran and terrorism specialist Phil Gurski reviews Netflix Caliphate.

Nadir reveals an unexpected truth. Kerima prepares to deal the final blow. Fatima fulfills her end of the bargain with Pervin – at a price.

How realist is the depiction of ISIS in this first season of the Caliphate series? In this podcast, intelligence veteran and terrorism specialist Phil Gurski reviews Netflix Caliphate.

About Caliphate

Starting in 2014, the terrorist group known as ISIS launched its version of the ‘Caliphate’  in parts of Iraq and Syria- a state run by Islamic law.  Conditions were brutal and barbaric punishments were meted out for minor offences.  Many lived in fear. Thousands from western countries left to join ISIS, despite the fact that everyone knew it was a terrorist group.  Some were enthusiastic supporters: others had a change of heart once they got there.  

All this is historical and well documented.  Now we can relive those days via the Netflix production ‘Caliphate’.  This Swedish production began airing in 2020 and follows events in Sweden and Iraq as several Swedes have left their homeland to join ISIS and SAEPO, the Swedish security service, is trying to keep tabs on threats.  Throw into the mix an alleged ISIS bomb plot in Sweden and you have all the makings of a cliffhanger series! 

Join Borealis as we walk through each episode and discuss what happened.  We will look at how accurate the fictional depiction is, all seen through the lens of a 32-year Canadian intelligence veteran and author of five books on terrorism.

Click here to watch my reviews of each episodes of the Caliphate series.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

4 replies on “A review of Caliphate – Episode 8 (Season Finale)”

Just finished watching it last night, and then found your podcast this morning. Thanks for your commentary.

One thing I don’t understand, which you also seemed puzzled by, as you called it “the whole Nadder thing”. What is it that he did that crossed ethical lines? Fatima called his actions “illegal” which would discredit the security service if it became public knowledge. Nadder clearly agreed, which is why he offered to drop the charges if she kept quiet. Nadder says he was motivated by frustration at the relatively light punishments for ISIS crimes where someone is caught. How did his approach address that frustration? Was it that he kept up the surveilance until the last minute, catching them in the act rather than merely in the planning stages? Thanks

Overall, I found the series extremely addictive.
The brainwashing of the teenage school girls by a charismatic master of manipulation was convincing and most disturbing. The fact that Sulle’s parents did not realise their daughter’s total involvement even after they confronted her and threatened her with immediate marriage, is only too indicative of how devious children can really be and how naive parents may be in their desperation to find a solution.

The character of Fatima, whose courage, strength and determination to foil the terrorise plots in Sweden as well as help Previn, created a person who was most admirable. It would’ve been interesting to find out more about her relationship with her married boyfriend who worked in the police force.

The two Swedish recently converted brothers depicted a rather pathetic pair who did not know what they were doing. However, under the control of ‘the traveller’ they felt they had no option but to carry out their tasks of terror.

Pervin’s husband was a weak. man who even hit his wife and threatened to leave her.:He was trapped in an ISIS nightmare. However, his attitude to his wife when he thought she had actually been raped was indefensible. It was evident of the twisted minds that the terrorists have towards women, honour and life itself.

This was a wonderful series and I hope that a second series will be made.

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