‘Fauda’ star Lior Raz in New York thriller ‘Hit and Run’

Israeli tour guide Segev Azulai is not visiting New York City for a carefree sightseeing jaunt — but to avenge his wife’s murder in “Hit and Run.”

The new nine-episode suspense thriller, premiering Friday (Aug. 6) on Netflix, stars Lior Raz (“Fauda”) as Segev. In the series premiere, his American-born wife, Danielle (Kaelen Ohm), a professional dancer, is mowed down on a Tel Aviv street by a speeding SUV — triggering the series of events landing Segev in New York to search for her killer.

“This show is about grief and loss and a chase and revenge,” Raz, 49, told The Post. “Segev is a guy who used to be in the special forces in the Israeli army, in the counter-terrorism unit, and when we meet him his past is behind him. He has a beautiful wife and a daughter he really loves. The only thing that matters to him is being a tour guide in Israel — but when his wife is killed, his past catches up to him.”

In New York, Segev seeks out his best friend and fellow Israeli, Ron (Gal Toren), a small-time drug dealer dealing with PTSD, to help him find Danielle’s killers. He also comes into contact with lawyer Naomi Hicks (Sanaa Lathan), a former girlfriend who, against her better judgment, gets caught up in Segev’s obsessive thirst for justice. Meanwhile, Segev’s pregnant cousin, Talia (Moran Rosenblatt), a police officer, is working the case back in Tel Aviv and keeping an eye on his teenage daughter, Ella (Neta Orbach).

Segev (Lior Raz), Danielle (Kaelen Ohm) and Ella (Neta Orbach).
Segev (Lior Raz), Danielle (Kaelen Ohm) and Ella (Neta Orbach).

“He doesn’t want to be in a fight zone in fight mode. He doesn’t want to be a hunter again,” Raz said. “If his wife was the medicine for his PTSD, now when she’s gone he’s lost. There are two journeys here: one is the action journey, the thriller, who did it and why. He’s out to rescue his family and keep his daughter safe.

“The other plot is an emotional journey,” he said. “Segev just wants to know if his wife loved him or not and he’s grieving for the entire season. It’s like in the ’70s and ’80s we had these action heroes who took an emotional journey. This is different that what we see on television now.”

Photo showing Gal Toren as Ron, wearing a sweater and looking over his shoulder while sitting in a bar.
Gal Toren as Ron, Segev’s best friend who lives in New York.

Raz said he and co-writers Avi Issacharoff, Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin considered setting the American part of “Hit and Run” in several other cities, including LA, which was too similar in “weather and lighting” to Tel Aviv, Raz said.

“When I was younger and I came to New York for the first time in my life I was shocked. Everything was closing in on me, the buildings, etc. It was rainy and all the people on the streets were shoving. I felt like a little kid who was lost and didn’t know what to do. This is how we wanted Segev to feel. He doesn’t want to be there, he doesn’t understand the people or the culture — you see, through Segev, how different the Israelis and the Americans are.”

Segev (Lior Raz) and Naomi Hicks (Sanaa Lathan).

Part of Segev’s story is also told through the many tattoos he has on his body (they’re not real). “They are actually a kind of window into his past,” said Raz who, like Segev, was a commando in Unit 217, the elite undercover counter-terrorism defense unit of the Israeli special forces. “Every tattoo has a story, and this is someone who has a lot of stories in his life. He’s dealt with a lot of crazy things.”

Even Segev’s surname has a personal meaning to Raz; in 1990, his girlfriend of three years was stabbed to death in Jerusalem. “There are tattoos with dates on his body. What is he remembering? The one on his right hand was the birth date of my girlfriend [Iris Azulai] when I was younger — she was killed in a terrorist attack. On his back he has a Samurai…that’s how he acts and how he feels.

“I have like 30 tattoos on me and every one has a meaning for me as an actor,” he said. “I went out to a bar in New York [during a break in shooting) and I saw how people look at you in a different way — especially when you look like me.”

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