- Beren Saat – Bihter Yöreoğlu-Ziyagil
- Selçuk Yöntem – Adnan Ziyagil
- Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ – Behlül Haznedar
- Nebahat Çehre – Firdevs Yöreoğlu
- Nur Fettahoğlu-Aysan – Peyker Yöreoğlu-Önal
- İlker Kızmaz – Nihat Önal
- Recep Aktuğ – Hilmi Önal
- Burçin Oraloğlu – Çetin Özder
- Hazal Kaya – Nihal Ziyagil
- Batuhan Karacakaya – Bülent Ziyagil
- Zerrin Tekindor – Deniz de Courton
- Zerrin Nisançı – Aynur Önal
- Rana Cabbar – Süleyman efendi
- Fatma Karanfil – Şayeste
- Evren Duyal – Nesrin
- Pelin Ermiş – Cemile
- Ufuk Kaplan – Katya
- Gülsen Tuncer – Ahsen Ziyagil
- Eda Özerkan – Elif
- Gülizar İrmak – Sevil
- Baran Akbulut – Beşir Elçı
I started watching this series for the first time in November 2012. I was lucky to see it from episode 1 and I was totally impressed. Music, actors, acting, events, story line. Everything was about to become the best series I have ever seen on tv. And yes, it is turkish. I never thought that turkish people are capable of such emotions on screen. This series I am about to talk about here, is an adaptation of Aşk-ı Memnu, a novel wrote by Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil in 1900.
The novel had been adapted before for television in 1975 into a mini-series (I haven’t seen yet). But the one in 2008 had the biggest impact on people everywhere. It has been subtitled and dubbed in 10 languages and even BBC made a short documentary about it.
Aşk-ı Memnu is the story of two rich and influent families in Istanbul. The events in this adaptation take place exactly between 2008-2010.
First episode starts with the arrangements for the wedding of Peyker Yöreoğlu, the eldest daughter of Melih and Firdevs Yöreoğlu. She is about to marry Nihat Önal and she’s already pregnant with their first child. Her mother, Firdevs, doesn’t seem very happy about the iminent event and she turns extremely angry when she finds out that her rival, Hilmi Önal (Nihat’s father), made his son to present his future wife a marriage agreement. But Firdevs finds soon that she can use this agreement for her own sake, so she agrees to let Peyker sign it with one condition: Nihat will give her 1 million turkish lira. Peyker doesn’t know about this agreement, so she is happy she can go on with her wedding with the man she loved.
Firdevs was quite broke after Melih, her husband, died of a heart attack when he found out she was having a relationship with a younger man. His company was already bankrupt while he was still alive, and he suggested his wife that they might be urged to give up the house they were living in. But Firdevs was the kind of woman who never accepts giving up without fight, so she kept the house in spite of everything. The problem was that now she didn’t had money to pay for the house and for the luxurious life she was used with. That’s why the amount of money she took from Nihat, payed a part of her debts.
Firdevs has another daughter, Bihter, who is 25 years old. She constantly fights with her mother about everything. Bihter accuses Firdevs for the death of Melih and for that matter she cannot forgive her.
Bihter finds out about the money her mother took from Nihat and hates her even more for this gesture. Bihter often goes to cemetery to visit her father’s grave. There, she meets Adnan Ziyagil, the head of another rich family. He is a succesfull businessman, a widower and father of two children, Nihal age 17 and Bülent who’s 11. Adnan was present at the funerals of Melih Yöreoğlu some years before, when he was obviously impressed by the beauty and sensitivity of young Bihter. Nowadays, he sees her again, almost everyday, visiting Melih’s grave, while he himself visits the grave of his wife, Inci. One day, he gathers his courage and approaches Bihter, who seems open to any conversation. Adnan proposes to her and she says “Yes”, but doesn’t tell anything to Firdevs. Bihter was conscious that Firdevs wanted Adnan for herself, because a marriage with him would’ve pay all her debts.
Adnan came to Yöreoğlu mansion to ask Firdevs her daughter’s hand in marriage. Firdevs reacted badly, implying that Adnan is way too old for her daughter and that this marriage will never take place as long as she’s alive. Bihter assures Adnan that she doesn’t care about her mother’s decisions and that she will marry him no matter what. Firdevs talks to the lawyer so he could pay a part of her debt with the money she received from Nihat. Then she goes to Adnan’s mansion and she eventually agrees with him marrying Bihter.
Hilmi Önal finds out about the money that his son gave to Firdevs and he buys all her debts. So now, Firdevs is in debt only to him. Firdevs goes to his office and they have a fight. Hilmi throws her out yelling that he will take everything away from her.
Adnan and Bihter’s wedding take place at Yöreoğlu mansion. Hilmi appears and tells Adnan in front of all the guests, that Firdevs is selling her daughters and that he did a terrible mistake by marrying Bihter. He is thrown out, but everyone is embarressed. Bihter is angry with her mother.
Firdevs agrees to leave her house to Hilmi, giving up to everything in a second. She goes to his office to sign the papers, then she leaves crying. That evening, she has a car crash trying to kill herself out of despair. While she is in surgery, Bihter finds out about Firdev’s ex-lover. He tells Bihter that Firdevs had a choice: she could’ve ran away with him, but she refused to leave her daughters without mother.
Firdevs gets better, but she has to keep her neck imobilized. She gets out of the hospital and Bihter with Adnan take her to live with them. Adnan pays the rest of her debts in spite of Bihter.
In the house with Adnan and his children there was also a kind of nephew of Adnan. Behlül Haznedar was an orphan and his real uncle left him in Adnan’s care because he couldn’t took care of a little boy. Behlül raised along with Nihal and Bülent. For that matter, Nihal was very in love with him, but he didn’t know that. In the same time, Beşir, the family’s driver, also raised by Adnan, was in love with Nihal, but the girl didn’t know and he was afraid to tell her.
Things in the house start to change a little more every day. Firdevs seems to know everything that happends behind close doors thanks to her instinct and to her maid, Katya. Bihter soon falls in love with Behlül, even thought she is married to his uncle and they live under the same roof. Firdevs finds out about her daughter’s obssession and tries to change her mind. They fight even more on this subject. Bihter even tries to kick Firdevs out of the house, but Firdevs threatens her to tell everything to Adnan.
Hilmi continues to attack Firdevs, now through Adnan, because they are part of the same family. Firdevs tries to kill herself one more time, this time by taking pills, but she is rescued in time by Katya and Deniz de Courton. Deniz was the children’s tutor. She helped Adnan raise them after his wife’s death. Deniz is secretely in love with Adnan and suffered very much when he got married to Bihter, but remained in the house for the sake of Nihal and Bülent, who needed her.
Firdevs finds out about Deniz’s secret feelings for Adnan and tells Bihter about it. Bihter gets angry and tries to send Deniz away, but then she stops because she thinks that Deniz might also know about her passion for Behlül.
A new friend of Firdevs appears. Her name is Hülya and she also has a younger lover, like Firdevs used too. One day, Hülya tells Firdevs that an important man they both used to know, came back to Istanbul, after living in America for a couple of years. His name is Çetin Özder and he is one of the wealthiest man in the world. A ball is about to take place at an asociation that Bihter’s rulling. Firdevs and Çetin meet again after many years. Aynur Önal, the wife of Hilmi, is also at the ball. She is a good friend of Çetin for many years and she secretely has feelings for him. She is not happy to see him talking to Firdevs. Meanwhile, trying to make Bihter forget about her passion for Behlül, Firdevs finds out about Nihal’s feelings for the same Behlül. She tries to bring them together. After a while, she even reveals this to Adnan. Bihter gets angry with her mothers schemes one more time.
Firdevs starts a relationship with Çetin Özder. The man is totally mesmerized by her simple presence. He is starting to come very often to take her out and Firdevs seems flattered by his attention. Her friend, Hülya, tells Firdevs that she should marry Çetin, but Firdevs doesn’t want to reveal her feelings to anyone. Meanwhile, Behlül proposes on Nihal and Adnan agrees, grateful to see his daughter really happy. Bihter is destroyed to see Nihal and Behlül engaged, but manages to hide her feelings to the rest of the family. At one point, Bihter even finds out that she is pregnant, so she makes an abortion. Adnan finds out and he is very upset with her at the beginning. But Bihter tells him that it was too early for her to have a newborn. Firdevs doesn’t agree with her. Later, Bihter finds out that she is pregnant again, this time with Behlül.
Meanwhile, Firdevs is invited by Çetin Özder to spend some quality time with him in Viena. Bihter ran away from home when she found out she was pregnant, so Firdevs decides to leave to with Çetin. In Viena, he proposes to her. At first, Firdevs doesn’t accept the proposal, but the next day at a fancy restaurant, Çetin puts a diamond on her finger and she says “Yes”. Being still in Viena, Firdevs finds out that Bihter is pregnant and hurries to call Adnan to tell him. Adnan gets really happy, but when he meets Bihter she denies it and calls Firdevs to tell her that she’s a lier.
Firdevs and Çetin return to Istanbul and they are and look very happy together. Nihal is the first to see the engagement ring on Firdevs’ finger and she congratulates the two of them. Upsters, in her room, Bihter sees Behlül and Nihal being affectionate with one another and she breaks a mirror out of despair. Firdevs comes to see her daughter, happy that Bihter returned home too, and finds her crying on the floor. Bihter sees her ring and wonders how can Firdevs always get what she wants. When Adnan comes in, Bihter runs into her mother’s arms and pretends that she started crying when she found out about Firdevs’ engagement. (ep.69)After a few days, Çetin Özder throws a party at his house, to celebrate his engagement to Firdevs with their family and friends. Bihter tells her mother that she cannot stand to see Nihal and Behlül living their love in front of her eyes. She asks Firdevs to stop the iminent wedding by any means. Firdevs promises her that she will, realizing for the first time how much Bihter was actually suffering. Nihal and Behlül go on with their wedding preparation and Nihal is very excited, looking for honeymoon destinations and talking about her dress. Firdevs doesn’t know how to stop this, but she knows she has to keep her promise. Firdevs and Çetin have a romantic dinner and she eventually tells him that she doesn’t want to wait anymore and they should get married very soon. Çetin is very happy with her decision, because he loves Firdevs very much and doesn’t want to let go. A not very nice moment appears when Peyker and Nihat steps into the restaurant to have dinner and Peyker turns around and leaves as soon as she sees her mother there. (she was extremely upset with Firdevs because she used her to find out the phone number of an ex-girlfriend of Behlül. Firdevs sent then a message from Behlül’s cellphone and made sure that Nihal finds out. She wanted Nihal to suspect that Behlül is already cheating her before wedding).
The next morning, Çetin is upset with Firdevs and tells her he is leaving with bussiness in America. She doesn’t know that Nihat called him a night before and told him about the fight between mother and daughter. Firdevs gets angry with Çetin when he tells her that they will finish the wedding stuff as soon as he gets back. She leaves. Firdevs has another fight with Peyker at Peyker’s gallery and arrives home crying. She complains to Bihter that she destroyed her life with all her secrets. But then, Çetin calls, telling her that he started the wedding preparations. Firdevs invites him to dinner.
(Meanwhile, Hilmi sends to Adnan a copy of the key from Behlül’s house on the beach at Riva and a note, telling him to go and check the place because he might find interesting things. This is why she left home in the first place, when Adnan told her about the key. Trying not to look guilty of adultery, Bihter pretended she’s the victim and left angry. Later she started feeling guilty for real and she wanted to tell Adnan the whole truth. Rushing to him, Bihter had a car accident, which brought her back home eventualy. )
Çetin comes to dinner and he tells Firdevs she needs to sign a marriage contract before the wedding. Firdevs gets angry, saying that marriage is not just a bussiness, she gives his wedding ring back and rushes back to the house (they were having dinner in the garden).
In the meantime, Nihal was having a fight with Deniz de Courton, who doesn’t seem very sure that Nihal should marry Behlül so fast. Nihal really thinks that Deniz is trying to stop her and yells at her. Deniz suffers too much because of the girl’s attitude, but she leaves without saying anything. Çetin comes after Firdevs, he tells her how much he loves her, and eventualy gives her the ring back.
Seeing that Firdevs can’t do anything to break up Nihal and Behlül (because the scheme with the ex-girlfriend didn’t work), Bihter is ready to leave again and take Behlül with her this time. Behlül tells her constatly that she is insane and that he can’t do this to his uncle, Adnan, who raised him and gave him everything. Bihter thinks that he is in total denial, but Behlül really seems to want to get married to Nihal. They even do the engagement party and Adnan with Nihal gives Behlül a yacht as a wedding present. Meanwhile, Beşir, the family driver, knows too about the adultery, he even caughts Behlül and Bihter on a tape and threatens Behlül that he will reveal it to Adnan if he hurts Nihal in any way. Eventualy, Behlül convinces Beşir to give him the CD he made, without knowing that Beşir still had a copy of it in the computer.
June comes so the wedding day comes too. Nihal is getting ready with her make-up artist and hair stylist. Bihter is home, suffering alone, locked in her room. Firdevs gets worried and manages to enter the room through the bathroom door. She tells her daughter to keep her head up, because she is stronger than anyone else. Later, Adnan meets Deniz de Courton at the cemetary and she tells him that something happend behind his back. Coming home, Adnan visits Beşir who was resting (he was suffering of pulmonary cancer in terminal stage). Beşir tells Adnan the truth, wanting to die in peace.
Behlül comes rushing into Bihter’s room, called by Firdevs who told him that Bihter is ready to reveal everything to everyone. But Bihter has a gun in her hand and threatens to kill herself. She wants Behlül to choose between her and Nihal. He starts crying, begging her to put the gun down.
Firdevs is running away. Nihal comes by, dressed in a wedding dress, alarmed by the phone call she received from Bihter. She catches Firdevs on the stairs and asks her what is going on. But Firdevs is crying and doesn’t say anything to the girl.Adnan is horrified by the truth he found out and runs into house to figure everything out with Bihter. He bursts through the door and finds Behlül there, crying in front of Bihter. Then he sees the gun in his wife’s hand. Bihter pulls the trigger. Firdevs ends up being partialy paralyzed by the shock she went through loosing her daughter this way. At the funeral, she is supported by Çetin, but she gaves up on him considering herself guilty of everything and not being able to feel anything anymore. Nihal sufferes a terrible shock too and stayes in the hospital for a while. Beşir dies too because of his cancer. Adnan, Bülent, Nihal and Deniz sell the Ziyagil mansion and leave together to forget about the tragic things that almost destroyed their family.