Kirmizi Oda is based on the real-life stories told by Dr. Gülseren Buğdayicioğlu in her books. These stories are enacted in the series in therapy sessions in a clinic in Istanbul called 'Manolya'.
The clinic has a warm ambience in a historical building and nice outdoor areas, the therapy rooms are mostly in vintage, deep red and brown shades (hence the dizi title).
Four therapists form the regular staff of the clinic played by actors of different generation groups;
One of them being the head of the clinic, known so far only by her title 'Doktor Hanim' (Mrs. Doctor), played by master actress Binnur Kaya; Piraye is played by Tülin Özen (best known for her role as Arzu in Ufak Tefek Cinayetler); Deniz is played by actor Burak Sevinç (best known for his role as Fethi in Söz); young Doctor Ayşe is played by Meriç Aral (known from Medcezir, Söz).
In addition, there's the clinic manager Murat (played by Halit Özgür Sarı), a young intern named Nihal (played by Ecem Uzun), who we haven't seen yet.
Apart from these characters, there is the clinic secretary Tuna and the errand boy Hüseyin.
The first episode introduces four clients in total, all in session with Doktor Hanim. Doktor Hanim has a way about her: she is kind, calm, eager but subtle, stubborn with a hint of charming.
Meliha, the first client (played by Evrim Alasya), was brought in by her daughter, after she caught her mother about to attempt suicide by hanging. In session, Meliha is completely under the spell of Doktor Hanim.
At first, Meliha doesn't speak. But then she sings, a great figurative way to sum up their session. The reluctant, anxious and stubborn Meliha opens up to Doktor Hanim about her darkest secrets up to a point, where she totally feels relieved and grateful towards Doktor Hanim.
Meliha's session is followed by the couple session of Nesrin & Mehmet (played by Hande Doğandemir & Salih Bademci). Nesrin is a victim of domestic violence and Mehmet a victim of his dark childhood. Refusing and hostile at first, Doktor Hanim finds a way to reason with Mehmet, who then accepts therapy and wants to work on himself.
Lastly, Salih, a worker in the neighbourhood, finds, after a long day of trying, his way to Doktor Hanim's session room. He had won the lottery, but couldn't handle the change this amount of money would bring to the life he knows and is used to.
The first episode ends on a bittersweet note. A beautiful song takes over and we're taken to Meliha, who fulfills her childhood dream of taking a ride on the Ferris-wheel after "life got in the way" for so long. And the episode ends a major cliffhanger, with Doktor Hanim getting a worrying call.
Each story was deeply captivating, I found myself only pulled back into reality by the scenes outside the therapy rooms, which appear absurd and distant at times and created a strong contrast to the seriousness inside. The closing in on the eyes of the therapist & clients, the insight into the thoughts of the therapist and the flashbacks are great effects that intensify the mood. There were a few bumps in the scene transitions, but I'm sure that'll become more and more smooth with each new episode.
The dizi started with a lot of noise on social media (trending in Turkey on Friday) and will bring in constant attention to the topics and stories they share. In my opinion, this kind of platform is a great way to illuminate mental health issues and help us all understand more instead of judging.
I'm curious to see what they have in store for us. We know almost nothing about the therapists, their backgrounds, their dynamics yet.
And I look forward to seeing the stories of Meliha and Nesrin & Mehmet (Salih Bademci, I take my hat off to your acting skills 👏🏼) unfold in episode 2.