Hatufim is the precursor to the American series Homeland, which is an OK series in its own right, but inevitably, when compared to Hatufim (they are very similar given that both series are written by the same person) is seriously lacking .
Hatufim is different for several reasons. It is far more graphic than Homeland, putting the newly released captives new found freedom into context, not something Homeland achieved in anywhere near the same way, if at all really. Due to this, the lives that unravel after the event are far easier to connect with/understand and believe than the 'watered down' version that is Homeland's Brody, whom it is very difficult to even like as a character.
Hatufim concerns itself, not with the American condition and the American story which we are all too familiar with and whose story has seemed to dominate in the days since 9/11, but the story of those who live in the middle east and whose story we know little, if anything, of. Homeland, like many other programmes/films that come out of America is so 'Americancentric' so it's refreshing, in Hatufim, to see the lives of other cultures played out and especially those who are all too familiar and on a daily basis with conflict - not something America can lay claim to.
Hatufim is gritty. The torture, the sex, the suffering, the fear - none of it is glossed over/made more 'palatable' as it is in Homeland. The characters are real and believable as are the reasons for acting as they do, something that Homeland failed to achieve with its lack of context and its want to make the whole thing more 'tasteful' - American TV seems to find it hard to 'get their hands dirty' so to speak.... The reality of Hatufim will inevitably make you cry - no one could fail to be moved by what is portrayed here.