Al Pacino’s Nazi-killing series ‘Hunters’ is a ‘love letter’ to creator’s grandmother

After his grandma survived the Holocaust, David Weil wanted to give her the justice she never got.

“As a Jewish kid growing up on Long Island, my grandmother was my superhero,” Weil told the Daily News.

So he wrote “Hunters” and turned his grandma, or Safta, as he calls her, into a one.

The Amazon series, out Friday, stars Al Pacino as Meyer Offerman, a Holocaust survivor and the leader of a rag-tag group of Nazi hunters: an MI6 spy-turned nun (Kate Mulvany), a washed-up actor (Josh Radnor), a Vietnam vet (Louis Ozawa) and a bickering, married couple of weapons experts (Carol Kane and Saul Rubinek) in 1977 New York. “Hunters” isn’t Pacino’s first time on television — he won Emmys each for the 2004 “Angels in America” and the 2010 “You Don’t Know Jack" and was nominated for the 2013 “Phil Spector” — but he almost exclusively sticks to movies.

Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman, “Perks of Being A Wallflower”), a teenager who would rather get high and hang out with his friends on Coney Island than almost anything else, gets pulled into Meyer’s world when his grandmother, played by Jeannie Berlin, is murdered in what police write off as a simple burglary.

The story that unfolds is one of Nazis hiding in plain sight: as toy shop owners and members of President Carter’s administration.

“The Talmud is wrong: Living well is not the best revenge,” Meyer tells Jonah. “You know what the best revenge is? Revenge.”

The hunters take revenge, graphic, bloody, vindictive revenge. Revenge against people who killed their parents, their children, their neighbors. Revenge for 6 million Jews.

“It’s wish fulfillment and catharsis,” Weil, the creator and showrunner of “Hunters,” told The News.

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“Hunters” doesn’t just stay in the ‘70s, though: in flashbacks, Weil takes viewers back to the Holocaust and shows, in explicit detail, why the hunters need revenge.

“The design of the violence of the past, yes it is graphic, but we tried to suggest a lot more violence than depict it,” Weil said. “It’s in service of the story. It’s helping us understand why our hunters are doing what they're doing. Every single frame, every single flashback has a purpose.”

Sometimes, it’s hard to watch. The flashbacks are brutal, filled with death and misery and suffering. Weil has a solution for that, too: scene breaks that range from movie credit openings to musical numbers. They’re breaks for the viewers, a respite from nonstop violence.

“There’s a lot of darkness to the show,” Jerrika Hinton, who plays FBI Agent Millie Morris, told The News. “Any time you can jump out and play with the absurdity, it’s a delight.”

In the way that Weil describes his Jewish characters as being “othered,” Hinton’s Millie covers almost every other category: She’s black, gay and a woman.

“She’s a gay woman in the bureau at a time when we’re just coming off J. Edgar Hoover hunting down gay people,” Hinton, known best for her role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” told The News.

Through the early episodes, Millie, who finds herself entangled in the same hunt as the hunters, seems to be just doing her job. But Hinton promises there’s more to it than that.

“There’s a particular kind of growth that Millie undergoes that makes her vendetta personal,” the 38-year-old actress said. “This is a woman that wants the world to make sense. She looks at it in a very binary, black and white way. But she discovers, in a similar way that Jonah does, that it doesn’t work that way.”

The “Hunters” world looks different than ours, but only slightly. Weil called it “heightened.” But he also called it “wish fulfillment.” It was the justice, he said, his Safta never got.

“‘Hunters’ became a love letter to my grandmother,” he told The News.

“The onus is on descendants of survivors to tell their stories.”