The Capture (TV Mini-Series 2019– )
|Genre||Crime, Mystery, Thriller|
|Content Rating||TV-MA (TV-MA)|
|Company||British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Heyday Television, NBCUniversal International Studios|
The Capture (TV series)
The Capture is a British mystery crime-drama series created, written and directed by Ben Chanan, and starring Holliday Grainger, Callum Turner, Laura Haddock, Ben Miles, Cavan Clerkin, Paul Ritter, and Ron Perlman. Set in present-day London, Grainger stars as Detective Inspector Rachel Carey, who is assigned to arrest and charge United Kingdom Special Forces Lance Corporal Shaun Emery (Turner), who is looking to clear his name of a horrific crime supposedly captured by CCTV.
The series premiered on BBC One on 3 September 2019, and received positive reviews from critics and audiences. It was announced in June 2020 that a second series had been commissioned.
After being acquitted of a war crime in Afghanistan, former United Kingdom Special Forces Lance Corporal Shaun Emery finds himself accused of the kidnapping and murder of his barrister Hannah Roberts, backed by damning CCTV evidence. Whilst Emery works to clear his name, fast-tracked Detective Inspector Rachel Carey of Homicide and Serious Crime Command begins to uncover a complex conspiracy surrounding Emery, calling into question the validity of the footage.
- Holliday Grainger as DI Rachel Carey
- Callum Turner as Lance Corporal Shaun Emery
- Cavan Clerkin as DS Patrick Flynn
- Ben Miles as Commander Danny Hart
- Paul Ritter as Marcus Levy
- Sophia Brown as Karen
- Famke Janssen as Jessica Mallory
- Ginny Holder as DS Nadia Latif
- Ron Perlman as Frank Napier
- Lia Williams as DSU Gemma Garland
- Ralph Ineson as DCI Alec Boyd
- Barry Ward as Charlie Hall
- Laura Haddock as Hannah Roberts
- Nigel Lindsay as DSI Tom Kendricks
- Tommy McDonnell as Matt, Sean Emery's best friend
- Daisy Waterstone as Abigail, Rachel Carey's half-sister
Production filmed interior scenes at Canterbury Prison, Kent, England doubling as HMP Gladstone, London for episode one. Lead character Sean Emery (Callum Turner) is released from prison wearing a soldier's uniform. He later is rearrested and returns to the prison.
Other interior scenes were filmed at the Printworks venue in Rotherhithe, and The Shard.
|No.||Title||Written and directed by||Original air date||U.K viewers|
|1||"What Happens in Helmand"||Ben Chanan||3 September 2019||7.69|
|After serving six months in prison for the alleged murder of an unarmed Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan, former Lance Corporal Shaun Emery is acquitted when the Court of Appeal rules that video evidence used to convict him was potentially flawed. Whilst celebrating victory, his barrister Hannah Roberts abruptly leaves. Emery goes after her and the two kiss, with Roberts then going home by bus. However, CCTV footage captures Emery assaulting and kidnapping her. Meanwhile, DI Rachel Carey has been temporarily seconded to Homicide and Serious Crime Command from SO15, having recently led Operation Sycamore that secured the convictions of four ISIS terrorists. Rachel's team is called to the scene of the kidnapping, and Carey calls in her contacts to identify Emery with facial recognition. Emery is arrested, but no trace of Roberts is found in his vehicle. In custody, Emery is shown the CCTV footage, but violently lashes out and claims it is fake. Carey sets about locating Roberts's body.|
|2||"Toy Soldier"||Ben Chanan||10 September 2019||7.15|
|Carey is told that the CCTV footage is now redacted by the Security Service. Unable to find Roberts's body or any other evidence, she is forced to release Emery on bail, but becomes suspicious and starts to suspect he may be suffering from PTSD. Emery attempts to track down Roberts himself, and with help from a friend breaks into her flat. He notices somebody else inside and gives chase, getting into a black cab to follow the man’s vehicle. This activity is noticed by homicide detectives DS Patrick Flynn and DS Nadia Latif, who began following Emery despite lacking evidence for a warrant, and by Carey via CCTV in the Counter Terrorism command centre. The taxi driver locks Emery in the car and drives him to a house in Eaton Square, where he is escorted inside by armed men. Carey orders Flynn and Latif to intercept, but they are parked outside the same address and see nothing. Emery is locked in an interrogation room, and American intelligence officers report that "the toy soldier is contained."|
|3||"Truffle Hog"||Ben Chanan||17 September 2019||7.53|
|Emery is questioned about Roberts's whereabouts by US intelligence officer Frank Napier, who shows him footage of his friend Matt being tortured in the next room. Flynn and Latif leak the redacted CCTV footage online. Carey’s team is assisted by DSU Gemma Garland from SO15, who Carey recognises as the woman who ordered the redaction. The Eaton Square house is raided by SCO19, but police are unable to find Emery. Carey searches for the earlier footage of him entering, but it is not found. Emery escapes from the Americans and confronts Marcus Levy, a video engineer who helped with his appeal. Levy tells him that although deepfake technology does exist, there is no way to alter live footage. However, Levy later meets with Carey and hypothesises that footage of Emery and Roberts could have been delayed slightly then altered, using a passing bus as cover for a transition shot. Emery meets Matt and sees that he has not been tortured. Emery leaves London in Matt’s car, but Matt tips off the police. Pulling into a scrapyard, Emery discovers Roberts's body in the boot. Observing his movements on CCTV, and growing suspicious, Carey leaves to confront him.|
|4||"Blind Spots"||Ben Chanan||24 September 2019||7.55|
|Emery is sprayed with CS gas by a police officer, but is able to escape only to be confronted by Carey, who tells him about her suspicions. Before overpowering her and escaping in her car, Emery tells her he was actually taken to Gastor Square. Forced to abandon the police vehicle, Emery is kidnapped by two people calling themselves Alma and Kenny, who show him a GPS tracker in his shoe, and dispose of it. Carey and Flynn deduce the actual location Emery was taken to in Belgravia and are met by Napier, who asks them to leave. Marcus Levy is attacked and put into a coma by Napier's men. After defying Garland's orders by trying to have Roberts's body relocated by the coroner, Carey is suspended from duty, accused of perverting the course of justice. She confronts Hart in The Shard, but he warns her to tread carefully and think about why Roberts, a human rights lawyer, would choose to represent Emery. Flynn uncovers footage showing that Roberts did get on the bus that evening. Using an airgapped phone with a map of CCTV blind spots, Alma takes Emery to an industrial nightclub. She tells him about the covert intelligence practice of "correction", in which video evidence is manipulated to convict suspects. He is met by the man he saw in Roberts's flat, Kenny, and his former solicitor Charlie Hall.|
|5||"A Pilgrim of Justice"||Ben Chanan||1 October 2019||6.04|
|The group shows Emery the original footage that proves his innocence, but tell him the alteration was not made by the intelligence community. A series of flashbacks show the lawyers working with the group to fake the footage of Emery attacking Roberts, helped by Eli, a whistleblower from Napier’s team. They intended to reveal Roberts as alive after Emery’s trial for her murder, and so uncover the practice of “correction” and exposing real miscarriages of justice. After Roberts goes into hiding, Garland, Hart and Napier begin to suspect the footage is a stunt to expose their practices, and Napier decides to make the false story “true” and kill Roberts. After interrogating Eli, Napier and his men track Roberts to a safe house, where she is killed. Hart informs Carey, and she leaves with Flynn, disgusted. Wanting Emery to be re-arrested, Hall’s group tips off the police, who surround the club, but Emery is able to escape with the assistance of Carey and Flynn. Napier instructs Garland to identify Emery's daughter's school.|
|6||"Correction"||Ben Chanan||8 October 2019||6.65|
|Emery hides out at Carey’s family home, but leaves when false footage on the BBC shows him kidnapping his daughter. He confronts Charlie Hall and attacks him, but is intercepted by Garland, who allows him to visit his daughter. Napier is met by Jessica Mallory, a senior official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Carey confronts them and demands that she be reinstated and Emery be removed as a suspect, or she will send the footage of Roberts on the bus to the DPP and the IOPC. They remotely corrupt Flynn’s USB drive so he cannot upload the footage. After spending time with his child under supervision Emery is met by Napier, who reveals the whole meeting was filmed and will be altered to show him abusing her unless he confesses to killing Roberts. Emery agrees and pleads guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. After sentencing, Garland defends the practice of correction to Carey, saying that they only fake events that actually occurred. She urges Carey to join them. Emery is visited in prison by his ex-partner, who Carey told he was innocent of killing Roberts. He claims justice has now caught up with him, and confesses he did murder the unarmed insurgent. Eli is diplomatically repatriated by Mallory, as the executive branch wants to leak the idea of correction as a conspiracy theory, thus giving them deniability. Carey hides an SD card containing a copy of the real bus footage, but then returns to Counter Terrorism Command and asks Hart and Garland when she can start working for them.|
The series was reviewed positively by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 92% based on reviews from 39 critics.
The Telegraph awarded the episode four stars, labelling the series as "riveting", and The Independent also awarded it four stars, designating it an "intriguing, but rather flawed, sort of Big Brother thriller set in our contemporary world of digital snooping". In his review in The Times James Jackson referred to the drama as a "neatly structured thriller... clearly out to interrogate surveillance culture", also awarding four stars. The Guardian was less enthusiastic, concluding it to be a "twisty if lacklustre drama", giving the opening episode only three stars out of five.
Reviews improved over the course of the series, and the finale was highly praised by critics, with many drawing positive comparisons with the BBC's similar series Bodyguard which was broadcast around the same time the previous year. The Telegraph described it as a "highly satisfying series finale", whilst The Times critic James Jackson referred to the series as 'the thinking man's' Bodyguard:
There is no justice when it comes to The Capture... If there was, this thinking man's Bodyguard would have been getting the mega ratings to match that other show. However, this series has always felt more like a pretext for a bigger conversation than mere wham-bam entertainment. The denouement certainly didn't bother with any Bodyguard-style fireworks, which means it may have fallen flat for some. For my money the disturbing questions raised were more than a match for bomb vests and Swat teams.
Sarah Hughes echoed these sentiments in her review of the finale in The Guardian, commenting that "if there were any justice, everyone would be talking about The Capture right now". She heralded the show as "nuanced and complex" and "one of the most cleverly plotted dramas of recent years", and the final episode as "a refreshingly grownup hour of television".
The Capture was the most requested new show in 2019 on BBC iPlayer, with over 20 million requests for series 1. It was also the eighth most requested series overall in 2019.
For his performance, Callum Turner received a nomination for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.