mon 20/05/2024

The Capture, Episode 5, BBC One review - the man who knew too much | reviews, news & interviews

The Capture, Episode 5, BBC One review - the man who knew too much

The Capture, Episode 5, BBC One review - the man who knew too much

Ben Chanan's twisty conspiracy thriller is boiling to a climax

Trust no-one: Ben Miles as Danny Hart, Holliday Grainger as Rachel Carey

Five episodes ago, BBC One's The Capture set off at a cracking pace with the apparent abduction and murder of barrister Hannah Roberts by army lance-corporal Shaun Emery.

With Roberts’s help, Emery had been acquitted of killing a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan in cold blood, the defence’s case hingeing on a timing glitch in the video taken at the scene by Emery’s body-camera.

It didn’t make sense that he’d want to bump off the woman who’d dug him out of a huge legal hole, especially as he’d also become more than slightly enamoured of her. The feeling between them appeared to be mutual. The only explanation was that the CCTV footage of him assaulting her near a bus stop must somehow have been tampered with. How, why or by whom remained to be seen.

Since then, the temperature has risen steadily as the show has developed into a fascinatingly twisty thriller, centring around the disturbingly contemporary themes of total surveillance, “deep fake” news and political control of the justice system. In this penultimate episode, the full terrifying scale of the forces ranged against Emery (played by Callum Turner, pictured below, cycling rapidly through fear, bewilderment, anger, and numerous tests of his fight-or-flight reflexes) was finally unveiled. To his horror, he’s been sucked into a diabolically cunning conspiracy, though it’s turning out to be only a small one wrapped inside a much larger one, with world-spanning ramifications.

We’re now grasping the significance of the menacing American spook Frank Napier (Ron Perlman, the very model of a grizzly bear in human form), with his shadowy army of assistants from the CIA and the National Security Agency. The heart of the matter is a blood-freezing programme called “Correction”, which makes use of all-pervasive surveillance cameras and computer technology to rewrite history and incriminate anybody that the security services feel it would be useful to remove from the geopolitical chessboard.

With some help from unexpected quarters, Emery has managed to keep ahead of his pursuers, but has also experienced some flabbergasting revelations about video fakery and Roberts’s fate, and the way he’s been betrayed and manipulated by a whole list of people. Through it all, he has managed to stay resourceful and quick-witted, though his experiences would have crushed any ordinary citizen. At last he’s getting some solid support from DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger), but her own position in the police is under threat because, thanks to her dogged pursuit of the evidence, she's seen more than is good for her. Her card has been marked by the baleful Det Supt Garland (Lia Williams), and her office romance with Danny Hart (Ben Miles) is now just a rancid memory. Still, he did throw a penetrating shaft of light on the proceedings when he asked her, “when did you last hear of a human rights lawyer defending a British soldier?”

Kudos to writer/director Ben Chanan for so skilfully playing on our fears of a secret state where everybody’s a pawn in an incomprehensibly huge game. As Hart also commented, “this is global. Even if we wanted to, there’s nothing any of us can do to stop it.” It’s thought-provoking stuff.

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