Why The Capture should be your next box set
James R | On 28, Aug 2022
Season 2 premieres on BBC One on 28th August 2022. This review is based on Season 1 and was published in November 2019.
BBC One’s new surveillance thriller will be compared by many to Bodyguard, but the drama is closer to a companion piece to Channel 4’s equally gripping Chimerica. Where that drama delved into questions of photos, image editing and what can be trusted in this world of modern technology, The Capture raises equally troubling issues around deep fake – the manipulation of videos to make it appear as if someone said or did something they didn’t.
Strike’s always-charismatic Holliday Grainger is excellent as DI Rachel Carey, the person trying to tease apart the gap between real and not. That challenge emerges initially with Shaun Emery (Callum Turner), a soldier who is in prison for the alleged murder of a Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan. He is sprung, though, when his barrister, Hannah Roberts, reveals that the video evidence used to convict him is flawed and unreliable. Fast forward 24 hours and Emery is arrested once more, this time for the kidnapping of Hannah, who has gone missing. The CCTV footage of him committing the assault, he argues, isn’t real – and the resulting investigation pries into the shadowy corners of truth, fiction and fake facts.
Written by Ben Chanan, the drama twists and turns its way through its knotted narrative. Suspicious beget rumours beget conspiracy theories and all the while, we’re second-guessing what’s real and what isn’t. The cast keep us uncertain for just long enough, with Turner in particular playing Shaun with a wonderful ambiguity, so we can’t tell whether he’s guilty, just feels guilty or unfairly framed – and once we think we’ve made up our minds on the kidnapping, does that change the way we view his original Afghanistan charge?
Our lead duo are joined by Ron Perlman, Ben Miles and Lia Williams as a trio of shady individuals who know what’s going on, and they present the apparent facts with the kind of blunt authority that’s reserved to whistleblowers and high-ranking spies. As Chanan widens the frame to take in the national, and international, picture, Grainger and Turner keep things rooted in the personal stakes of juggling evidence with faith in the justice system. The result is much bleaker than you might initially suspect, and while the series threatens to get lost in its own web of intricate reveals, the sense of not knowing who’s right and wrong is precisely the point. An exercise in sowing doubt and building suspense, this smart, surprising thriller is one to watch – especially if you never want to watch any other video in the same way again.