I saw some write-up awhile back for a new British series called Manhunt, and I thought it was a running series. Nope, just 3 episodes. And based on a true story, the hunt for a killer of a young woman in the middle of a park. Not my usual fare, honestly. I don’t often do mini-series and true crime rarely interests me. Truth is often in the eye of the beholder in a lot of the fare, and I prefer it not try and tell me “this is how it really happened” in a creative non-fiction.
But I watched the episode, with a relatively newly transferred Senior Investigating Officer, Colin Sutton. His wife is a behavioural analyst, but he doesn’t put a lot of stock in her psycho mumbo jumbo. Instead, he prefers boots on the ground going door to door.
What bothers me a bit with the protrayal is that he seems to be latching on to the direct route to the killer almost immediately. Hey, there’s a clue over there — nope, rubbish. Here’s a clue over here — nope, rubbish. Here’s something — yes, that’s the lead we need. Really? Seems a bit self aggrandizing to me, turning the lead into a super cop with a nose for crime. More divination than Sherlock Holmes’ deduction.
In the opening, he is dealing with possible links to other murders, internal politics as to who gets to be his second in command or not, lost evidence in earlier cases that might be linked, and a heavy reliance on CCTV footage that may or may not lead anywhere. I also find it bothersome that there is almost zero drilling down on the victim. Nothing about her life, possible suspects, they immediately decide it was someone random. I also can’t quite figure out how you kill someone in relatively broad daylight/nightime in a park — it is so obvious to see her that a passing pedestrian sees her lying on the ground and calls it in. Which means the victim and her killer could also have been easily seen, and the killer would have been seen by the victim coming too from quite a distance away. Plus there were people in the park not long before, so not exactly deserted either.
The lead actor, Martin Clunes, is awesome…very understated, very simply presented, and very compelling. He seems like a soft-spoken plodder and he is calming to watch run the case. There are good supporting characters, and they seem more like reporters working on a story than cops hunting a murderer.
Nobody in the EP really stands out except Clunes, and I would normally be on the fence for the future of the show. As soon as I saw it was 3 EPs only, I assumed that meant it was a mini-series. Nope, they’re bringing it back for Season 2. I have NO idea what that will be about – same characters? Different cases? This one is over in 3 EPs. And if it wasn’t so short, I might have gone with CANCELLATION. I’ll watch the other two EPs just to see what happens, but it isn’t really my kind of show, even with great acting by Clunes.