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'The Capture' is a Fantastic Thriller with a Timely Theme
July 15, 2020  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

NBC's new Peacock service, which officially launches Wednesday, makes a smart bet by including the British series The Capture in its opening-day lineup.

The Capture, a BBC production, is a crime mystery that follows the now-familiar British model of a compact series that focuses on a single case.

And very nicely.

For six episodes, we follow the story of Lance Corporal Shaun Emery (Callum Turner), who has been accused of assaulting and possibly killing Hannah Roberts (Laura Haddock).

Emery says this is insane because Roberts had just given him his life back. She was the lawyer who found a way to overturn his conviction for killing a Taliban prisoner while he was serving in Iraq.

His problem is that routine CCTV surveillance footage shows him meeting Roberts on a deserted street late at night – after his victory party – and then a man assaulting her before dragging her out of camera range.

Arresting Detective Inspector Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) shows Emery this footage in an interrogation room and he calmly acknowledges that the first part records his meeting with Roberts as he remembers it. Yes, that's her. Yes, that's him.

Then the video shows the assault, and Emery goes ballistic. That didn't happen, he screams. Someone has doctored this footage.

Yet there the footage is. Emery is arrested and sent back to the prison from which Roberts sprung him. It isn't lost on either Emery or the viewer that the way Roberts got his Taliban conviction overturned was by showing that incriminating video footage was not reliable.

The title The Capture, we soon realize, has a double meaning. The police captured Emery at the same time cameras are capturing pretty much everything that is happening in the city.

This massive surveillance often helps the police, and others, learn the truth about shady doings. It has a downside, though, even beyond the potential invasion of privacy. Sometimes what one seems to be seeing is not what is really happening.

Whether that's the case in The Capture, well, potential video deception is a big part of what these six episodes explore. DI Carey serves as our eyes and ears, plunging into the surveillance world, and finding some of its aspects may not be as clear-cut as they at initially seem.

With six hours of screen time, The Capture can methodically tell its story, alongside the back dramas and the tangential tales that inevitably arise. So we get plenty of the details that crime and mystery fans enjoy.

At the same time, this show also follows another popular recent model for this sort of miniseries: No central character wins our unconditional love.

There's something a bit elusive about Emery, who seems like a man with secrets. Carey, who has just been promoted into homicide and needs to impress everyone with her command of this case, has some personal and professional issues that aren't entirely flattering.

We don't ever dislike them, and as some truly bad guys start showing up, we're definitely in the corner of the folks we know and more or less trust. But TV characters these days increasingly harbor flaws that make them a little more challenging to figure out.

The Capture is the kind of drama that streaming services like Acorn and Britbox have been importing, with considerable success. It's a good entrée for Peacock's opening menu and, with any luck, won't be the last.

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Just so your readers will know and not be duped, the free version of Peacock will only permit you to watch the first episode of The Capture. I looked very carefully at the show description, and it said nothing about the limitation. In fact it said on the page where the episodes are listed "Free Episodes", implying all of them, or certainly more than one. I think this is very misleading - it requires you to sign up for the pay version to see the rest of the episodes. I wouldn't have watched the first (and gotten hooked) if I had know this.
Jul 16, 2020   |  Reply
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