Zeroing In On The Suspect
Building on the solid work done yesterday during the first episode, Manhunt returns for its second act, one more focused and dramatic than before. As the investigation zeroes in on the lead suspect, Levi Bellfield, tensions arise back at the station as various members of the team begin doubting Colin’s resolve. All of this builds toward a dramatic finale as the press get involved and the team ramp up the prep work needed to gain an arrest warrant.
Less than 24 hours since we left Colin Sutton and his investigation into the brutal murder, we return with a renewed focus as our team scramble to find the white van seen in the pictures. After some difficult investigative work and a few dead-end leads and ideas, the case finally has a breakthrough in the form of one Levi Bellfield. From here, the episode takes on a different complexion as the police zero in on him as the lead suspect and the case begins to build momentum.
After tailing the suspect and subsequently losing him at traffic lights, the team begin to piece together various victims from other crimes, with Levi the focal point in the investigation. Late on, we see Levi’s character and predatory instincts at play as he chats to two young girls at a bus stop, undeniably proving to Colin that he is the man they’re after and the key suspect in the French national’s death. The final scenes of the episode end with a dread-inducing moment as the News Of The World catch wind of the police operation, threatening to run the story before the police are able to obtain a warrant for arrest. We leave tonight’s episode with the press agreeing to hold fire on running their story but demanding a photographer and journalist be present to see the arrest up close and personal.
Character-wise, we do see more of the supporting cast this time around although Colin remains the focal point for much of their dialogue. Martin Clunes’ portrayal as a man torn between his work and personal life is really well written though and there’s some pretty heartbreaking moments here as Colin’s work begins to consume his life. After ditching his wife at the airport, Colin self-destructs further by missing his own birthday celebrations. At times it makes for some uncomfortable viewing but does do a great job emphasizing the feeling of this case being a poisoned chalice and a toxic influence in Colin’s life.
The second episode sees a return of the realistically depicted investigative work too and there’s some really accurate scenes here that defy the usual conventions one would expect from this genre. One particular scene sees surveillance footage blown up on a cinema screen to try to make a blurry registration clearer but alas, it has an opposite effect. There’s no CSI style enhancements here and this, along with other methodical and analytical work, makes for a compelling and realistically depicted drama.
Manhunt may not be the best or most stylish police procedural out there but what it lacks in explosive action, it more than makes up for with realistically depicted police work and a compelling story. It makes for quite an acquired taste at times but if you enjoyed the first episode, Manhunt delivers another gripping, well written 45 minutes of entertainment. Tomorrow’s finale looks to be a good one too and with the promise of this investigation coming to a close, it’ll be interesting to see if Manhunt can continue its great work leading into the final episode.