What Happens In Helmand
Following hot on the heels of ITV’s latest crime drama A Confession, The Capture, despite its relatively generic name, gets off to a good start here with plenty of thought provoking questions about our digitalised world and how it could be manipulated against us. With some slick camera work and a slow, bubbling narrative, The Capture ends things with a suitable climax that explodes into a flurry of tantalizing questions ready for next week.
Faced with a wall of CCTV monitors, we begin with two officers discussing the possibility of a fight breaking out as they watch a group of youths outside a chicken shop. As they keep watching, a man and woman begin kissing passionately in the street nearby, only to walk off and what happens next to be obscured by the officer watching on, wide-eyed.
From here, we cut back 18 hours earlier to a local prison. One of the inmates, Shaun, hides in the corner of one of the hallways and phones home before hiding the contraband and heading back to his cell where he packs up his things and prepares to leave prison for his trial. He comes under heavy scrutiny by the judge who shows camera footage of him recklessly executing a soldier before shouting after shooting, making it seem like he’s covering his own tracks and meant to kill in cold blood.
As another witness is called to the stand, we learn about video latency, where the audio can be out of sync for up to 6 seconds. If this is to be believed, then the audio could perhaps explain the video discrepancies. As we see the footage again, this time with the audio at the correct timing, we see firsthand the power video footage can have and just how dangerous it can be when used incorrectly in a court of law.
Released from prison after winning the case, Shaun arrives at the school playground to greet his daughter JC. His welcome is frosty, to say the least, before he heads to his local for a cold beer and to revel in his newfound freedom, thanking his barrister Hannah for her help.
Wound up from his time on the battlefield, things get heated in the pub as one of the men makes a joke about killing muslims, causing Shaun to head to the bathroom to cool off. Vehemently declining to take drugs, he heads outside where we catch up to our early prologue, this time from Shaun’s perspective as he sees Hannah walking home, prompting him to follow after her up the road. Awkwardly dancing around what he’s trying to ask, she leans forward and kisses him instead; warm smiles and an empathetic embrace following. As he watches her walk away, she tells him she’ll call him but before we can see anything more, we cut back to the operators who call in an assault. What happened at the bus stop?
As DI Rachel is called to the aftermath, she learns there’s no sign of Hannah and they’re unable to engage in facial recognition due to restricted technology. However, after seeing the CCTV footage, armed police charge into Shaun’s flat and hold him up at gunpoint. Rachel appears and demands he take her to his car where the police find it clear. Confused, he asks the police what’s going on before being arrested for kidnapping. Not helping his case, he attempts to wrestle free and flee, only to be tasered and dropped on the ground.
While the unforgiving glare of the cameras watch Shaun pace in his cell, the police bring the car in for forensics. As the team set to work in combing the vehicle for clues, we see the power of the intelligence team first-hand as they run facial recognition technology and effortlessly make someone a suspect.
As police huddle round the monitors and watch the interview unfold, DI Rachel heads in with DS Patrick Flynn as they begin interviewing Shaun, asking him where Hannah Roberts is. He tells them he doesn’t know where she is and relays the chain of events that occurred. It’s here we see the CCTV footage that initially had him arrested where he stares, wide-eyed at the footage of himself hitting the girl in the face and beating her. Shocked and enraged, he tells them the footage has been tampered with, before DI Rachel hurries to the room next door and examines his reaction to the video, as he repeatedly mutters “It’s not real” while pinning himself to the table.
Dumped back in his jail cell, Shaun drops to his knees and weeps while police head up to the river and prepare for the possibility Shaun may have PTSD, and there could be a body. Could it be that Shaun can’t remember what he did? Or is there something far more sinister going on here?
Despite a bit of a slow start, The Capture quickly picks up momentum and builds a foundation of questions for our characters to answer. The smart editing, and nicely developing mystery with the CCTV footage is a nice touch, and the early inclusion of jumping back in time 18 hours helps to flesh things out whilst boasting an engaging opening.
Much has been said about The Capture, especially its comparisons to Bodyguard and personally I hate these frames of reference as they put unnecessary pressure on a show before it’s even begun. Let’s not forget either that in the case of Bodyguard, the show started brightly and quickly fizzled out, which I hope is not a catalyst for what will happen with this one.
The mystery is almost always more satisfying than the big reveal and although the story itself features some pretty clumsy cliches (female detective sleeping with boss for one), there’s enough here to make for an enjoyable series nonetheless. It’s not perfect, and it is a little slow at times, but for the most part The Capture does well to capture your attention, especially during the climactic quarter of its first episode. There’s plenty of material to chew through though and quite where BBC’s new drama goes from here, remains to be seen.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!