With summer now a distant memory and the skies a constant depressing shade of grey, on the small screen things are starting to heat up. As we approach the autumn (fall) schedule, new BBC drama The Capture is shaping up to be quite the tasty espionage treat. With more tension, investigative action and a slowly developing story, BBC could be on to a real winner here in their latest original drama.
We return to the heart of the investigation in episode 2, as the police search underwater for any clues of Hannah’s body while Shaun paces back and forth in his cell. As they quickly learn, there’s a problem with the CCTV footage they have – so much so that the higher authorities decide it needs to be redacted. With no witnesses to speak of and now no video tape, DI Rachel has 5 hours left until they have to release Shaun, unless they find some evidence to pin on him in that time.
Time is against them it seems, and as Rachel reviews the footage again, she decides to take a stab at interviewing Shaun, determined to get some form of confession from him. She tells him they’ve found Hannah’s DNA in his boot and spins this into a murder investigation against him. It’s unconventional and somewhat intrusive but it’s pressure cooker stuff; a desperate play to get a confession from him. Instead, he tells her he wants his phone call.
Divers find nothing in their extensive search while Nadia doesn’t have much better luck with the footage from the bus. Telling Rachel they’ve run out of ideas, she reluctantly releases Shaun on Bail and he immediately asks her where Hannah is. Not giving anything away, he leaves the station and phones Hannah’s phone, greeted by her voicemail.
Frazzled and incredulous, Shaun’s lawyer refuses to represent him anymore as he visits his office, leaving him high and dry. However, on the way out the door he manages to find Hannah’s details, including her address. The car results come back moments after this and it turns out no DNA for the alleged victim was found in the car. Nadia heads to see Shaun’s ex Karen and tries to piece together a character examination to potentially use against him. Asking her whether he was violent, she dances around the question and tells her he’s angry, jealous and drunk. She hesitates, just for a second, before telling her she didn’t lay a finger on him. Is she telling the truth?
Meanwhile Patrick visits Becky, the operator from the previous episode, and tells her to sign a witness statement. She does but upon doing so comments that Shaun’s mannerisms don’t match that of someone on the verge of striking out in aggression. Further question marks hang over the case too as Danny comes back with bad news, having hit a rock. Rachel is relentless though, asking to obtain a surveillance warrant on Shaun. Whatever happened at the bus stop, Hannah didn’t get on the bus as the footage they have clearly shows.
Deciding to take the investigation one step further, Rachel uses the counter-terrorism room for “training purposes” while combing the streets using facial recognition technology to find him. Eventually she does, realizing that he’s at Hannah’s address while Nadia sits inside watching from afar. Armed with a makeshift lock-pick, he breaks into her flat as the music cuts out, leaving an ominous silence hanging over the scene. Shaun checks the flat before hearing a door creak as someone leaves and heads downstairs. Bolting outside in pursuit, he chases after the man before telling his friend to go home.
Nadia panics, following Shaun on foot while our ex-soldier follows the man in black. While the police suspect he’s trying to shake them, unbeknownst to them he’s following a possible suspect, as he bundles into a taxi and follows a red Prius. The taxi driver agrees to follow the car before ignoring his request and speeding down to a CCTV blind-spot. As Rachel scrambles to get him back on the footage, Shaun is taken to a different address, greeted by a menacing figure who tells him to get out the cab and follow him inside.
As the police reach Belgravia, the exact spot Shaun is alleged to be, in real time there’s no one outside at that address. There’s something seriously wrong here as Rachel watches from the security room as Shaun speaks to the men outside and heads in. Could it be the sync issue mentioned earlier? Or is there something more conspiratorial going on here? As the police scramble for answers, Shaun is shown down a darkened hallway and sat in an interview room, while an army of people next door declare to an American that the “toy soldier” is now contained.
With a cliffhanger ending and plenty of questions hanging over the series, The Capture does well to build up its drama and mystery, wrapped up in a bubbling pot of ethical and morally sound ideas. Should we really have this much power? And if so, what’s the cost of our reliance on technology when it can so easily be manipulated to fit our own narrative? It’s such a fascinating idea and if seeing really is believing, The Capture challenges those ideals with a story that manages to subvert expectation and paints our own CCTV as the enemy.
While the characters themselves do well, it’s ultimately the plot here that drives the narrative forward. Given the ending we receive, I do hope The Capture doesn’t veer too hard toward the Hollywood approach of delivering a large than life story or adds too many unrealistic plot points. Part of the allure with this one comes from the relatively grounded story and ideas around abused technology. It seems to be a recurring theme this year too, especially given Better Than Us and Years & Years which both capture this same idea nicely.
Still, the door is left wide open for where this may go next but right now, The Capture leaves things on a tantalizing note ready for next week’s episode.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!