TV Review: The Capture, Series 2

Lia Williams, Paapa Essiedu and Indira Varma are huge amounts of fun in the entertaining second series of The Capture on BBC1

“It’s remarkable, the things that can be done with a camera these days”

Having found the first series of The Capture by chance when looking for things to watch during lockdown, I hadn’t thought that it would likely get a second season but here you go. I wasn’t entirely sure how they’d take it further but the first couple of episodes completely sold me. Written by Ben Chanan, it’s a conspiracy thriller which posits a near-future that really doesn’t feel that far removed from where we might be already in terms of the reach of the surveillance state.

The process of ‘correction’, using deepfake technology to ensure particular outcomes, feels like a spine-chilling fantasy but the show roots it in a well-considered reality that convinces, as police and government collude to murky ends. Where the show excels though, is in elevating it to a level of almost-camp outrageousness which proves delicious to watch, particularly when in the hands of Lia Williams, Paapa Essiedu and Indira Varma.

Holliday Grainger’s DCI Carey has the less fun job of being the straight man in the company, acting as the audience’s route into what’s going on and acting as the would-be moral core in the face of the international shenanigans that she’s witnessing. And she’s quite good, especially when trapped in the infernal loops of not being able to trust what she is seeing and hearing on the phones and screens around her.

The relationship between the state, the police and the media is also fascinatingly explored, again feeling closer to reality than fiction in its tangled closeness. Paapa Essiedu’s determined politician and Indira Varma’s sharp-eyed TV presenter are great value for money as they negotiate personal ambition with the greater good. But it is Lia Williams’ deadpan brilliance as DSU Gemma Garland, keeping everyone off-balance with just how much control she is or isn’t exerting over events. Recommended.

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