TV Review: Hunter

Janet McTeer and Hugh Bonneville head up Hunter, a scarcely needed spin-off from Five Days

“How could you kill a child if ‘all life is sacred'”

Who knows what logic can ever be drawn from TV programming decisions. Crime drama Five Days aired in 2007 followed by both a spin-off in 2009 in Hunter and a second anthology-style series in 2010. The latter decision makes more sense to me as a way of extending the world of the series without being beholden to recurring characters but having just watched the first series, I’m surprised that enough was seen in the characters of DSI Iain Barclay (Hugh Bonneville) and DS Amy Foster (Janet McTeer) to merit giving them their own show, especially since she’d just retired.

As a two-parter, it’s also a bit of a flimsy thing. A disturbing case to be sure, two seven-year-old boys who go missing on the same day and only connected when photos of the boys wrapped in matching blankets are sent to the police with a threat to murder them unless demands are met. As the motives of the extremist group responsible are investigated, the inexperienced police team struggle to keep things together as major ethical dilemmas present themselves.

It’s all fine without ever really being particularly great. A cast of familiar faces make it engaging for me at least, the likes of Geoffrey Streatfeild, Eleanor Matsuura and Jonathan Slinger as police officers, Harriet Walter as their foreboding ACC. McTeer and Bonneville are good enough is sell most material and have some kind of chemistry but with the limited running time, there’s not really enough time to dig deep enough into the themes here to make them hit home as hard as they could.

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