Hunted Episode One: Melissa George captivates in this Spooks-style espionage drama

by Matt D

After ten action-packed series on BBC1 Spooks finally came to an end last year and since then there has been a gap in the schedules for a British spy drama. Step forward Hunted which comes from production company Kudos who were also behind Spooks and whose writer Frank Spotniz has previously worked on shows such as The X-Files and Millennium.

Hunted stars Melissa George as Sam Hunter a private security operative who when we first meet her is deep undercover in a Moroccan mission in which she double crosses a shady individual to rescue a doctor however the reasons behind this mission aren’t explored instead it introduces us to the team Sam works with. They include Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Deacon, Movern Christie’s Zoe and Adam Rayner’s Aidan who is also Sam’s love interest a fact that is established when they pop off for a quick snog during this mission.

As the mission is a success Sam agrees to meet with Aidan at a local cafe however armed thugs arrive instead and try to kill her however she finishes them off including setting one of them on fire. As Sam believes her ordeal is over the police arrive, supposedly called by the owner of the cafe, however instead they shoot her in the stomach and then everything fades to black.

Hunted then picks up events a year later where Sam is now living in a secluded cottage where she spends her days running and taking long baths while meals seem to mainly consist of a Spam-like substance. This survivalist lifestyle also involves circling small symbols in the newspapers and constructing a board of all her former colleagues presumably ones that she thought had wronged her. The house she is staying in, first believed to be called Mort later revealed to be named Morton, is her childhood home and as we see in flashback she and her mother moved away only for the mother to be killed shortly after by some shadowy men a story that I’m sure will be explored in future weeks. As the sequence at Morton continues Sam constantly checks an egg-timer until it runs out of sand and at that point she leaves the house and buys herself in London. She then turns up one day at her old workplace Byzantium Corp not explaining to her boss Rupert Keel, played by the wonderful Stephen Dillane, why she’ left and where she’s been.

As she returns to work she meets new recruit Ian Fowkes as well as running into Aidan again who tells her that he knew she wanted to tell him she was pregnant however she then lost the baby following the shooting. Sam eventually opens up to Aidan telling him she believes that somebody set her up though he tells her it wasn’t him and as we look back at events following her shooting we see a mysterious man arrived to kill the cafe owner.

Though Hunted is partly about Sam trying to find out which of her co-workers, if any, betrayed her in Morocco she also has a new mission to complete as the team try to block the sale of a dam in Pakistan whose current bidder is dodgy land-owner Jack Turner. The plan is to get to Turner by using his son Stephen and this is achieved by having Stephen’s son Edward almost mowed down by the Byzantium crew only to be ‘saved’ by Sam now posing as American teacher Alex Kent. As Stephen meets Sam again the two bond, as Alex’s backstory involves her family being killed in a car accident while Stephen’s wife also died, and he ends up asking her to move in to his father’s house to be a tutor to Edward. While Jack is completely suspicious of ‘Alex’ it seems that Stephen is already falling for her however she may well be in danger when the mystery blank-faced man who was after her turns up the Turner house posing as Dutch engineer Horst Goebel.

Though I took time to digest the first episode of Hunted I’m still not quite sure what to make of it though it does have its good and bad points. On the plus side I thought Melissa George was captivating as Sam who is presented as a fairly cold figure who has obviously been scarred by the death of a mother and is at first unwilling to be the tutor to Edward as she doesn’t want to hurt a child. George excels in both the opening actions scenes and the later ones at the Morton house which are much slower while she also captures Sam’s suspicious nature excellently. Stephen Dillane is also well-cast as the head of the organisation while Patrick Malahide makes for a good villain as the devious Jack Turner. The first half-hour is very well-paced as we have both the chaotic action scenes in Morocco, which are all well-directed by Eliza Mellor, as well as the more sedate scenes at Morton however once Sam returns to Byzantium I was a little less involved in the action.

Personally at the moment I’m not really invested in the Turner plot however that may be because it was presented hear as a secondary story which was outshone by Sam’s conspiracy theories. In addition I don’t really believe the Aidan and Sam love story mainly because George and Adam Rayner have little chemistry while their scenes together just feel a bit cold. Some of the scenes I also found unnecessary while obviously there needs to be some violence to advance the story, for example the attack on Sam in Morocco, for me when the mysterious man injects Goebel in the eyeball I felt quite squeamish.

Overall there is enough in Hunted to keep me interested mainly through the stories involving who double-crossed Sam and the mystery of what happened to her mother plus how the mysterious man is connected to all of her issues. I really thought George did her best with some outlandish stories and scenes while Dillane provided some strong support however the second part of the episode did drag for me. I’m not currently sure how Spotniz and his team will drag this story out over eight episodes though at the moment at least I’m intrigued to see how they’ll manage it however I expect fans of Spooks may be a little underwhelmed.

Did you watch Hunted? If so did you enjoy it? Leave your comments below.


  1. 020robb on October 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Unbelievably naff. Still running but have stopped watching it. Complete travesty to compare it to spooks. Shame.

  2. Sue Davies on October 4, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed Hunted!Plenty of action and suspense,good bit of girl power!Not like Spooks, but will be watching it nevertheless!!

  3. Paul Beaumont on October 5, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I spent an hour watching an over-hyped load of twaddle composed of disjointed pieces of naff story lines jumbled together in an epileptic manner. It was almost entertaining; I care not for long story lines nor simplistic ones and this first episode had both.
    Sadly there are seven more episodes to suffer before we find out who the mole is – if we really care that is – and see whether the makers will have the guts to make a second series.
    All in all my time would have been better taken watching paint dry.

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