What a gripping end to Hunter last night’s show was, and whatever it was that wasn’t quite gelling in part one, gelled its head off in the second and concluding part!
I even managed to get over Miles being so cyber-hyper – well, almost.
Harriet Walter brought the character of the by-the-book ACC Griffin vividly to life and was, as ever, a joy to watch. Griffin threw a ‘zero tolerance’ bucket of cold water all over Barclay’s argument that the kidnappers’ demands should be met, and the hard word that they would not be was delivered by Harriet with aplomb.
Hugh Bonneville seemed to up his game in this episode too! He was truly compelling as a man desperate to get to the children before the kidnappers could carry out their threats.
Other great performances came from Clare Holman as the demented medic Dr Margaret Newell. When she ‘had’ to kill one of the boys – because her demand to show the film hadn’t been met – I was genuinely moved. With dogged but reluctant determination, Margaret injected James with a fast acting killer drug and she tenderly held his hand as he died. It was utterly credible and the more frightening for it.
I honestly felt that this was a scenario which – God forbid – could actually happen and what’s more, the reasoning behind it and the police response were all scarily plausible. One can only hope it doesn’t give ideas to a real fanatic!
Janet McTeer was again awesome as Amy Foster and the fact that she actually demonstrated little emotion when the body of James was found only added to her character’s integrity. When most women would be deeply upset, Foster isn’t but McTeer managed to convey that without going down the route of hard-faced, hard-nosed, ball breaker woman, which must’ve taken some doing!
Mick Ford did an excellent job of this story and it really revved up for the concluding part. The logistics of the abductions, the police procedure, the sub-plots; it all made riveting watching.
And for me, it had elements of a sort of ‘Stockholm syndrome’ about it in that I could – in some regards – empathise with the abductors while appreciating that the police couldn’t give in to their demands for fear of having every crank this side of Gaza kidnapping kids to get what they want. It was a glimpse into a horrible dilema.
If I have one complaint about the plot though it’s that the parents of the missing children – who were aware of the deadline and the demand – would, or should, have been screaming at the police to just show the tape, but they weren’t actually in last night’s episode a whole lot.
I felt that overall, more weight was given to ‘the cause’ than was given to the police and parents frustration and fear that the deadline was approaching.
However, despite a few holes in the story and a few corners cut for the sake of time, this was really excellent viewing and if you missed it, it’s well worth taking time out to watch it on BBC iPlayer.