Show name: The Capture
Release date: 2019
Starring: Holliday Grainger, Callum Turner, Ben Miles
Directed by: Ben Chanan
Studio: BBC One/Peacock
Length: 12 episodes over 2 seasons
The Capture presents some uncomfortable truths about a future that is already unfolding.
As such, it is one of the most thought-provoking TV shows I’ve watched recently.
There are two seasons, each with six episodes. The Capture is detective drama mixed with tech and with a fair bit of spooks (secret services) thrown in for good measure.
In season one, DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) is celebrating obtaining lengthy prison sentences for some terror suspects prosecuted on the basis of CCTV evidence.
However, she soon runs into a case involving Shaun Emery (Callum Turner), a soldier who was falsely convicted on the basis of flawed video evidence.
His conviction is overturned on appeal due to technical evidence provided by an expert (Paul Ritter).
Shaun is arrested for the kidnapping of his barrister Hannah Roberts (Laura Haddock), again with CCTV evidence being used to substantiate the arrest.
Shaun is adamant that he didn’t commit these offences and that the video is a fake. Rachel finds herself believing him.
Rachel then hears about ‘correction’ for the first time. This is a technique whereby fake video footage can be spliced into accurate footage.
But who has faked the video of Shaun assaulting Hannah, and what is their agenda?
In season two, Rachel is keen to avoid the boredom of being in charge at the mapping department of the Correction project.
Luckily, Security Minister Isaac Turner (Paapa Essiedu) finds that footage of a TV interview he gave has been faked.
He is outraged that his recommendation that a major security contract not be awarded to a Chinese firm has been turned into enthusiastic support.
Worse, in a later interview with Newsnight presenter Khadija Khan (Indira Varma) has him enthusiastically supporting racial profiling.
Isaac’s marriage comes under strain when a Nigerian woman alleges that he fathered her love child.
The Home Office must also investigate whether her visa application was deliberately slowed down in order to protect the minister.
Season two was particularly topical due to current concerns over Tiktok and Chinese proximity to security contracts.
It also raised the question of whether ‘correction’ is being used to benefit ministers, just as it was used to punish an innocent soldier in season one.
The Capture raises many uncomfortable issues surrounding the West’s relationship with China, our own defence against domestic and international threats and the limits we will go to as a state to protect ourselves.
Our trust in technology is a complex matter, and The Capture invites us to consider the extent to which we can truly believe anything we see online.
The strong performances from Grainger, Turner (season one) and Essiedu (season two) made The Capture a joy to watch. The stories were complex but satisfying, and there was plenty of scope for thorough characterisation.
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