Hunted Season 1 Review “Mort”

hunted bbc one

Coming to Cinemax from BBC UK is a slick new spy show from the makers of Spooks, Hunted, with tonight’s first episode, ‘Mort’, illustrating the lofty expectations for the series and it’s star, Melissa George. Is this the small-screen’s answer to Bourne or Bond? Not quite, but the solid foundations are here to build upon.

After the popularity of Spooks, you can understand the ambition to create something similar, yet somehow fresh, in order to fill the gap in viewers’ lives. Hunted does it’s very best is this regard, following a best-in-the-business female spy, Sam Hunter, as she uncovers the truth about her mysterious employers. We meet her during a mission and are given minimal information about her former life. Skilled and ruthless, George just about convinces as a kick-ass heroine able to take care of business, despite her sex-pot pout and minute stature, and it’s great to see a female character like this able to carry a show.

We also meet her boyfriend, who urges her to run away with him while they still have a chance, and see her shot, presumably by those she works for. Questions of who betrayed her and why are left deliberately murky, and the next time we meet Sam is as she’s recuperating in a remote cottage in Scotland. A year has passed and, much in the same way as Revenge’s Emily Thorne, she’s vowed to get her own back from the inside. Flashbacks offer a little more about Sam’s past, but I feel it’s something that will be explored as the series progresses. This first part of the episode felt as jarring as it was intriguing for me, since the minimal dialogue only is compensated for by a gloomy and atmospheric style.

As with Spooks, there’s an ensemble of characters to work through, all of who are presented in as indistinct and sinister a way as they appear to Sam. It’s likely we won’t find out who was behind the shooting until the final episode, but it’ll sure be fun pointing the finger at each of them in turn. There’s Bernard, the boyfriend, or Deacon (played by Lost’s Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje donning yet another inscrutable accent), the colleague. It really is impossible to theorize off the back of this episode alone but, let’s face it, it’s likely the fault of everyone around her. Her home holds a chart of suspects and their reasons to be out for her, and it’s her personal vendetta that makes the character interesting.

But without the hook or impressive visuals of the show, I’m unsure whether Hunted would come off well. Melissa George seems more and more miscast as this premiere goes on, and her passivity seems much more like blankness once the plot kicks off properly. As with a lot of spy shows, it doesn’t help that the character has to don various disguises and secret identities throughout each episode, but I didn’t exit the hour with any sense of who Sam is, who she was, or who she might turn out to be. This is obviously a serialized drama, and it’s not essential to know these things straight away, but I worry it’ll be an issue that sticks around.

What did you think of this first episode? Is it the wronged protagonist or periphery figures that draw you in? Let us know in the comments.