|Written by||George Kay|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin|
|No. of episodes||7|
|Running time||44–50 minutes|
|Release||28 June –|
2 August 2023
Sam, a talented business negotiator, must use his skills to broker a peaceful end to a hijacking of a seven-hour flight from Dubai to London.
Cast and characters
- Idris Elba as Sam Nelson, a corporate business negotiator
- Neil Maskell as Stuart Atterton / Gerald Taylor, Lewis' elder brother and the leader of the hijackers
- Christine Adams as Marsha Smith-Nelson, Sam's estranged wife, a physics professor
- Eve Myles as Alice Sinclair, an air traffic controller at London Heathrow Airport
- Archie Panjabi as DCI Zahra Gahfoor, O'Farrel's former partner and a member of SO15
- Max Beesley as DI Daniel O'Farrel, Marsha's current boyfriend, a Metropolitan Police officer
- Ben Miles as Captain Robin Allen, the pilot of Kingdom Airlines Flight 29
- Hattie Morahan as Louise Aitchison, the British Foreign Secretary
- Neil Stuke as Neil Walsh, the British Home Secretary
- Kaisa Hammarlund as Anna Kovacs, the first officer of Kingdom Airlines Flight 29
- Zora Bishop as Deevia Khan, the lead flight attendant
- Jeremy Ang Jones as Arthur, a flight attendant
- Kate Phillips as Collette Fisher, a flight attendant who is having an affair with Robin
- Jasper Britton as Terry Reid / Marcus Sutton, one of the hijackers
- Jack McMullen as Lewis Atterton / Ryan Cunningham, Stuart's younger brother and one of the hijackers
- Aimée Kelly as Jamie Constantinou / Bella Cunningham, one of the hijackers
- Mohamed Elsandel as Jaden Dahir / Alexander Kier, one of the hijackers
- Simon McBurney as Edgar Janssen, a powerful criminal
- Harry Michell as Hugo, the passenger sitting next to Sam
- Mohammad Faisal Mostafa as Abdullah, a Dubai air traffic controller who manages KA29
- Holly Aird as Amanda, a passenger
- Fatima Adoum as Rashida, a passenger
- Nebras Jamali as Nasir, a passenger
- Nikkita Chadha as Neela, an airport security screener who leaves her station mysteriously
- Antonia Salib as Leesha, a first-class passenger
- Gretchen Egolf as Adelaide
- Lucia Aliu as Lizzy Blakefield
- Mei Henri as Naomi, a teenage passenger
- Chantelle Alle as Kacey, a teenage passenger
- James Burrows as Jonty, a passenger with a criminal history
- Alex Macqueen as Tindall, a government official
- Kevin Eldon as Devlin, a mysterious businessman
- Richard Hope as Phillip Paxton, an Anglican priest
- Julia Deakin as Claire Paxton, Phillip's wife
|No.||Title ||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Final Call"||Jim Field Smith||George Kay||28 June 2023|
|Corporate business negotiator Sam Nelson boards Kingdom Airlines flight KA29 from Dubai to London to return to his estranged wife. At the airport, he convinces gate staff to allow fellow passenger Alec on after he narrowly misses the gate closing. After takeoff, teenage passenger Naomi finds a bullet in the bathroom and tells Marcus, a friendly fellow passenger. Marcus, secretly part of a hijacking crew, informs leader Stuart and his colleagues to expedite the takeover. Using Glock 19 pistols hidden in toiletry bags, several hijackers take control of the plane, speaking both English and Arabic. Airport screener Neela, who allowed the guns on board, returns home when her husband and child are threatened. The hijackers access the cockpit by threatening Collette, a flight attendant who Captain Robin Allen is having an affair with. Before the Wi-Fi is turned off, Sam is able to text his wife about the incident, and she passes it to her boyfriend, DI Daniel O'Farrell, who works for the Metropolitan Police.|
|2||"3 Degrees"||Jim Field Smith||George Kay||28 June 2023|
|Two passengers attack one of the hijackers, and Sam picks up his gun. The passengers are subdued, and Sam returns the pistol to Stuart Atterton, the lead hijacker. O'Farrell contacts his ex, DCI Zahra Gahfoor from SO15, who reaches out to colleagues at Heathrow Airport, who state the KA29 call was a false alarm. He relays this to Marsha. Abdullah, the Dubai flight controller whom Allen assured everything was fine, has doubts about KA29's status. He notices Neela leaving security screening on CCTV, before her shift ends. Allen is removed from the cockpit, and tells Sam that the Iraqi military will be contacted when they enter their airspace and nobody responds. However, the hijackers force Allen to confirm to Baghdad ATC there is no issue. At Heathrow, air traffic controller Alice Sinclair also questions the "false alarm" and notices a slight deviation in the flight plan, a post-9/11 indication for help. Arriving at Neela's house, Abdullah finds her and her family murdered and is killed by British assassins.|
|3||"Draw a Blank"||Jim Field Smith||Adam Gyngell, Fred Fernandez Armesto, George Kay||5 July 2023|
|Sinclair calls Gahfoor about her concerns, who then escalates the matter to the Home Office and JTAC. Passenger Yussef, a former Egyptian Army officer, thinks the hijackers are using blanks, but can't be sure. Arthur, a flight attendant, tells Sam about the bullet Naomi found. Sam works with the flight crew to get a drawing of a real bullet and blank round to Naomi, who identifies the latter. Atterton calls their superior to update them, but the call goes to voicemail. Tindall, a senior official, calls in Foreign Secretary Louise Aitchison. Gahfoor sends the KA29 manifest to O'Farrell, who notices that five names (the hijackers) do not appear on any national databases, but their passports seem legitimate. Hijacker Jaden attacks Nasir, a passenger trying to get insulin for his uncle. In the melee, a child, Lizzie Miller, goes missing, and Sam sneaks to the back of the plane to attack Marcus and disarm him but is overpowered. Atterton swaps his blanks for live rounds and approaches the back. Challenged by Sam, Marcus raises his gun. A shot is fired.|
|4||"Not Responding"||Mo Ali||Kam Odedra and George Kay||12 July 2023|
|Atterton executes a passenger as a warning. In the melee, Lewis is stabbed by a passenger. Atterton tells Lewis they are doing the hijack "for Edgar and John". Sam is tied up by Marcus but soon released to provide first aid as Lewis bleeds out. As KA29 enters Romanian airspace without responding, two NATO Eurofighter Typhoons are scrambled with orders to shoot it down as it approaches Bucharest. Aitchison takes control, and the prime minister is called. Whilst helping Lewis call his mother, Sam uses the cellphone to send contact info to Marsha, who passes it to O'Farrell. Checking the PNC, he and Gahfoor ascertain the hijackers' identities, realising they are part of organised crime, not terrorists. Aitchison passes this information to the Romanians, who call off the jets just in time. David, doctor on board, carries out a makeshift thoracostomy on Lewis to stop him from dying. Two more British assassins scope out the Nelson residence. The home secretary is given a list of demands by Devlin, an associate of the hijackers.|
|5||"Less Than an Hour"||Mo Ali||Anna-Maria Ssemuyaba and George Kay||19 July 2023|
|As the plane enters Hungarian airspace, Lewis's condition starts to deteriorate. Dubai police are called to Neela's house, and her dog leads them to the bodies of Neela and Abdullah. Meanwhile, the hijackers begin to argue over what to do next. It is revealed that their demands are to get Edgar and John released from prison. The home secretary conveys this to Gahfoor and Aitchison, while the prime minister is on hold. Atterton decides to use First Officer Anna Kovács to get her to communicate to Hungarian ATC that they are landing at Győr Airport and need medical assistance. The Hungarian Counter-Terrorist Unit is immediately dispatched to the airport to neutralize the hijackers. O'Farrell and his associate go to visit Elaine, Lewis and Atterton's mother. Elaine tells O'Farrell about the organized crime syndicate then runs onto a highway, where she is killed by a truck. Terry then tells Sam that their organized crime heads will kill them and their family if they land, as he reveals that they have Sam's family info. Lewis withdraws the pen that David inserted into his chest, effectively killing himself. Atterton sees this and tells Deevia Khan to instruct Anna to stop the landing. Assassins working for the organized crime group enter Sam's home, and Sam's son Kai notices their guns and hides.|
|6||"Comply Slowly"||Jim Field Smith||Catherine Moulton and George Kay||26 July 2023|
|Sam's son Kai escapes the assassins by hiding inside a wardrobe. The British government concedes to the demands of the hijackers and releases Edgar and John from prison. However, when the police still keep following them, Edgar texts the hijackers to kill one passenger and send a photo. Sam intervenes and convinces Stuart that there is already a dead passenger on board and therefore no need to kill another one. The government task force tracks Edgar's car using drone surveillance and sees that he and John are headed to a nearby airfield. Meanwhile, inside the airplane, passengers are beginning to plan a revolt. At the same time, news breaks out in the British media that KA29 has been hijacked and Kingdom Air's stock price falls, as Edgar had hoped. Some of the passengers on KA29 begin fighting the hijackers, when an unknown assailant executes Captain Allen, enters the cockpit and locks it, to the surprise of everyone on board.|
|7||"Brace Brace Brace"||Jim Field Smith||George Kay||2 August 2023|
|The passengers mount a successful takeover of the cabin, and Sam convinces Atterton to give up his pistol. The unknown assailant, later revealed to be Amanda Taunton, a former Royal Navy aviation consultant, puts the aircraft on a course for central London. Sam tries to convince her to allow him access to the cockpit, but to no avail. On the ground, DI Daniel realizes that Kai is in danger at Sam's house and rushes there to save him. As the aircraft enters British airspace, the Royal Air Force dispatches two Typhoons to intercept it. Back on board, the cabin crew have returned the passenger's phones, and London ATC manage to establish contact with Sam. Alice convinces him to tell her the truth about the situation on board. Aitchison pleads with the prime minister not to shoot the plane down and offers to take the blame herself. Edgar and John bicker over when to close the short on Kingdom's stock, with John shooting Edgar and leaving him for dead. In the meantime, Daniel mounts a successful rescue operation of Kai. On the plane, having found Amanda's phone and learned of her family, Sam eventually convinces her to let him into the cockpit. Fearing for hers and her daughter's life, Amanda is reassured by Walsh over the phone that she will not be arrested upon landing, and she reveals to Sam that their plane, by this point flying too low over the Thames through central London, has no more fuel and will flame out at any time. Alice redirects her to RAF Northolt, seven miles away, but before they can reach the airfield, the engines die. Despite this, Amanda manages to land the aircraft, with all passengers safe. Emergency personnel reach the scene and assist with the evacuation while rounding up the hijackers. Atterton, having broken free, shuts himself on the plane in an attempt to shoot Sam, who is still on board. The police storm the aircraft, and after being distracted by Sam, Atterton is arrested.|
It was announced in April 2022 that Apple TV+ had greenlit the miniseries, which would see Idris Elba starring and serving as an executive producer. George Kay would write the script, and Jim Field Smith would direct. In May, Archie Panjabi joined the cast.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 86% of 57 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7/10. The website's consensus reads: "Largely devoid of storytelling turbulence and benefitting greatly from its real-time pacing, Hijack is a glossy but effective thriller that achieves genuine liftoff." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 66 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.
The week of its finale, 31 July–6 August 2023, Hijack became the second Apple TV+ show to be listed on the Nielsen streaming rankings for original shows when it received 357 million minutes of viewing time.
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