Hunted (TV series)

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Series title over shattered glass from an hourglass
Genre Spy
Created by Frank Spotnitz
Starring Melissa George
Adam Rayner
Stephen Dillane
Stephen Campbell Moore
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Morven Christie
Lex Shrapnel
Dhafer L'Abidine
Dermot Crowley
Oscar Kennedy
Indira Varma
Patrick Malahide
Composer(s) Ruth Barrett
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 8 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Frank Spotnitz
Jane Featherstone
Stephen Garrett
Alison Jackson
Christopher Aird
Producer(s) Eliza Mellor
Cinematography Balazs Bolygo
Stephan Pehrsson
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Kudos film and television
Big Light Productions
Original network BBC One (UK)
Cinemax (US)
Original release 4 October (2012-10-04) – 22 November 2012 (2012-11-22)

Hunted is a 2012 British television drama series created and written by Frank Spotnitz and produced by Kudos Film and Television and Big Light Productions for British broadcaster BBC, for its flagship channel BBC One and American premium cable broadcaster Cinemax. The series premiered on Thursday 4 October 2012 on BBC One [1] and on Friday 19 October 2012[2] on Cinemax.


Samantha (Melissa George) is an espionage operative for "Byzantium",[3][4] a private intelligence agency. She survives an attempt on her life, which she strongly suspects was orchestrated by members of the company she works for. After recovering and returning to active duty, she goes back to work undercover as a nanny, not knowing who tried to kill her or whom to trust.[5][6] It becomes evident that the attempt on her life is tied into a horrific event from her childhood.[7]

Main cast[edit]


The series was created by Frank Spotnitz (best known as executive producer and head writer for The X-Files), who will write the majority of the episodes of series 1. Spotnitz is executive producing with Kudos’ Stephen Garrett (executive producer of Law & Order: UK, Spooks/MI5), Jane Featherstone (producer behind Spooks/MI5, The Hour, Life on Mars), Alison Jackson (Ashes to Ashes, Eternal Law), and BBC's Christopher Aird (Spooks, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries).

After Spotnitz had wrapped up The X-Files he met Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone of Kudos Film and Television. They asked him to come to England and work with British television. Spotnitz had lived in Europe before and was interested in returning. He claims the idea was appealing but it simply never happened. The years passed and Spotnitz was talking to The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, who was visiting Los Angeles from London where she lives, and she asked, "Would you ever consider doing a show (in England)?". Spotnitz started talking to her about doing a spy series and then the first call he made was to Stephen Garrett since the two lost touch. "You know the idea of doing a show in England? I think I may finally have it".[5]

On 13 January 2011, the BBC announced the show — then called Morton.[8] Gillian Anderson was no longer attached to the show; it took Spotnitz and Kudos longer than estimated to get the green light from the BBC and by then, Anderson was too busy with other projects.[5]

Spotnitz relocated to London with his family.[5] While trying to get Hunted off the ground, he served as co-producer and head writer for Strike Back: Project Dawn (or just Strike Back in the United States), which was also produced by HBO for Cinemax, but co-produced with another British broadcaster, BSkyB (for Sky1), not the BBC.

On 22 September 2011, reports confirmed that HBO/Cinemax would come on board as co-producers and that the name Morton had been scrapped and the new name was Nemesis.[9] On 6 March 2012, Spotnitz announced on his homepage that the show's title had been changed again to Hunted.[10]

Spotnitz spent a lot of time researching private spy agencies. He told Screen International: "It's not an area I was very aware of until I went looking for it. Most private contractors don't want to be noticed. Their websites are dry and boring and they don't want the wrong kind of attention. I talked to people who run these companies in the US, United Kingdom and Switzerland and then I researched the type of personality working at them".[11]

Simon Allen will serve as episode writer and associate producer.[12] Smita Bhide will write episode 4.[13]

Filming started on location in Wales,[11] Scotland, London and Morocco.[3][14] In early March, scenes were filmed in East Linton, Scotland at a local Deli Shop.[15] "There are no sound stages. It's all location filming. It’s really expensive and difficult to do, but it looks so much better and has a real feel of authenticity", Spotnitz told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's international and it looks international".[6]

During the series, Sam has childhood memories of an oast house and in episode 5 she finds the Oast House. This is the oast house at Little Scotney Farm, Lamberhurst, Kent.[16] It is still a working oast house owned by the National Trust, producing hops to make "Scotney Ale".[17]

The first series takes place mainly in London. Had the show been commissioned for a second series, each series would have taken place in a different European city.[7] George, who is based in New York, would have lived in London for six months to film each series.[18]

Sam Hunter spinoff[edit]

On 25 September 2012, it was reported that British screenwriter Ben Harris had joined the writing team in preparation for a second series pickup from BBC One and Cinemax.[19]

Melissa George has reported that the second series of Hunted would be set in Berlin. The Australian star previously said that her Hunted role "could potentially be long-term", adding that she may be playing Sam "for the next five years".[20]

On 3 November 2012, it was reported that British screenwriter Claire Wilson had joined the writing team in preparation for a second series pickup from BBC One and Cinemax.[21]

However, on 14 November 2012, The Guardian reported that BBC One had decided not to commission a second series of Hunted, citing ratings declines as the primary reason.[22] It was reported the following day that Cinemax was looking into making a second series without the partnership with the BBC.[23] Cinemax has since announced that it is working with Frank Spotnitz to reboot the show, describing the current incarnation as "too expensive" to continue without BBC support.[24]

Spotnitz has revealed that the original plans for Hunted series two — which would have followed Sam Hunter to Germany — have been abandoned in the wake of the series shake-up. "It's going to change — that [Berlin plot] was when we still had the BBC as a partner", he explained. "Now it's one of those funny things where it's the same character, but it's a different series." Spotnitz added that he "would very much expect" future episodes to air in the UK, adding that he has considered other British networks as potential partners.[25]

In June 2013 it was announced that the second series would become a four-hour miniseries called Sam Hunter, airing in 2014.[26][27][28]

In early 2015, Frank Spotnitz stated that the series–and spinoff–had been officially cancelled by Cinemax, though he and George were open to continuing the project if it were to be picked up by another network.[29]

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (2012)[edit]

# Title Directed by Written by UK air date US air date UK viewers
US viewers
1 "Mort" S J Clarkson Frank Spotnitz 4 October 2012 (2012-10-04) 19 October 2012 (2012-10-19) 5.69 0.245[31]
Pregnant Sam Hunter is part of a team from Byzantium, a private security company completing the rescue of a doctor imprisoned in Tangiers when later in the day, alone, she is ambushed and badly wounded. A year later after recovering in Scotland she returns to her company in London, who thought she was dead, to take up her old job determined to find who betrayed her. Her boss, who is initially reluctant to re-employ her, uses her to infiltrate the home of a criminal turned multi-millionaire, Jack Turner, by befriending his widowed son through his child. A third party also arrives at the house having killed and now impersonating Dutch engineer Doctor Goebel.
2 "LB" S J Clarkson Frank Spotnitz 11 October 2012 (2012-10-11) 26 October 2012 (2012-10-26) 4.50 0.166[32]
Team member, Hasan, is kidnapped by Jack Turner, and Sam is ordered to kill him to keep him from being tortured and compromising the team. The bogus Doctor Goebel arrives to conduct business with Turner. Later that evening Sam takes the opportunity to kill Hasan but he reveals he has information on who tried to murder her in Tangier. Yet another man searching for Sam seeks out an old army colleague seeking her whereabouts and she is murdered by the man. Later Sam meets the same man intending to kill her, Sam turns the tables, but he escapes. Realising he is linked with Hasan she returns to the cell to free him but he tries to kill her and she kills him inadvertently carrying out her orders.
3 "Hourglass" James Strong Simon Allen 18 October 2012 (2012-10-18) 2 November 2012 (2012-11-02) 4.53 0.181[33]
Byzantium are manipulating the bidding to ensure their client wins the Upper Khyber Dam contract which requires Sam to continue undercover with the Turners. At the hotel where the bidding is being conducted Sam comes face-to-face with Bernard Faroux the Frenchman she seduced and betrayed in Tangier. He offers to tell her who tried to assassinate her but only if she finds out Turner's bid instead of telling Byzantium. Aidan is the mole working for MI6 liaison officer Natalie Thorpe but still remains undiscovered. Faroux's dying words to Sam reveal another mysterious organisation, "Hourglass". Turner wins the bid by overbidding £30 million he does not have.
4 "Kismet" James Strong Smita Bhide 25 October 2012 (2012-10-25) 9 November 2012 (2012-11-09) 4.35 0.183[34]
Kismet is a software programme that Jack Turner uses to make his money with hedge-fund manager Lewis Conroy. Sam sets out to find the connection between the two men. Aidan discovers Sam's secret room and a note questioning what is Hourglass and calling in a favour with a secretary at Byzantium she finds out for him that Hourglass is a file held by George Ballard for the last 40 years and he is now MI6 head of section. Byzantium discover Turner has been profiteering from arranged accidents and needing £30 million another is planned. Fowkes discovers the location of the next accident and Aidan is sent to stop it while Sam is sent back to the Turners but in the street she is overpowered and sedated by the bogus Doctor Goebel.
5 "Ambassadors" Alrick Riley Frank Spotnitz 1 November 2012 (2012-11-01) 16 November 2012 (2012-11-16) 4.19 0.100[35]
Sam wakes in hospital and is visited by the bogus Doctor Goebel who tells Sam that he is trying to protect her from 'Hourglass'. Aiden exposed as the mole escapes from Byzantium and meets Sam. A meeting is arranged for Sam to meet Ballard at the National Portrait Gallery at a cryptic painting called 'Ambassadors'. Ballard reveals Hourglass is a conspiracy orchestrated by five multinational corporations and three of the seven members of the Byzantium board are CEOs of Hourglass corporations. Ballard is killed on leaving the gallery. Sam's investigation of the conspirators takes her and Aidan to a country estate where she had been years before where she was taken as a child after her mother was murdered and she was kidnapped. Byzantium, to protect Sam's cover, set up two innocent people and Jack Turner orders three more murders.
6 "Polyhedrus" Alrick Riley Christian Spurrier 8 November 2012 (2012-11-08) 23 November 2012 (2012-11-23) 3.87 0.110[36]
Sam to maintain her cover sleeps with Stephen Turner. Polyhedrus is the company that built the Khyber dam and one of the employees is the doctor she rescued in Tangier. Through an intercepted fax Byzantium suspects that Jack Turner intends to assassinate Fatima Zahir, a Pakistani presidential candidate opposed to the sale of the dam he is trying to buy and she has a secret meeting with the doctor. Fowkes is part of the assassination plot not realising he is the fall guy until it is too late. Stephen Turner realises how ruthless his father is, and seeking information from a corrupt policeman, receives a file revealing Sam's true identity. Keel is suffering from a terminal brain tumour.
7 "Khyber" Daniel Percival Frank Spotnitz & Amira El Nemr 15 November 2012 (2012-11-15) 30 November 2012 (2012-11-30) 3.71 0.229[31]
Jack Turner is furious that his bid has been turned down in favour of the Chinese. Byzantium discover their client, which Keel knew, is Polyhedrus fronted by the Chinese. Polyhedrus built the dam but killing nearly 600 villagers that stood in their way using poison gas. Evidence is in soil samples that Jack Turner has and which Byzantium have been unable to locate for Polyhedrus. Sam discovers it is Polyhedrus that want her dead and the CEO is a director of Byzantium. Keel knows all this and tells Sam he knows what happened when she received treatment in an Istanbul hospital after being shot. Stephen Turner is being turned from Sam by his father.
8 "Snow Maiden" Daniel Percival Frank Spotnitz 22 November 2012 (2012-11-22) 7 December 2012 (2012-12-07) 3.89 0.143[37]
Byzantium is ordered to kill Jack Turner but Sam foils the attempt to save Stephen Turner's son thus revealing her as a spy. As the contract negotiations reach their climax Jack Turner produces the evidence he has against Byzantium’s client only to discover he was given a decoy by the bogus Dr Goebel and he loses the Dam to Polyhedrus. Jack Turner clears the house so he can kill the unconscious Sam whom Bingham has been poisoning since her true identity was confirmed, but after apparently drowning she recovers to kill him. As Jack Turner is trying to drown her, Sam begins to recover the memories that explain why the Hourglass conspirators want her dead. Polyhedrus, having won the dam intend to kill Sam, so Byzantium fake her death leaving her to return to her mother's home in Scotland.

DVD release[edit]

On July 30, 2013, HBO Home Video released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 via the Warner Archive Collection.[38] This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available via & The series is also available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK.

Web campaign[edit]

Hunted was accompanied by an Internet campaign carrying content developed during the filming of the series. Known for a psychologically stimulating internet campaign where one would guess what dongle went to various computers. It all turned out to be a honeypot.[39]


Reviews of the first episode were mixed. While he liked the plot, Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph was critical of the dialogue and acting: "The protagonist pouts constantly and came across more sulky teenager than troubled soul. When you're performing this hokum, you need a heavyweight cast to give it credibility. Spooks had Matthew MacFadyen and Peter Firth, 24 had Kiefer Sutherland, Homeland has Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. Hunted's assorted pretty young things are nowhere near that league. They gazed moodily out of windows but rather than looking haunted by the terrible things they’d seen, they looked like they were waiting for a minicab".[40] The Observer's Andrew Anthony compared the series unfavourably with the U.S. television series Homeland: "Both have high production values, both are capable of creating fiendishly clever plots, but whereas Homeland seeks to foreground character, Hunted relies on shorthand caricature. Thus the three villains on display last week were a macho Arab, an inscrutable psychopath and a cockney gangster-turned-businessman, holding their faces in such ways as to convey, respectively, machismo, psychopathy, and tasty geezerness".[41] Jim Shelley of the Daily Mirror was also critical, writing that Hunted "relied more on old-fashioned Spooks cliches. Locations like Istanbul were viewed as dangerous – ie, full of foreigners, particularly handsome Arabs in suits driving around as if they were in a BMW ad".[42]

On a more positive note Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, said the U.S. première had "lots of slick suspense, well-turned violence, and a delightful air of menace hanging over everything Sam does".[43] Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post also had a favorable review of the U.S. premiere saying "To its credit, 'Hunted' doesn't takes its profoundly disconnected characters and slap them into a slick, glitzy story about heroism in the face of greed. It marries the doubt, regret and longing they feel into a chugging, twisty spy story about the cost of selling your soul one piece at a time".[44]

See also[edit]

  • The East—a film about an undercover operative for a private intelligence company


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External links[edit]