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The Capture (TV series)

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The Capture
Peacock promotional poster
Written byBen Chanan
Directed byBen Chanan
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Rosie Alison
  • Ben Chanan
  • Tom Coan
  • David Heyman
  • Ben Irving
  • Tom Winchester
  • Derek Ritchie
  • David Higginson
CinematographyRasmus Arrildt
  • Kim Gaster
  • Richard Graham
  • Emma Oxley
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time56–69 Minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkBBC One
Release3 September 2019 (2019-09-03) –
12 September 2022 (2022-09-12)

The Capture is a British mystery thriller television series created, written and directed by Ben Chanan, and starring Holliday Grainger, Callum Turner, Laura Haddock, Ben Miles, Cavan Clerkin, Paul Ritter, and Ron Perlman.

The series premiered on BBC One on 3 September 2019, and received positive reviews from critics. It was announced in June 2020 that a second series had been commissioned.[1] The second series began airing on BBC One in the UK on 28 August 2022[2] and it also premiered on Peacock in the US on 3 November 2022.


In series one, after being acquitted of a war crime in Afghanistan, former British army Lance Corporal Shaun Emery finds himself accused of kidnapping and murdering his barrister Hannah Roberts, backed by CCTV evidence. While Emery works to clear his name, fast-tracked Detective Inspector Rachel Carey of Homicide and Serious Crime Command begins to uncover a complex conspiracy surrounding Emery, calling into question the validity of the footage.

In series two, rising politician Isaac Turner finds himself caught up in a similar conspiracy after a deepfake of him causes yet another race against time for Rachel to expose the truth before it is too late.



Series 1[edit]

Series 2[edit]


Filming locations[edit]

Production filmed interior scenes at Canterbury Prison, Kent, England doubling as HMP Gladstone, London for episode one. Lead character Shaun Emery (Callum Turner) is released from prison wearing a soldier's uniform. He later is rearrested and returns to the prison.[4]

Other interior scenes were filmed at the Printworks venue in Rotherhithe, and The Shard.[5]

Series 2 of The Capture began airing on BBC One on Sunday 28 August 2022.[6]


SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAverage UK viewers
First airedLast aired
163 September 2019 (2019-09-03)8 October 2019 (2019-10-08)5.66
2628 August 2022 (2022-08-28)12 September 2022 (2022-09-12)3.81

Series 1[edit]

No.Title [7]Written and directed byOriginal air date [7]U.K viewers
(millions) [8]
1"What Happens in Helmand"Ben Chanan3 September 2019 (2019-09-03)5.56
After serving six months in prison for the alleged murder of an unarmed Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan, former Lance Corporal Shaun Emery is acquitted when the Court of Appeal rules that video evidence used to convict him was potentially flawed. While celebrating victory, his barrister Hannah Roberts abruptly leaves. Emery goes after her and the two kiss, with Roberts then boarding a bus to go home. However, CCTV footage captures Emery assaulting and kidnapping her. Meanwhile, DI Rachel Carey has been temporarily seconded to Homicide and Serious Crime Command from SO15, having recently led Operation Sycamore that secured the convictions of four ISIS terrorists. Rachel's team is called to the scene of the kidnapping, and Carey calls in her contacts to identify Emery with facial recognition. Emery is arrested, but no trace of Roberts is found in his vehicle. In custody, Emery is shown the CCTV footage, but violently lashes out and claims it is fake. Carey sets about locating Roberts's body.
2"Toy Soldier"Ben Chanan10 September 2019 (2019-09-10)4.97
Carey is told that the CCTV footage is now redacted by the Security Service. Unable to find Roberts's body or any other evidence, she is forced to release Emery on bail, but becomes suspicious and starts to suspect he may be suffering from PTSD. Emery attempts to track down Roberts himself, and with help from a friend breaks into her flat. He notices somebody else inside and gives chase, getting into a black cab to follow the man's vehicle. This activity is noticed by homicide detectives DS Nadia Latif and DS Patrick Flynn, who began following Emery despite lacking evidence for a warrant, and also by Carey via CCTV in the Counter Terrorism command centre. The taxi driver initially seems eager to aid Emery, claiming to recognise him from his publicised acquittal, but then locks Emery in the car and drives him to a house in Eaton Square, where he is escorted inside by armed men. Carey orders Flynn and Latif to intercept, but despite being parked in sight of the correct address, they see only an empty street. Emery is locked in an interrogation room, and American intelligence officers report that "the toy soldier is contained."
3"Truffle Hog"Ben Chanan17 September 2019 (2019-09-17)5.19
Emery is questioned about Roberts's whereabouts by US intelligence officer Frank Napier, who shows him footage of his friend Matt being tortured in the next room. Latif and Flynn, frustrated at the case being hampered, leak the redacted CCTV footage online. Carey's team is assisted by DSU Gemma Garland from SO15, whom Carey recognises as the woman who ordered the redaction. The Eaton Square house is raided by SCO19, but police are unable to find Emery. Carey searches for the earlier footage of him entering, but is told it can't be found. Emery escapes from the Americans and confronts Marcus Levy, a video engineer who helped with his appeal. Levy tells him that although deepfake technology does exist, there is no way to alter live footage. However, Levy later meets with Carey and hypothesises that footage of Emery and Roberts could have been delayed slightly then altered, using a passing bus as cover for a transition shot. Emery meets Matt and sees that he has not been tortured. Emery leaves London in Matt's car, but Matt tips off the police. Pulling into a scrapyard, Emery discovers Roberts's body in the boot. Observing his movements on CCTV, and growing suspicious, Carey leaves to confront him.
4"Blind Spots"Ben Chanan24 September 2019 (2019-09-24)5.56
Emery is sprayed with pepper spray by a police officer but is able to escape only to be confronted by Carey, who tells him about her suspicions. Before overpowering her and escaping in her car, Emery tells her he was actually taken to Gastor Square. Forced to abandon the police vehicle, Emery is kidnapped by two people calling themselves Alma and Kenny, who show him a GPS tracker in his shoe and dispose of it. Carey and Flynn deduce the actual location Emery was taken to in Belgravia and are met by Napier, who asks them to leave. Marcus Levy is attacked and put into a coma by Napier's men. After defying Garland's orders by trying to have Roberts's body relocated by the coroner, Carey is suspended from duty, accused of perverting the course of justice. She confronts Hart in The Shard, but he warns her to tread carefully and think about why Roberts, a human rights lawyer, would choose to represent Emery. Flynn uncovers footage showing that Roberts did get on the bus the evening of her disappearance. Using an airgapped phone with a map of CCTV blind spots, Alma takes Emery to an industrial nightclub. She tells him about the covert intelligence practice of "correction", in which video evidence is manipulated to convict suspects. He is met by the man he saw in Roberts's flat, Kenny, and his former solicitor Charlie Hall.
5"A Pilgrim of Justice"Ben Chanan1 October 2019 (2019-10-01)6.04
The group show Emery the original footage that proves his innocence but tell him the alteration was not made by the intelligence community. A series of flashbacks show the lawyers working with the group to fake the footage of Emery attacking Roberts, helped by Eli, a whistleblower from Napier's team. They intended to reveal Roberts as alive after Emery's trial for her murder, and so uncover the practice of "correction" and exposing real miscarriages of justice. After Roberts goes into hiding, Garland, Hart and Napier begin to suspect the footage is a stunt to expose their practices, and Napier decides to make the false story "true" and kill Roberts. After interrogating Eli, Napier and his men track Roberts to a safe house, where she is killed. Hart informs Carey, and she leaves with Flynn, disgusted. Wanting Emery to be re-arrested, Hall's group tips off the police, who surround the club, but Emery is able to escape with the assistance of Carey and Flynn. Napier instructs Garland to identify Emery's daughter's school.
6"Correction"Ben Chanan8 October 2019 (2019-10-08)6.64
Emery hides out at Carey's family home but leaves when false footage on the BBC shows him kidnapping his daughter. He confronts Charlie Hall and attacks him, but is intercepted by Garland, who allows him to visit his daughter. Napier is met by Jessica Mallory, a senior official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Carey confronts them and demands that she be reinstated, and Emery be removed as a suspect, or she will send the footage of Roberts on the bus to the DPP and the IOPC. They remotely corrupt Flynn's USB drive so he cannot upload the footage. After spending time with his child under supervision Emery is met by Napier, who reveals the whole meeting was filmed and will be altered to show him abusing her unless he confesses to killing Roberts. Emery agrees and pleads guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. After sentencing, Garland defends the practice of correction to Carey, saying that they only fake events that actually occurred. She urges Carey to join them. Emery is visited in prison by his ex-partner, who Carey told he was innocent of killing Roberts. He claims justice has now caught up with him and confesses he did murder the unarmed insurgent. Eli is diplomatically repatriated by Mallory, as the executive branch wants to leak the idea of correction as a conspiracy theory, thus giving them deniability. Carey hides an SD card containing a copy of the real bus footage, but then returns to Counter Terrorism Command and asks Hart and Garland when she can start working for them.

Series 2[edit]

No.Title [7]Directed by [7]Written by [7]Original air date [7]U.K viewers
(millions) [9]
1"Invisible Men"James KentBen Chanan28 August 2022 (2022-08-28)4.17
Six months after Emery's imprisonment, Carey has been promoted to DCI where she is assigned to a dead end department and mostly ignored by DSU Garland. Despite her apartment being bugged, Carey keeps covert footage of interactions with her superiors on a button cam in hopes of exposing their cover up of Emery's innocence. Meanwhile, Eddison Yao, a computer scientist, is assassinated by an assailant whose identity is erased on live CCTV feeds. The death is investigated by now DI Latif, DS Flynn and newcomer DC Tan, who refer the matter to Counter Terrorism Command. Meanwhile, security minister Isaac Turner is in charge of the Chinese Research Committee, to determine whether Chinese AI XANDA can be used for facial recognition at the UK border. He is personally opposed, due to their collaboration with the Chinese Government. After the company publishes a smear campaign against him in retaliation, Isaac meets with Home Secretary Rowan Gill who permits him to announce the rejection of XANDA early on Newsnight. Yao is revealed to be a member of CRC. Flynn follows a lead on Gregory Knox, a fellow CRC member who Yao called before his death, but they are pursued by the same assassins who shoot and injure Flynn. Turner and Knox are taken to safehouses by Protection Command. Carey visits Flynn in hospital, confessing that she is trying to expose Hart, Garland, and the "correction" unit. Concerned for Isaac's safety, Carey and Latif visit the safe house where they witness a live deepfake of Isaac appearing on Newsnight instead endorsing XANDA.
2"Made in China"James KentBen Chanan29 August 2022 (2022-08-29)3.38
Isaac is informed of the practice of "correction", but is prevented from revealing the deepfake under the Official Secrets Act for national security reasons. Deeming it safer to "keep her close", Carey is granted access to the investigation with DC Tan, but Latif is excluded. At Counter Terrorism Command, Frank Napier meets with Garland and Carey, stating he can't assist due to the UK's high levels of business with China. Hart and Tan interview Yan Wanglei, UK head of XANDA, at the Chinese Embassy where he denies involvement, and Hart places Tan on a surveillance unit to monitor him. Garland and Carey meet with the BBC, who are aware that Isaac's remote appearance came from an IP address in China and want to investigate further. They threaten to run the lovechild story from the smear campaign despite Garland's threat of a D-Notice. Isaac is interviewed by Hart and Kendricks on the story, but denies its legitimacy. Despite pressing from Gill to downplay the issue, Isaac escapes the Home Office intending to appear on Newsnight to reveal the truth. Garland tasks Carey with stopping Isaac but Carey, when confronting him, confesses the establishment kill people to protect "corrections" existence, warning him he needs a plan to expose them. Isaac attempts to vocalise his opposition to XANDA, but the live feed is intercepted with deepfake footage of him again supporting the program and also advocating racial profiling. Carey attempts to have it shut down but fails. Khan attempts to instigate an investigation, but is stopped by Carey who tells her she needs more evidence.
3"Charlie Foxtrot"James KentBen Chanan4 September 2022 (2022-09-04)3.78
A diplomatic vehicle collects Wanglei from the embassy and is followed by Tan, and tracked by Hart and Kendricks to Heathrow Airport. Rewatching the corrected interview, Carey questions why XANDA would fake Issac acknowledge their AI has racial bias. Wanglei arrives at the airport but doesn't decamp. Carey becomes concerned it is a distraction, and reroutes with Isaac to the hospital where Flynn is being treated. Carey enters the ward without backup, leaving Issac in her vehicle. He observes a van, one that he previously saw outside his house, pull up to a service entrance, and two men in scrubs enter a lift. Issac warns Carey, who arrives to find Flynn and his SCO19 operatives dead, and her secure police radio and the hospital CCTV compromised. Doctored live footage shows her with the guards alive, declaring the situation normal. The assassins delete footage of them murdering Flynn he captured on his phone. Issac tries to follow the van and call 999, but is pulled over by regular traffic patrol. Carey tells Hart and Garland she believes Napier and the CIA are behind the conspiracy, hacking their systems and conducting a false flag to turn the UK against China. Carey angrily admonishes Garland for allowing a CIA tech into the BBC studio during Issac's interview. Knowing he can't acknowledge correction to the public, Gill fires Issac as security minister after the Newsnight interview. Carey discovers the proof of Emery's innocence missing from her family home. Isaac returns to a Black Lives Matter protest outside his house, but it is revealed that Khan gave him a spy camera, and he captured Gill acknowledging correction. Reviewing her own footage, Carey obtains a capture of Flynn's assassins in the hospital.
4"#therealzacturner"Philippa LangdaleBen Chanan5 September 2022 (2022-09-05)3.68
Carey convinces her half-sister, Abigail, to stay at her apartment, blaming her concerns about being watched on voyeuristic neighbours. Gill tells Hart that the United States was second in line for the facial recognition contract after China. Garland assigns Tan to monitor Carey. Carey meets with Issac, who is being hounded over the lovechild story and thinks he is being specifically targeted. He tells her about the footage of Gill, but she warns it may take years to obtain enough evidence to prove correction beyond a reasonable doubt. Garland meets with Napier, who reveals he has stomach cancer. The two bond over illness and faith. Doctored images of Isaac with his alleged mistress in Lagos are published, causing a rift with his wife Simone. He confronts the press outside his house, accusing them of spreading fake news. More deepfake footage of him agreeing to a paternity test and interview on BBC Breakfast is then shared on social media. Khan, concerned with Isaac's outburst, interviews his alleged mistress Victoria Bello on Newsnight. Abigail tells Carey she is starting a podcast about a movement that believes Shaun Emery is innocent. Isaac gets a call from a former aide, telling him despite the controversies his approval rating is actually rising. Isaac's paternity test is later confirmed to be negative. At his hotel room, Isaac is called by those behind the conspiracy using a voice modulator identical to his voice, who then send what appears to be a doppelganger to meet him in person. Carey meets with Gregory Knox, the CRC member who Flynn rescued, and asks him to use XANDA to remove the face mask in the image of the assassin. The program identifies him as Nikolai Mirsky, a Russian corporate security operative.
5"Impostor Syndrome"Philippa LangdaleBen Chanan11 September 2022 (2022-09-11)4.02
Issac opens the door to discover his former aide Rhys, now allied with Gregory Knox, who is partially behind the conspiracy. His firm, which uses psychographic data analysis, access to billions of social media accounts, deepfakes and an advanced algorithm has shifted its focus to electioneering. Having successfully tested their practices first in Tbilisi, Knox now wants to make Issac the next Prime Minister. Realising his chance at power, Issac reluctantly agrees. He returns home, ignoring Carey's calls to his burner phone. Carey asks him to give Mirsky's image to the authorities, but he denies all knowledge of their plans and leaves. Garland negotiates for SO15 to temporarily work from Napier's CIA station. Hart tells Garland he is resigning, implying he has become disillusioned with their activities. Carey arrives at the station to see they are conducting a manhunt for Mirsky, whose identity she thought only she was aware of. A CIA technician shows that the real footage from the hospital attack can be "de-corrected", recovered from covert signal embedded in the time code. Carey asks her former superior, DSU Kendricks, if doctored footage could be added the same way. US firm Clear Horizons is awarded the AI border contract. Carey recalls they are a client of Gregory Knox's Truro Analytics, and confronts him over the conflict of interest his firms practices, and if he supplied Mirskys image to others. Compromised, he contacts Mirsky, whose van is picked up by S015 and the CIA on ANPR. Carey and Knox fight where she detains him, but is stripped of her radio. Mirsky and his colleague enter the office, but the other man kills Mirsky and calls in the shooting on a police frequency impersonating an AFO. He then frees Knox and abducts Carey.
6"The Flip"Philippa LangdaleBen Chanan12 September 2022 (2022-09-12)3.83
Carey is brought into a room as recordings from the laptop are played. Here, Carey is interrogated about who's been working with her by Frank. Over the radio, Garland stops Frank from killing her. Meanwhile, Isaac is awakened by a phone call from Knox explaining how they will remove Gill from power. Frank unties Carey as she is forced to read from a laptop confirming that she is in United States jurisdiction, before she is shown a photo of Mirsky and an argument about why she didn't hand the photo over ensues. Knox grants Isaac an interview to help remove Gill from power. As Carey is shown more videos from her laptop, Garland asks her who else is involved in exposing correction. Frank debates jumping off the roof of a building but Knox approaches Frank and gives him a hard drive. Garland gives Carey an opportunity to join SO15 but Carey is resilient as Garland then proceeds to show a correction of Carey saying that she is in Russia, Garland then proceeds to edit it to make Carey reconsider the offer Garland gave. Simone, shows up to confront Issac about his affair with Bello, before requesting a divorce. Carey then says that Isaac no longer trusts Khan due to the interview with Bello, and is forced to sign a statement to protect Knox and Frank. Carey is then briefed by Frank on what is in the drive that Knox gave him until Carey signs the statement. Isaac argues with Knox about his wife as he is told the AI predicted she would leave him, Isaac is then told about another interview and he reluctantly agrees to it. Carey and Garland then proceed to go to the BBC to speak with Khan and make her work with Garland by tempting her with exclusive intel. Carey attends Flynn's funeral. Frank is given the unlock code for the hard drive. Isaac is in a cab heading to the interview as Carey enters the operations room to sabotage the interview via correction but Isaac leaves after seeing Khan enter the room. A television is then wheeled into the room as a deepfake of Turner is put onto the monitor. The interview starts as a script runs which the deepfake proceeds to read. Isaac attempts to leave the taxi but is unsuccessful. The deepfake proceeds to expose big tech, causing Knox to panic as his company is exposed by it. Garland and Frank then proceed to argue about her making Frank think he had cancer from the CT scan that Garland corrected to get full control of the operation. With the two distracted, Carey uses this opportunity to edit the script to expose correction, horrifying Garland as she attempts to arrest her but is unable to. Garland frantically asks Frank for help but he refuses due to Garland faking his CT scan and because of the deepfake not mentioning his involvement. Carey walks out as a furious Garland implodes and tries to further pursue Carey. The deepfake repairs Isaac's reputation, and correction is shown to the public as he exits the taxi in front of Piccadilly Circus with cameras capturing both the interview on the screen behind and the real Isaac standing on the corner.


Critical response[edit]

Series 1[edit]

The first series was reviewed positively by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 92% with an average rating of 8.1/10, based on reviews from 39 critics. The site's critical consensus said, "Gripping to the very end, The Capture's well-built tension culminates in a riveting revitalization of a tired genre".[10] On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, it received a score of 72 out of 100 based on 20 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

The Telegraph awarded the episode four stars, labelling the series as "riveting",[12] and The Independent also awarded it four stars, designating it an "intriguing, but rather flawed, sort of Big Brother thriller set in our contemporary world of digital snooping".[12] In his review in The Times James Jackson referred to the drama as a "neatly structured thriller... clearly out to interrogate surveillance culture", also awarding four stars.[13] The Guardian was less enthusiastic, concluding it to be a "twisty if lacklustre drama", giving the opening episode only three stars out of five.[14]

Reviews improved over the course of the series, and the finale was highly praised by critics, with many drawing positive comparisons with the BBC's similar series Bodyguard which was broadcast around the same time the previous year. The Telegraph described it as a "highly satisfying series finale",[15] while The Times critic James Jackson referred to the series as 'the thinking man's' Bodyguard:

There is no justice when it comes to The Capture... If there was, this thinking man's Bodyguard would have been getting the mega ratings to match that other show. However, this series has always felt more like a pretext for a bigger conversation than mere wham-bam entertainment. The denouement certainly didn't bother with any Bodyguard-style fireworks, which means it may have fallen flat for some. For my money the disturbing questions raised were more than a match for bomb vests and Swat teams.[16]

Sarah Hughes echoed these sentiments in her review of the finale in The Guardian, commenting that "if there were any justice, everyone would be talking about The Capture right now". She heralded the show as "nuanced and complex" and "one of the most cleverly plotted dramas of recent years", and the final episode as "a refreshingly grownup hour of television".[17]

Series 2[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second series received an approval rating of 100% with an average rating of 7.8/10, based on 12 critics. The site's critical consensus said, "Deftly melding contemporary concerns with outlandish internal logic, The Capture's sophomore season is brainy camp that will detain your attention."[18] On Metacritic, it received an average score of 70 out of 100, based on four critic reviews.[19]


The Capture was the most requested new show in 2019 on BBC iPlayer, with over 20 million requests for series 1. It was also the eighth most requested series overall in 2019.[20]


For his performance in the first series, Callum Turner received a nomination for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.[21]


  1. ^ "The Capture is returning to BBC One for second series". Radio Times.
  2. ^ "First-look images of the Capture series two released, ahead of its return to BBC One and iPlayer this August".
  3. ^ "Meet the cast of BBC conspiracy thriller The Capture". Radio Times. 2019.
  4. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Capture Article".
  5. ^ "Where is The Capture filmed?". Radio Times. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  6. ^ "BBC One – The Capture, Series 2, Invisible Men". BBC. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "BBC One – The Capture – Episode guide". BBC.
  8. ^ "Four Screen Dashboard (See relevant channel and week(s))". BARB.
  9. ^ "Most Viewed Programmes (See relevant week(s))". BARB.
  10. ^ "The Capture: Series 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  11. ^ "The Capture: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  12. ^ a b Harvey, Chris (3 September 2019). "The Capture, episode 1 review: exactly the sort of drama we need in this fake news era". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  13. ^ Jackson, James (4 September 2019). "The Capture review — the camera always lies in this paranoid thriller" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  14. ^ Mangan, Lucy (3 September 2019). "The Capture review – chillingly real thriller or utter bobbins? Let's check the tape". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
  15. ^ Hogan, Michael (8 October 2019). "The Capture, episode 6 recap: no easy answers in this unexpected finale". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  16. ^ Jackson, James (9 October 2019). "The Capture review — calmer than Bodyguard, but much more chilling" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  17. ^ Hughes, Sarah (3 October 2019). "Trust nothing! Why The Capture is perfect TV for our paranoid times". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
  18. ^ "The Capture: Series 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  19. ^ "The Capture: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  20. ^ "BBC – BBC iPlayer breaks 4 billion requests for first time to record best year ever – Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  21. ^ "BAFTA TV 2020: Nominations for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy TV Craft Awards". 4 June 2020 – via www.bafta.org.

External links[edit]