Hunted is a new BBC spy drama encompassing all the necessary elements of a spy series including exotic locations, improbable fight scenes and dark characters.
Starring Melissa George, who may look familiar from her long stint on Home and Away, the plot is held together by her personal mystery. With plenty of gory action and a gripping plot, if the first episode is anything to go by, it looks to be a thrilling series.
The first episode, Mort, is confronting immediately as it opens with an intense sex scene. With bloodshed in the first few minutes, a scene in which a man is stabbed in the eye with a needle and periodic flashbacks to the lead character's traumatic childhood, this is definitely not one for the faint hearted.
Sam Hunter, a spy working for private agency Byzantium, is the protagonist of the show. Without giving too much away, Sam is compelled to find out who tried to murder her. Suspecting her former lover and colleague Aiden, she returns to Byzantium after absconding for a year, in the hope of discovering who ordered the attempt on her life. Given her job back, she is kept busy by infiltrating the luxurious home of a filthy rich man that Byzantium has been hired to investigate.
One of the best aspects of the show was its use of a strong female lead. Sam is tough and at no point does she need the protection of a male character. She can take care of herself, courting danger because she knows she can escape it. While she is beautiful by any measure, she doesn't rely on her looks as a source of power. Hopefully as the series progresses it does not regress into that cliché of seduction and lies which often accompanies spy dramas.
While it is essential for any drama to be believable, there were some scenes in Hunted which tore through the requisite temporary suspension of disbelief. A spy drama is never going to be realistic, but the excessive violence was sometimes a reminder that it's only fiction. It is particularly unbelievable when Sam, who is so slight that any muscle she has is well hidden, manages to maim a troupe of men who are trying to kill her. It also seems a tad too fantastic when she manages to survive being shot in the stomach and left for dead with nothing more than a neat scar.
The first episode is available free on iTunes. While this may seem convenient, the file is huge- mine took days to download.
Overall, Hunted was gripping and involved, with so much plot packed into the one hour episode. While it is an interesting watch and of high production quality, there are not a lot of issues in it to think about. Despite being a mystery it doesn't present much of an intellectual challenge to the viewer, so it would be a good one to watch when you want to veg out without having to think.