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BBC's The Capture: 5 big questions we have after watching episode 1 of “the new Bodyguard”

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Hollie Richardson
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The Capture BBC One

The Capture, starring Holliday Grainger (Animals), Callum Turner (Fantastic Beasts) and Ben Miles (The Crown) began on BBC1 on Tuesday evening. Did the writers play tricks on the audience in episode one? Here’s the debrief on everything that happened during that tense episode. Spoilers ahead…

If, like us, you’ve been missing Richard Madden as the oh-so serious David Budd in Bodyguard, or Vicky McClure teaching us every police acronym going as DC Kate Fleming in Line of DutyThe Capture is for you.

The BBC’S new surveillance thriller started tonight (3 September), starring Holliday Grainger (Strike, Animals) and Callum Turner (Fantastic Beasts, War & Peace). The series, which runs for six tense episodes, is set in our “post-truth era” of fake news and explores the incredible capabilities of the intelligent services.

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It follows the story of Shaun Emery (Turner), a solider who has just been released from prison “on a technicality” after his appeal hearing. Newly promoted DI Rachel Carey (Grainger) soon meets Shaun when she is put in charge of the kidnapping of his barrister, which he is involved with.

Here’s the debrief on what happened in episode one of The Capture, and the five big questions that fans are asking:

Watch the trailer for The Capture

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Was that Rae Earl from My Mad Fat Diary talking about London’s chicken shops with her colleague in the opening scene?

Yes, that is indeed Sharon Rooney who is working in a surveillance room, keeping an eye on what is happening on the streets of London and in the city’s late night chicken shops. She romantically smiles while watching live footage of a man and a woman kissing next to a bus stop, but her face quickly drops at what happens next. The annoying thing is, we won’t find out what it is she has seen until the end of the episode…

OK, so what was actually on the CCTV footage that she watched?

The CCTV footage is played three times throughout the episode, but it’s not until the last run that we realise it shows Hannah Roberts being attacked and kidnapped. Human rights lawyer Hannah had spent the evening celebrating with her client Shaun after winning his appeal case earlier in the day. There was clearly a bit of a spark between the two, which is why Shaun got in his car and went to find Hannah after she left to get her bus home. The first part of the CCTV footage shows Shaun pulling up near the bus stop, then getting out to chat to Hannah and share a quick kiss with her. Throughout the episode, we believe that Hannah then caught a bus and Shaun drove home. But by the end of the episode, we see the second half of the clip, which shows Shaun punching Hannah in the face and dragging her into his car.

However, after everything that happens in the first hour of the series, some people are asking if the second half of footage is fake.

Was Shaun guilty of murder?

Shaun spent six months in prison for the murder of a Taliban member while serving in Afghanistan. During his appeal hearing, we see the video evidence and it seems pretty certain that, yes, he did murder a man. But Hannah brings in a camera expert who points out a technical error in the recording. The error suggests that Shaun actually shot the man in self-defence, which leads to his release from prison. But, while celebrating his freedom at the pub, Shaun gets into an intense conversation with Hannah about the “technical error” and asks her if she really thinks he was innocent. It almost feels like he’s manipulating her into proving her belief in him. This potentially leads the audience to rethink their stance on his character and innocence. After all, if Shaun can shoot someone dead and persistently lie about it without any remorse, then it’s more likely that he can assault and kidnap a woman – and vice versa. 

Holliday Grainger in The Capture.
BBC The Capture: Holliday Grainger stars in the new surveillance thriller.

What has Rachel been up to outside of work hours?

As soon as we meet fast-tracked murder detective Rachel, we learn that she is ambitious, proud, assertive with her new power and really not bothered about making friends in her latest role. This works out well because no one on the team that she’s been promoted to work with is too fond of her, either. Rachel comes from a counter-terrorism background, which she keeps in close contact with to help in cases that require fast intelligence (like this one). The fact that Rachel seems almost delighted when she announces “we might have a [Hannah’s] body” at the end of the episode proves that she very much separates her emotions from her work.

But we quickly learn Rachel’s Achille’s heel: her old boss.

The pair have been having an affair together, spending nights drinking glasses of bubbly in hotels. The fact that Rachel puts in her headphones to listen to music after they’ve just had sex, while he answers a call from his wife, sugests that she is really not cool with this situation. We’re definitely going to get the full backstory on this one. 

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Is the audience being shown the truth?

With all of the above in mind, it’s a good point to pause and remember that this whole series is about surveillance in the “fake news era”. When Rachel plays the CCTV footage back to Shaun after she takes him in for questioning, he is adament that the second half of the clip didn’t happen. In fact, his reaction is so convincing that even Rachel tells a colleague she doesn’t know if he’s guilty. Up until this point, we also thought that Hannah got on a bus and Shaun drove home. We also need to remember that the biggest reason Shaun is so happy to be free is so that he can rebuild his relationship with his young daughter – so why would he screw things up? But in the episode’s last scene of Shaun in his cell, we see short and quick violent flashbacks of Hannah’s disappearance from his point of view. 

Is his mind playing tricks on him, or are the writers playing tricks on us?

Callum Turner as Shaun Emery in The Capture.
BBC The Capture: Callum Turner as Shaun Emery

As with every major new TV series, Twitter had a lot to say about the episode. Mostly, people were confused. But that’s OK because we’ve only just started. 

Twitter reacts to The Capture episode one

We’ll have to tune in next week to try and find out some answers (although we doubt we’ll get any until the end of the series…).

Images: BBC

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Hollie Richardson

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