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Saturday, August 10, 2013

'Hunted' S1: Spy vs. Spy

Hunted: The Complete First Season
Warner Archive diverting from its typical DVD releases of classic films and television series to offer the 2012 first season of the Cinemax original series "Hunted" shows Archivists that modern shows can be pretty darn good as well. This at-times violent espionage thriller is one of the more stylish series out there.

The simple, but compelling concept of "Hunted," not to be confused with the cheesy '80s cop show "Hunter," is that operative Sam Hunter is seriously wounded while on an assignment in Tangier for the London-based private security firm Byzantium. The circumstances regarding the ambush that results in that injury suggests that one of Hunter's colleagues set her up for the attack. This event also turns out to be relevant regarding the mission at the center of "Hunted's" first season.

A montage that follows the Tangier attack shows Hunter's year-long seclusion and provides a glimpse of  a highly traumatic childhood event that may be very significant regarding the ambush and definitely influences her response to her first assignment on suddenly and unexpectedly returning to Byzantium after the extended absence.

Hunter's desire to discover the truth regarding the incident in Tangier motivates her return, and her popping up after vanishing for a year makes her boss and fellow operatives wary of her. The fact that the probable appearance of a mole within Byzantium surfaces at the same time as Hunter does not help her campaign to fully regain her employer's trust.

Hunter's reappearance also coincides with a client hiring Byzantium to block psychotically ruthless and criminal London businessman Jack Turner from purchasing a dam in Pakistan. Completing this task requires close surveillance of Jack and his adult son Stephen.

Hunter's quest to get close to Stephen results in his hiring her as a live-in tutor/companion for his eight-year-old son Edward. Hunter's close feelings for Edward relate to his having recently suffered a tragedy with some parallels with the operative's aforementioned childhood trauma. Another parallel between this nanny who has nothing in common with Fran Drescher and her charge emerges during the thrill-packed season finale.

The numerous noteworthy events that unfold during the first season include revealing Jack's unorthodox method for increasing the value of his investments, serious accusations and confrontations freely flying among Byzantium team members, several surprising twists regarding the individual behind the Tangier ambush, Jack ramping up his murderous activity, an assassination attempt against a visiting foreign official, and learning of the actual price of constructing the dam in Pakistan.

The season finale does an exceptional job tying up the loose ends that unraveled over the season. This episode additionally completes its task of wrapping up "Hunted" well in the event that it is the series finale while leaving things open enough to allow for a second season if Cinemax (or FX ?) picks it up.

The final analysis is that there is hardly a dull moment in any episode of "Hunted" and you truly may miss something important if you blink.

Anyone with questions regarding "Hunted" is welcome to email me. Those who want to track me can find me on Twitter under the alias @tvdvdguy.