Ever since episode one, we’ve been tying ourselves in knots trying to work out the truth behind The Capture.
What had we missed? Was there a plausible explanation behind Hannah Roberts’ disappearance and murder, and everything that followed? And in the final reckoning would this conspiracy thriller make any sense at all?
- Meet the cast of BBC conspiracy thriller The Capture
- The Capture episode 4 delivers some answers – and a LOT more questions
- Where is The Capture filmed?
Thankfully, we now have some answers.
In episode five, writer Ben Chanan winds back the clock and shows us how it all fits together…
The Capture explained: what really happened?
Just as we figured, the Pilgrims of Justice are an activist group – but the didn’t rescue Shaun Emery (Callum Turner) from that police chase because they believed in his cause; instead, they were the ones who set him up in the first place. The problem was that their (extremely ludicrous) scheme went completely off the rails.
The Pilgrims are outraged by the authorities’ secret policy of “correction”, i.e. the planting of manipulated footage in CCTV feeds using the latest “deepfake” technology to incriminate suspects. This “correction” process had also been deployed in Operation Sycamore, back when DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) was the naive police officer set up to “discover” the “corrected” CCTV which showed terror suspects meeting their ringleader.
Alma Dahmani (Adelayo Adedayo) is a member of the Pilgrims, but she is also the brother of Faisal Dahmani, whose conviction for terrorism was (apparently) based entirely on “corrected” footage. It was human rights lawyer Hannah Roberts (Laura Haddock) who represented him in court.
To expose the practice of “correction” and exonerate Faisal, the Hannah and the Pilgrims came up with a plan. First they’d get British soldier Shaun Emery out of jail by exposing the flaw in the Afghanistan helmet-cam footage, making him more of a cause célèbre than ever; then they would use their own “corrected” footage to frame him for the assault and disappearance of Hannah Roberts.
Naturally, Shaun would be prosecuted and put on trial, but then – twist! – Hannah would waltz into the courtroom, very much alive, and expose the authorities’ evil doings and everyone would live happily ever after. Foolproof. Nothing could go wrong.
So before Shaun even had his appeal hearing or walked free, the Pilgrims of Justice put together their own film shoot. Hannah played herself, while the role of “Shaun” was played by Ryan (Frederick Szkoda) in the soldier’s uniform. They acted out the brutal attack and kidnapping, and then the Pilgrims – with the help of would-be whistleblower Eli Jacobi (Alexander Forsyth) from the CIA – stitched Shaun’s face on top of Ryan’s. The footage was ready to be inserted into the feed at exactly the right moment.
Engineering “exactly the right moment” meant getting Shaun to fall in love with Hannah, go to the loo, come back, realise she’d left without him, abandon his own party at the pub, jump in his grandfather’s car, race after her, and catch up with her at the bus stop for a heart-to-heart. This seems wildly implausible (so many things could have gone wrong! The ENTIRE operation hinged on this!).
But what do you know – Shaun took the bait. (Suspend your disbelief!)
Initially it panned out perfectly. Hannah jumped on the bus and got off undetected (and because of the time delay on the CCTV feed, the police didn’t check the right bus’s cameras). She then “disappeared” to a remote safe house. Meanwhile, CCTV monitor Becky (Sharon Rooney) spotted the “attack” and called the police. Shaun was arrested later that night.
However, the plan soon started to go wrong. When DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) sent in the CCTV footage to her old mates in SO15, they ran facial recognition and immediately identified the perpetrator as Shaun, and the victim as Hannah Roberts, i.e. the human rights lawyer involved in the Faisal case. This quickly went up the chain of command to SO15 boss Danny Hart (Ben Miles) and security services spook DSU Gemma Garland (Lia Williams) and CIA man Frank Napier (Ron Perlman).
The Pilgrims hadn’t reckoned on their faked-up crime immediately being flagged as “suspicious.” (And we have to note: surely this was a MASSIVE oversight? Even if Rachel hadn’t sent that footage to SO15, the case would have been high-profile and heavily-scrutinised anyway, so making Faisal’s barrister Hannah the “victim” in this case would naturally raise red flags with the security services. Just saying.)
Being both smarter and cannier than the Pilgrims had expected, the unholy trilogy of Napier, Hart and Garland realised they had to determine if this footage was legit or “corrected” – so they redacted it and let Shaun go, just to see if the homicide team could make the case stand up on their own. Also, by burying the case, they robbed their opponents of the chance to pull off the “Hannah’s-not-dead” stunt in court.
The Pilgrims of Justice realised they were in a mess, so they upped the stakes by deciding to plant physical evidence to get Shaun re-arrested. That explains why Ryan went into Hannah’s flat to retrieve her engraved necklace. His mission was of course unsuccessful – because Shaun coincidentally chose that exact moment to break into Hannah’s flat.
Rachel’s team found no other evidence, and Shaun still did not confess, even after Frank Napier kidnapped him and (apparently) tortured his friend while he watched on camera. So the trio had proved to themselves that this was a “correction” engineered by their enemies, with the help of a CIA insider (later revealed as Eli).
But their plan to bury the story went out the window when DS Nadia Latif (Ginny Holder) illegally leaked the CCTV footage onto the internet anyway.
So to stop the Pilgrims of Justice from winning, Frank Napier (with help from Gemma Garland) decided to “make it true” and back up the faked video evidence by killing Hannah and framing Shaun.
Ignoring Danny Hart and his concerns about killing British citizens on British soil, Frank and his heavies tracked Hannah down, killed the guard dog (sob), and then killed her too. Hannah’s dead body soon found its way into the boot of a car being driven by Shaun up a motorway, presumably with the collusion of his best pal Mat.
After Shaun saw Hannah’s body in the boot and did a runner, the Pilgrims “rescued” Shaun – but not for long, because their back-up plan was to surrender him into police custody anyway. Then, after he was charged and brought to trial, they would swoop in and unveil the unedited CCTV footage, achieving their ultimate aim and exposing the practice of “correction”.
Unsurprisingly, Shaun was not on board with this plan. As the police closed in, he created a diversion and (with help from Rachel and DS Patrick Flynn) got away undetected. Now they are all lying low at Rachel’s dad’s house.
What will happen in the finale of The Capture?
It’s all to play for!
Now Rachel Carey is suspended from duty and DS Patrick Flynn (Cavan Clerkin) has gone rogue, hopefully they have some sort of plan. Will they be able to expose the truth? How? Who can they trust – will Rachel’s half-sister keep quiet about her new house-guest? And what do they plan to do with Shaun?
Meanwhile, it sounds like Frank Napier and Gemma Garland are planning to threaten, kidnap or even harm Shaun’s young daughter. Presumably they want him to come out of hiding so they can catch him – but what will they do to her? And will Shaun take the bait?
Commander Danny Hart is another wildcard. He seems to have had mixed feelings about Hannah’s killing, but he’s also complicit in this whole thing at the highest level. He revealed the truth to Rachel apparently because he trusted her, but she leaped out of the car before they could finish the conversation. In the final reckoning, where will he stand?
Finally, it’s unclear what the Pilgrims’ next move could be. Do they have another back-up plan?
All will (hopefully) be revealed in the sixth and final episode…
The finale of The Capture airs on Tuesday 8th October at 9pm on BBC1