Captive is a true crime series that explores hostage situations around the world, and how governments and mediators work together to resolve them as peacefully as possible.
The series reconstructs the most famous hostage negotiations from around the world throughout history, and the terrifying pressure that builds upon the hostages and negotiators as time goes on.
Where to watch Captive?
What is Captive about?
Captive is a 2016 Netflix hostage situation documentary that explores the difficulties in negotiating with kidnappers in hostage situations, and how authorities have failed or succeeded in recovering hostages alive and unharmed across the world.
But beyond this, the series also sympathises – to a degree – with the kidnappers and their causes, and looks at the wider problems in society that drive people to commit the atrocities that the series explores.
For more info, you can check out our interview with the show’s co-producer, Simon Chinn.
Who are the main figures in Captive?
Over eight episodes, Captive explores eight different hostage negotiation situations from around the world.
The first situation explored is the Lucasville Prison Riot, where in 1993, the inmates were engaged in an eleven-day standoff with the police in which one corrections officer and nine prisoners were killed. The five legged riot leaders, Bomani Shakur, Siddique Abdullah Hasa, Jason Harry Robb, George W. Skatzes and Namir Abdul Mateen.
Next, the kidnap of Coca Cola employee Corinne Coffin is explored, and then that of Rachel and Paul Chandler in Somalia, and then the kidnapping of twenty wealthy hostages from the Dos Palmas resort on a private island.
Episode five explores the British Aid workers Jon James and Camilla Carr’s capture, and episode six looks at the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem of 2002 in which over 200 Palestinians were held hostage inside the church. Episode 7 looks at the 2014 Al Qaeda hostage rescue operations in Yemen of over ten people including the American journalist Luke Somers.
Lastly, the series looks at the Christian Peacemaker hostage crisis of 2005, where Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, four human rights workers of Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped.
What to watch and read next?
There are numerous other television programs about hostage situations, including 444 Day Face-Off (2008), Assault and Rescue: Operation Thunderball (2011), or Assault on Waco (2016).
The genre has also been well-explored in literature, including Ann Patchett’s poignant novel Bell Canto, James Patterson’s Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, and J.P. Promare’s Call Me Evie. For true stories of being held hostage – bear in mind, these books might upset some readers – you might want to try Devil’s Lake or A Stolen Life.
Orange is the New Black also explores hostage situations through its prison riot storyline, which explores the injustices of the criminal justice system and the typical scapegoating of black inmates in prison riots that occurs due to the desperation of the authorities to retain the appearance of control.