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A fast paced British Conspiracy Thriller created by Chris Lunt that aired on ITV in 2014 and 2015, notable for its use of a single camera filming setup.

The first series follows the story of Marcus Farrow, a Detective Sergeant in Manchester who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife and son. When an opportunity to escape custody arises he takes it and goes on the run in the city he used to police. Pursued by his former colleagues, he becomes determined to clear his name and find those responsible for killing his family.

A second series focuses on David Murdoch, a prison officer whose life spirals out of control when his pregnant daughter is kidnapped. Her kidnapper then blackmails him into helping a female prisoner escape during what seems to be a a routine hospital visit, forcing him to go on the run to save his daughters life. DS Susan Reinhardt returns from the first series as the lead investigator.

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Prey contains examples of:

    Series One 
  • Accidental Murder: The man who broke into Farrows home never intended to harm his family, only retrieve the disks that would incriminate Mackenzie in Hassans murder. However, the scuffles that follow after his presence is revealed resulted in Max falling down the stairs and Abi getting stabbed with the knife she used to try and scare him off.
  • Adult Fear: Finding out your youngest son has died? Check. Being accused of murdering him immediately after finding out? Check.
  • The Alcoholic: DI Sean Devlin.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: DCI Mackenzie murdered Hassan as revenge for when he beat her to within an inch of her life when she was involved with him whilst undercover. Not believing she should go to prison for killing such a brute, she attempted to destroy records of her undercover time with him. This accidentally leads to the death of Marcus's wife and son and starts a whole new Trauma Conga Line.
  • Asshole Victim: DI Sean Devlin, who slept with his best friends wife and fathered a child with her, and was also involved in a conspiracy that led to said friend being accused of murder. Nevertheless, Marcus seems pretty sad when Mackenzie shoots him in cold blood.
  • Berserk Button: When DS Reinhardt first accuses Marcus of killing his wife and son, he flies into a fit of emotional rage and has to be held back by two police officers.
  • Big Bad: Topher Lomax and DCI Mackenzie.
  • Blackmail: Topher Lomax saw DCI Mackenzie murder Omer Hassan, and blackmailed her into turning a blind eye to their illegal ventures.
  • British Brevity: The series is all of 3 episodes long.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Marcus is cleared of all charges and reunited with his older son, Finn. However, his wife is still dead, along with his youngest son (who it turns out wasn't even his) and best friend.
  • Corrupt Cop: DI Devlin and DCI Mackenzie.
  • Comfort Food: DS Susan Reinhardt tries to suppress the stress of her job and obsession with her ex-husband by eating constantly.
  • Council Estate: Where Topher Lomax and his nephew live.
  • Defective Detective: DS Susan Reinhardt, who obsessively stalks her ex-husband and his new family.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Malakai, an illegal immigrant, purchases the identity of the deceased Omer Hassan and goes as far as to pay child support to his estranged wife to keep up the façade.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The series opens with DS Marcus Farrow urgently pulling both an injured police officer and the man who just stabbed him out of a crashed police van before it explodes and tending to their injuries.
  • Evil Cripple: Topher Lomax.
  • False Friend: Sean to Marcus. He was having an affair with his wife and is likely Max's biological father.
  • Faking and Entering: Farrow does this to talk to Omer Hassans widow, by impersonating his colleague DI Devlin. However, it is his running shoes combined with a stolen suit which tips off her son that breaks his cover.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The 'Manchester Metropolitan Police' stands in for the real life 'Greater Manchester Police'.
  • Fighting Your Friend: When Marcus finds Sean in a perps house destroying evidence, they get into a rather nasty brawl which ends in Marcus knocking Sean out cold.
  • Frame-Up:
    • DCI Mackenzie gives an emotionally distraught Marcus a revolver to kill Sean. Although he refuses and she shoots him instead, she wears gloves, leaving only Marcus's fingerprints on the weapon. Thankfully Reinhardt was hidden and recording the entire conversation to prove Farrow's innocence.
    • Farrow being arrested for the murder of his wife and son doesn't really count as they were never intended to be killed.
  • Impersonating an Officer: After stealing his warrant card, Farrow impersonates his colleague DI Sean Devlin to continue his investigation whilst on the run.
  • Improvised Weapon: A convict in the back of the police van with Farrow attacks him with a ballpoint pen after hearing he supposedly murdered his wife and son.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted. Farrows younger son is killed along with his wife however it is later revealed to have been an accident.
  • Interrupted Suicide: After DCI Mackenzie realises she is going to be caught, she attempts to shoot herself in the head. Much to her dismay, Marcus is able to knock the gun from her hand just as she pulls the trigger.
  • The Illegal: Malakai (who purchased Omer Hassan's identity) and his family.
  • Jitter Cam: The entire series was filmed this way, with it becoming especially evident in the chase sequences.
  • Ironic Echo: In the first episode, a rather drunk Sean reveals to Marcus how he thought he would have kids by now. In the final episode its revealed he is probably the father of Max Farrow, as he and Abi Farrow had an affair behind Marcus's back.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: Old records on Omer Hassans are stored on floppy disks. Farrow needs to retrieve an old PC from his attic in order to read them.
  • Mysterious Employer: Alex Chambers, the man in control of the identity fraud operation and blackmail. He is later revealed to not exist, with the name being compiled from 'Alexandra Street' and 'Chambers Street', roads near Topher Lomax's home.
  • Near-Death Experience: Farrow is almost run over by a high speed train when running from DCI Reinhardt.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Omer Hassan delivered one to DCI Mackenzie when she was undercover years prior, almost killing her. It serves as her motivation to later murder him.
  • Oop North: The series takes place in Manchester and the surrounding areas.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • The officer driving the police van carrying Marcus stupidly takes his eyes off the road when he is distracted by the fight in the back. This results in him swerving off the road and spectacularly crashing the van, allowing Marcus to escape.
    • Farrow is able to escape past a uniformed officer simply by wearing a fake pair of glasses and guiding an elderly woman from her home.
  • Punch a Wall: Marcus does this after finding out his wife is seeing someone else. It later comes back to bite him in the ass, as it is used as evidence to suggest he killed her in a fit of frustration.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • DCI Andrea Mackenzie. Later subverted when she is revealed to be the murderer of Omer Hassan, is responsible for the whole ordeal and murders Sean in cold blood and attempts to frame Marcus.
    • DS/DCI Reinhardt gradually becomes this as the series progresses.
  • Sidekick: DS Ashley 'Ash' Chan is this to DCI Susan Reinhardt.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: DI Sean Devlin.
  • Try and Follow: When Marcus is confronted from both sides on a bridge, he jumps a good 15 foot into the shrubbery below which softens his fall. Needless to say, none of the pursuing detectives want to do the same.
    DCI Susan Reinhardt: "Well get after him then!"
    DS Ashley Chan: "Not bloody likely!"
  • You Are in Command Now: Due to a lack of DCI's to run the Farrow case, DS Reinhardt is temporarily promoted to DCI to lead the investigation.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Abi was having an affair with Sean. Sean was also with her on the night Mackenzie was attacked by Hassan, when he should have been providing her with backup.

     Series Two 
  • Accidental Murder: David accidentally puts a police officer in critical condition after he pushes him away when he is trying to restrain Jules on Canal St. Unfortunately, he pushes the cop into the road, where he is subsequently run down by a taxi.
  • Adult Fear: David's pregnant daughter is taken hostage by Jule's brother, who threatens to hurt her and her unborn child unless David helps Jules escape from the hospital.
  • Anti-Villain: Jules Hope. Despite being the reason David's daughter is kidnapped and he is forced to break the law to help her escape, she has no idea why her brother is going to such extreme measures to do so. Hell, she repeatedly tells David she doesn't want her brother to hurt Lucy. She is also hardly a violent criminal, with Reinhardt mentioning she is only in prison for credit card fraud. This is later subverted, when it is revealed she was the mastermind behind the whole escape plan, and Dan was simply doing as she told him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lucy is rescued unharmed, and Jules and Daniel are taken back into custody. However, David is arrested for the various crimes he committed whilst trying to save his daughter, and Reinhardt's home life is still implied to be in turmoil, with one of the final scenes being her rejecting a call from her partner.
  • Chained Heat: After Jules tries to escape on Canal St, David handcuffs himself to her, threatening to break her wrist if she tries to escape again.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • DS Ashley Chan (Reinhardt's partner from the first series) is briefly mentioned to have been promoted and moved away from Manchester, explaining why Reinhardt is now partnered with DC Iddon.
    • In the final moments of the third episode, Reinhardt is seen using the same police station vending machine where she first met DS Farrow in the first series.
  • Cowboy Cop: DC Richard Iddon, who disobeys a direct order from Reinhardt and attempts to chase down multiple suspects on his own.
  • Dead All Along: Eddie Goad.
  • Faking and Entering: In order to retrieve the safe key from Jules possesions, David returns to Ravenhill and tells his colleagues that contrary to news reports, he has been with the police for the past 24 hours, not with Jules, and that he needs to talk to the warden. Surprisingly, they believe him, and give him a spare set of keys, allowing him to access the prisoners belongings.
  • Faking the Dead: After Daniel kills Eddie Goad, he moves the corpse to his own car, and puts his wallet in the dead mans jacket, before torching it. This leads the police, and even Jules for a while, to believe Dan is dead and it is Eddie who has kidnapped Lucy. It is only revealed to be a hoax once DNA testing confirms it is not Dan's body.
  • False Friend: Jeff Crabtree to David Murdoch, as it is later revealed he was complicit in the escape plan which involved his best mates pregnant daughter getting kidnapped and held hostage. To his credit, he eventually realises how messed up the situation is, but when he tries to make it right, Daniel Hope pushes him off a balcony to his death.
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • The real life 'Greater Manchester Police' is once again replaced by the fictitious 'Manchester Metropolitan Police'.
    • 'HM Prison Manchester' (more commonly known as 'Strangeways') is replaced with the fictitious 'HM Prison Ravenhill' .
    • 'Lancashire Constabulary', the police service with jurisdiction in Blackpool, is replaced with the fictional 'Fylde Police'.
  • First-Name Basis: DC Iddon likes to think he is on this with Reinhardt, repeatedly referring to her as 'Sue', despite her insistence that he call her either 'Boss' or 'Sarge'. Although he does this in a joking manner, it becomes serious when he repeatedly calls out her first name when she is unresponsive after the two are rammed by Jule's 4x4.
  • Gayborhood: The first place Jules brother instructs David to take her is Canal Street, the main road in Manchester's Gay Village.
  • Great Escape: How Jules brother planned how to break her out of prison. He instructed her to pretend to pass out in order to get taken to hospital. Once she was there (and the security was more lax), he then called David, forcing him to break her out and take her into central Manchester.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Jules smashes David over the head with a glass before trying to escape on Canal St.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Played with. The Fylde Police in Blackpool are more than happy to aid the Manchester Metropolitan Police in their pursuit of Murdoch and Jules, but DCI Ward and the higher ups in Manchester are more than keen to transfer the case over to them, much to Reinhardts chagrin.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Susan's partner thinks she should get rid of her ex-husbands name (Reinhardt), and go back to using her maiden name (Walsh). Susan claims she cannot be bothered with the paperwork, but if her actions in the last series are any indication, she may still not be over her ex.
  • Motive Misidentification: After discovering David got into considerable debt paying for his late wife's cancer care, Reinhardt assumes he accepted payment in exchange for breaking Jules out. She later changes her mind when a financial check shows no abnormalities in his bank activity.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: David delivers one to Daniel Hope in the third episode, after he runs him and Jules off the road in the Lake District.
  • Oop North: The series takes place in Manchester, Trafford, Blackpool and the Lake District.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Despite her valiant work on the Farrow case in series one, DS Reinhardt has still not been promoted to DCI or even DI. Because of this, she is harbours a low level of resentment towards DCI Mike Ward, who got the job instead of her.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • DC Iddon barges into a flat and fails to clear all the rooms, allowing Murdoch to lock him out on a balcony and escape.
    • DS Reinhardt approaches two wanted criminals without so much as drawing a weapon, allowing Murdoch to push her down the stairs and escape.
    • Reinhardt and Iddon decide to transport David, a wanted prisoner, back to Manchester without any police backup and uncuffed, allowing Jules to ram their car with her 4x4 and break David out. DCI Ward later chastises her for doing so, claiming it is one of the many reasons that senior members of the MMP want her suspended.
    • Even when Reinhardt and Iddon are able to corner a screwdriver wielding Jules in the Lake District, they approach her without drawing either their CS gas or batons. This results in Reinhardt briefly being held hostage and Iddon getting stabbed in the leg.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Even after arresting David (a man who seriously injured one of her colleagues), DS Reinhardt is very cordial with him, and promises that their number one priority is rescuing Lucy before dealing with him.
  • The Sleepless: DS Reinhardt doesn't sleep throughout the whole series (48 hours in real time). DCI Ward attributes her increasingly poor decision making to this, going as far as threatening to suspend her if she doesn't hand the case over to Flyde Police.
  • Stealing from the Till: Before she went to prison, Jules worked as an accounts assistant for a casino in Blackpool, where she and a colleague who worked security (Eddie Goad) were able to embezzle over £200,000. Only Eddie went down for it, which leads Jules to initially believe that he broke her out of prison to exact his revenge and obtain one of two safe keys needed to access the stolen cash.
  • Turn in Your Badge: DCI Ward and several MMP higher ups want DS Reinhardt suspended due to the various mistakes she makes in handling the case. However, when a lead comes through, she begs DCI Ward to let her continue, promising to resign from the force if she messes up again.
  • Weapon of Choice: For Daniel Hope, it is a regular Phillips head screwdriver, which he used to murder Eddie Goad. Jules later uses it to threaten Reinhardt and then stab Iddon when she is cornered in episode three.
  • Wild Goose Chase: When David and Jules recruit Lucy's boyfriend into helping them track her down, they apparently steal a car from the dealership he works at, which the police begin tracking. However, when the car is pulled over, it turns out he gave the keys to two passing Low Class Lout types, and the three are actually in his own personal car on their way to Blackpool.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Lucy accuses her father of having been seeing his current girlfriend even before her mother died, something which David immediately denies.
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