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Series / The Capture

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A Conspiracy Thriller that first aired on BBC One in autumn 2019, The Capture is about a Shell-Shocked Veteran, Shaun Emery (Callum Turner) who is implicated in the kidnapping of his barrister (Laura Haddock) by CCTV, shortly after being freed by video evidence from a war crimes tribunal. The ambitious police officer Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger), who is sleeping with her senior officer (Ben Miles), is put on the case and soon believes there is more to the situation than meets the eye. Despite Emery's arrest, there's a growing movement to call for his release while Carey tries to find ways to unmask the conspiracy from within law enforcement.

In June 2020, it was announced that The Capture would have a second season with the first episode released on August 28, 2022 with another announcement that the show debuted on Peacock in the US on July 15, 2022.

The Capture contains examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Since when did you hear about a human rights lawyer defending a British soldier?"
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: Deconstructed. Everyone involved in "correction" thinks it's this, but everyone who's been affected by it has a naturally different perspective. It may cross over with Believing Your Own Lies. The activists' plot to expose them however could be seen as a straight example.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Everyone, or so it seems by the surveillance monitoring that happens.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The video footage shown of the Sycamore bomb makers. It's very similar to the video showing Shaun attack Hannah, which Rachel figures out.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The would-be bomb makers that Rachel arrested in Operation Sycamore, especially Faisal, who we learn is Hannah's group's whole motivation for proving how far deep fakes can go.
    • Charlie, Shaun's solicitor, who initially only seems to be there to turn against Shaun when Hannah goes missing, but is actually part of the conspiracy to frame him.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Photographic capture (as in a camera still) and capture as in kidnap, which Shaun may have done to Hannah.
  • Downer Ending: The end of the first season has Shaun being foreced to admit to Hannah's murder when Frank threatens to use footage captured of him playing with his daughter to fabricate more incriminating video, Correction continues mostly unaffected, with none of their previous victims being released, and Rachel opts to join them rather than upload her own evidence that Shaun is innocent. Meanwhile, Charlie is caught by Frank's men and is locked up in a safehouse, which meant that his team has no choice but to upload the real footage of the supposed attack online, but it'll take time until someone realizes that he or she is looking at unaltered video footage.
  • Evil States of America: While the British forces are not presented well, the Americans are unambiguously evil. The three we see are all working with the "correction" conspiracy.
  • Fake Defector: The season 2 premiere reveals Rachel is this as her joining Correction in order to get evidence to prove Shaun's innocence and the damage they're doing.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: This is essentially the entire point of "correction," creating fake video evidence to secure convictions where admissible evidence is unavailable through legal avenues.
  • Frame-Up: Shaun insists he was framed for assaulting and kidnapping Hannah with faked video evidence. Not only is he right, Hannah was part of the conspiracy, to expose intelligence agencies faking video so they could get terrorists convicted.
    • In Season 2, several people, including Abigail by the episode "#therealzacturner", have joined a protest movement calling for the British government to release Shaun due to allegations that he's being framed.
  • Friend in the Press: Khadija Khan is a highly dedicated and inquisitive reporter for BBC Newsnight, who upon being exposed to the existence of correction agrees to form a partnership with DCI Rachel Carey who is secretly working to expose it, with her using her press links to provide Isaac Turner with miniature camera's. In the final, they succeed with Khan exposing the existence of corruption live on air, by broadcasting a completely faked interview with Turner.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Jessica, Eli, and whoever she's working for, implied to be the American government. They're happy for video footage to be brought into question when it suits corrupt higher-ups, it just can't be debunked fully.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Gender-flipped between Shaun (a Lower-Class Lout soldier) and Hannah (a wealthy lawyer).
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Frank insists to Hannah that correction is necessary to take down terrorists whom otherwise they couldn't convict.
  • I Have Your Family: Frank pulls this on Shaun, when he, having escaped for Hannah's murder, is drawn back in when Frank's forces kidnap his daughter.
  • Irony: Frank claims it's ironic Hannah defends terrorists who he says would destroy the legal system she thinks so highly of. She however insists it's not, since upholding the system is her whole motivation-it applies even to them, they've also got rights.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Things constantly disappear, thanks to faked video footage, especially of torturing Shaun's friends, and evidence that could exonerate him.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Shaun rushes into dangerous situations and physically attacks anyone who could be involved in the apparent conspiracy.
  • Loophole Abuse: Beautifully done in the Season 2 finale. Carey is held by Frank, who forces her to state on video that she is under the authority of United States jurisdiction. Later, when Carey's plan to expose Correction occurs, Garland tries to arrest her only for Carey to smugly point out she's under U.S. jurisdiction so Garland has no authority. Garland demands Frank arrest Carey but, having just learned Garland made him believe he had cancer just to trick him, Frank just smiles and lets Carey go. And when Garland threatens to arrest Carey as soon as she leaves, Carey smiles back that as soon as the evidence of Correction (mainly Isaac showing up in front of a live crowd when he's supposed to be in a TV interview) hits, Garland is going to be the one facing criminal charges.
  • Magical Security Cam: Fake evidence is integrated perfectly into real footage on council security cameras and that by the secret services alike, to the point where nobody can tell the difference. However, this is getting closer and closer to being reality.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Everyone thinks so, from both sides of the conspiracy's angle.
  • Shown Their Work: The process of faking CCTV footage shown in episode 5 of series 1 is very realistic. In particular the only part that is fake is Shaun's face, and even then they couldn't fake an expression that they didn't already have footage of. The rest of the footage is pre-filmed on location with a stand-in dressed as Shaun. They had to film 25 different versions to account for clothing and vehicle differences and still almost would have failed if it weren't for Hannah's quick thinking on the night. The only part that's slightly less realistic is their ability to inject the fake footage into the CCTV feed.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Rachel has no problems accessing whatever security footage she needs, from all sorts of different departments, and is at least slightly more moral with it than the security services.
  • Wham Episode: "A Pilgrim of Justice" mentions that Hannah has worked with Charlie and an American intelligence agent turned whistleblower named Eli to make a deepfake video to prove that intelligence agencies are conspiring to keep the world safe from bad guys. Hannah was not supposed to be killed in the fake video, which makes it easier for Shaun to be found guilty by the police.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Since when did you hear about a human rights lawyer defending a British soldier?" This leads to Rachel and the audience beginning to realize that Hannah was involved in the plot.
    • "Shaun. I'd imagine you'd like to know what the fuck is going on." Spoken by Charlie and accompanied by the Wham Shot of the conspiracy to frame Shaun happily greeting him.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The video footage of Hannah on the other bus that went that night.
    • Shaun discovers the conspiracy to frame him all standing around merrily in the nightclub.
    • Frank watches the footage of Jessica interrogating Eli...only to burst in and learn that the footage is faked and Eli is being busted out.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: A recurring problem for Shaun, who wakes up after his celebration of being freed from prison severely hungover and with Hannah missing. He insists that he didn't hurt Hannah, but he keeps having flashbacks of ''something'' violent happening between them.
  • You Have to Believe Me!:
    • Shaun insists over and over that he didn't kill Hannah, and nobody will believe him about the variety of disturbing things that keeps happening to him.
    • Rachel needs to convince her colleagues that they're investigating a conspiracy.