Following his in-depth analysis of the first seven episodes of 1960’s drama Manhunt, Walter Dunlop continues his mission behind enemy lines to bring us his thoughts on the further adventures of Vincent, Jimmy and Nina. Let the examination commence…and beware of spoilers.
Right, here we go again! I seem to be watching this series in batches of seven episodes, which makes for neatness if nothing else.
Doing so makes plain some alarming leaps about in continuity, with one major cliffhanger glossed over the next week, and some chopping and changes in characters. Rather wonderfully, the opening titles change to reflect this, so you can play a little guessing game as to which character is going to turn up this week.
Dealing with the age old problem of who-gets-top-billing? Lynch and Barkworth’s credits swap over each week more or less from this point, with each being credited first on every-other episode. Cunning, although I’d hate to think there was any backstage rivalry between those two – the chemistry onscreen is just so strong.
Following his introduction in episode nine, Robert Hardy gets two credits – initially a title card reading “As Gratz”, followed by his name emblazoned in white-on-red glory on a second card. Presumably this is to reflect the absolutely bloody seismic effect his appearance has on the series.
The initial chase, evade capture, chase a bit more format of the earliest episodes gives way to something altogether darker, more disturbing and even more intriguing than the show’s already been.
Before all that though, at least one of our intrepid heroes has some difficult questions to face as we career into episode eight – A Different Kind of War. This – unbelievably enough – is what passes for a Christmas episode in Manhunt, as Jimmy, Nina and Vincent pitch up at the house of one of Vincent’s oldest friends on Christmas Eve.
Greeted with suspicion at first by the female occupant of the house, Vincent’s name produces a surprising warmth and affection, before the introduction of Vincent’s old friend following a delayed build-up.
And no wonder, because no British drama series is complete without an appearance by good old Julian Glover, as “Paul”. Bristling with Bonhomie, hospitable to a fault, and guaranteeing a safe haven for our fugitives, Paul seems the perfect host, but before Christmas Eve is out, we’ll discover a very different man behind the facade.