Manhunt

Manhunt

A powerfully performed historical drama about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the ensuing hunt for his killer

7.3

TV Show

United States of America
English
Crime, Drama
2024
Anne Dudek, Anthony Boyle, Brandon Flynn

TLDR

It’s like a slightly more elevated version of the dramas released by networks like History and Nat Geo.

What it's about

After his close friend, newly inaugurated president Abraham Lincoln (Hamish Linklater), is assassinated, Edward Stanton (Tobias Menzies) starts a manhunt to find the elusive killer, John Wilkes Booth (Anthony Boyle).

The take

Everyone grows up learning about the theatric death of President Lincoln—while enjoying a play with his wife, the actor and Confederate soldier John Wilkes Booth shoots him straight in the head, dashes to the stage, and escapes into the wilderness before eventually getting caught. But most people tend to gloss over that last part when, in fact, Booth’s capture was a wild ride that involved the rabid participation of thousands of troops and civilians. Ironically, it united a nation that was still grappling with the loss brought by war. Through seven episodes, Manhunt zooms in on that moment in American history and closely follows the cat-and-mouse chase between Booth and Secretary of War Edward Stanton. It’s a powerfully performed piece, as one would expect from Emmy-winning actor Menzies, but the surrounding characters are just as colorful and impassioned. They capably bring life to a near-forgotten piece of history and make it feel just as urgent and important as the day it happened.

What stands out

I still can’t decide whether Linklater plays a good Abraham Lincoln or not. Daniel Day-Lewis pretty much nailed it in his own biopic, but Linklater seems to inject his character with a warmth that’s previously been absent in other renditions. It is borderline silly at times, for better or worse, but it is undeniably memorable.

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