Last week I was scrolling through Netflix looking for something to pass the time. I came across “Manhunt: Unabomber” (2017, Discovery Channel) and decided to give it a shot. I ended up watching all eight episodes in two days.
The show is a “based on a true story” dramatization of the investigation and capture of Ted Kaczynski in the 1990s. Jim Fitzgerald, one of the FBI profilers on the case, is the focus of the show, and is played by Sam Worthington (“Avatar,” “Terminator: Salvation”). Kaczynski is played by Paul Bettany (“The Avengers,” “Legion”), and both do an incredible job.
“Manhunt” takes some liberties in the way it glorifies Fitzgerald, who was a minor member of the actual investigating team, by making him the focus of the show. However, it works. I became engrossed in the Unabomber case just like “Fitz,” with the growing obsession that builds in him while trying to solve it.
We are along for the ride as the team studies every letter from the Unabomber in order to unearth the clues needed to identify him. Finally, we see the capture and trial of Kaczynski, with Bettany’s portrayal giving us some insight into why he did what he did, and who he was.
At just eight episodes, the show moves along swiftly, especially in the Netflix/binge setting. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys slow-build/investigation shows (think “Zodiac”). It’s a pleasant surprise and enjoyable watch.