The second series of ITV1’s Kidnap & Ransom finds international hostage negotiator Dominic King (Trevor Eve) in Srinagar, Kashmir, finalising the release of the Mehtas, a British Asian family who were kidnapped while visiting relatives in the city.
But as the handover is completed, the police arrive and a shootout begins, which leads the kidnappers to take a member of the Mehta family and a bus full of tourists hostage, leaving Dominic battling against not just the kidnappers, but also the local police and his department in the UK.
Written by Michael Crompton (Silent Witness), Kidnap & Ransom takes inspiration from a number of similar real-life hostage situations across the world, such as the hijacking of a bus in Rio de Janerio in 1993, the Manila coach crisis of 2007, and the haunting incident in Kashmir in 1995 when a bus containing six foreigners was hijacked by a group of terrorists.
Also starring Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet), reprising her role as Dominic’s potential love interest, Angela Beddoes, and Natasha Little as Dominic’s estranged wife, Sophie, Kidnap & Ransom is a tense and unnerving thriller, and not just because of its highly emotive subject matter, but also because of its gripping subplots.
As the clock ticks – and the hostages and the captors get more and more desperate – the intrusion of the local police, the media and the inclusion of smart phones means that the kidnappers, and not the negotiators are always one step ahead of Dominic.
Eve once more excels in his role as the cool, resourceful and seemingly omnipresent hostage negotiator. While his sixth sense for knowing about local customs and the right people to talk to make Dominic seem like a character who really is too good to be true, Crompton’s subplots show that while he is a man who kidnappers shouldn’t mess with, he’s also not the kind of man you’d want to marry.
While the onus remains on Dominic and his difficult task, the emphasis of Kidnap & Ransom is on his standing as a lone man in a foreign country, and also the realities of what can go wrong in a hostage situation.
Shot inevitably in a hand-held documentary-style, Kidnap & Ransom is visually very realistic, but the plot can be a little predictable at points – it seems pretty obvious from the very beginning that something is going to go wrong with the handover, and the bus full of stereotypical tourists does just seem too convenient. Nevertheless, it’s nearly impossible to stop watching.
Aired at 9pm on Thursday 23rd February 2012 on ITV1.
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