CBS has struck reality TV gold once again with their new series Hunted. The series premiere was riveting and gave the viewer an edge of their seat thrill ride. It left me wanting more and what more could you ask for.
The premise of Hunted is that nine teams of two become “fugitives” and must go on the run from former law enforcement officials for 28 days. They must also stay within an area of 100,000 square miles which encompasses Georgia, South Carolina, part of Florida and part of Alabama. They also have severely limited funds which amount to $500 from which they can only withdraw $100 at a time. They are being hunted by a coordinated effort between a home office of former intelligence officials and ground teams of former law enforcement. If they can avoid being caught for that amount of time then they win $250,000. Its a show that tests its contestants intelligence, creativity and will. Can they fight the paranoia and not slip up?
The first of three teams we met in the premiere tonight was dating couple David and Emiley. David is an ex-con who now is a criminal defense attorney. He tells us that he knows a thing or two about being on the run and he wants to really test his skills. He and Emiley have a solid plan to use their network of friends in the Atlanta area to hide out from the hunters. They first use a mutual friend of theirs who picks them up and drives them to an ATM which David purposefully uses to try and throw the hunters off the trail knowing they will get a hit on his card and visit there. They then book it out of the area and get involved in a hit and run car accident which provides the first major element of drama of the episode. The drive who hit their friend’s car does not stop though and keeps going. From there the team makes it to one of David’s law school friend’s houses where they hide out for a few days.
David and Emiley are doing well until the ground team searches Emiley’s apartment and finds a calendar. Former cyber analyst Landon Stewart takes one look at the calendar and realizes the month they are currently in, June, is ripped out and that there appears to be indentations left from where Emiley wrote on the calendar when June was still there. This is the hunter’s big break for David and Emiley as they use a pencil to decipher that Emiley had written her and David’s whole plan on calendar of where they planned to go. From there the hunters are able to determine which neighborhood the two are staying in. The ground team of Shadow Bilal and Cortice Miles set themselves up at a surveillance point only to be discovered by David’s friend. He warns the team about how they are being watched and this is confirmed the next day when Bilal and Miles drive around the next day canvassing. To escape David and Emiley hide in the trunk of David’s friend’s car and have him drive them away under the cover of night. The episode ends with the ground team pointing out the car as suspicious.
The second team we meet is a team of two moms. Angela is a single mom who has raised her daughter by herself and Michele has been her best friend since elementary school. Angela rushes to get her daughter off to stay with a friend and waits for Michele at a meet up point. Michele is running late and Angela is getting super anxious when her friend pulls up in a huge tractor trailer being drive by a family member. The two then are driven to a campground to stay the night. The next day they borrow a stranger’s phone to call Michele’s cousin to come pick them up. While they walk to the meet up point they get paranoid about a car that is pulled over on the side of the road and panic. Luckily, Michele’s cousin shows up and they drive away happy. The hunters don’t get very far with this team except to identify the relationship between the two, mark that they may want to keep in touch with their kids as a possible weakness to exploit and find out that Michele’s husband owns a trucking company.
The final team we meet in this episode is engaged couple Matt and Christina. They feel they have a pretty good shot if they can make it to Atlanta from their home in South Carolina because they have a huge network of family to hide them out in that area. The hunters feel they will be easy marks because Matt is 6′ 8″ and Christina is a model with bright blond hair. There is going to be no blending in for these two. The two of them start driving towards Atlanta, but get paranoid half way there that their car may be tracked through traffic cameras. They decided to ditch their car in Augusta and try to get a hold of Matt’s parents by using a stranger’s phone. Nobody picks up and they start to panic more. They put on godawful wigs that they had from Halloween to try and change up their appearance and head to a bus station, hoping to catch a bus to Atlanta. When they get their they find out it is $39 a piece and decide to chance using the ATM at the bus station. The hunters were having a hard time getting a lock on this team until this time. They cannot believe their luck and wonder if the fugitive team is just trying to mess with them. In their eyes there is no way they could be this stupid.
The command center dispatches a ground team to interview the ticket clerk and the clerk identifies them easily and tells the hunters where they are going. Now the hunters are able to easily identify which bus depot they will arrive at and dispatch two teams to set a trap. When the bus arrives Matt and Christina try their best to run away, but are easily caught by Shadow Bilal, becoming the first team to be eliminated.
Overall Hunted is gripping show with a fascinating premise. It is very entertaining to see how a fugitive hunt works from the inside and learn just how hard it is to go underground. Its also amazing to see the creative strategies employed by teams to stay away from their pursuers. There are still six teams we need to meet so I will definitely be tuning in for more. Of the three teams we saw tonight I give David and Emiley the best shot at winning the prize money, despite Emiley’s huge blunder. David seems like a really resourceful guy and is super entertaining to watch. The hunters sure have their hands full with him.
Hunted continues with a two hour episode entitled, Snitches Get Stitches, on Wednesday January 25th at 8 pm.