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Hijack (Series Review)

2 min read

There are few actors as reliably stoic as , so when he gets on a plane that is going to get hijacked, you're probably in safe hands. The seven part, real-time (ish) miniseries from Apple TV boasts a fantastic British cast alongside Elba – , Christine Adams, , , Ben Miles and round of the main cast alongside supporting turns from great British actors.

The main story is suitably tense, a seven hour flight from Dubai to London is taken over by five armed hijackers – at first their motives are unknown but as the flight progresses, and contact is made with the ground, things get complicated and at the heart of the hijacking is Elba's top level negotiator Sam Nelson, willing to do anything to get home.

George Kay writes the show with a good level of twisty-turny wit. He expertly draws the characters with at first broad brush strokes before stripping them back over the course of  flight. The ground people – Sam's ex-wife, her copper boyfriend, air traffic control and the British political spectrum are all shown to be grappling with a situation they don't fully understand.

But it's on the plane that the story is at it's most tense, and best. Elba expertly commands the screen, under the sure direction from Jim Field Smith and Mo Ali. The growing trust and distrust between Maskell's main hijacker and Elba is where some of the series gets it's juiciest drama. 

The story might not be served by a weekly releasing, given that the story plays out in real time offering a binge-worthy pacing that makes you feel like you've been on the same seven hour flight. But what works best is that just when you think you know what's happening Kay throws in a curveball to really wrong foot you.

Apple TV+

The series has a few pointed jabs to make about post-9/11 paranoia that still permeates British culture – a flight from Dubai has one hijacker speaking Arabic so naturally some Brits assume it's an ISIS situation, Sam's young son is less than thrilled his mother is dating a white police man, talks of the Prime Minister not being good at making decisions,. But ultimately this is a miniseries content to be about human beings in situations. 

The claustrophobia of the situation is much more interesting than the larger implications of insider trading and money people, and the series is also less interested in that. As it progresses and time begins to crunch before things go horribly wrong, the series really stretches it's tension to a breaking point.

The series doesn't completely wrap up it's storylines by the end, content to end when the main story ends, but even so, it's a thrilling, often tense series that will entertain many people and play into our fears of flying. Helped by another strong leading turn from Elba.

 is now streaming on Apple TV+