Manhunt Jumps from TVNZ to Sky

One of the best police procedurals in years has switched from free-to-air to pay-TV.

Season two of ITV’s outstanding Manhunt has been acquired by Sky’s Rialto Channel after TVNZ opted not to pick it up following disappointing ratings for S1.

The series stars Martin Clunes as a real-life Detective Chief Inspector, Colin Sutton, in pursuit of serial killers. S1 first streamed on TVNZ+ before a linear run on TVNZ 1.

S2 is entitled Manhunt: The Night Stalker and will premiere September 4 on Rialto. Because it’s on the premium subscription channel, which effectively is a double-pay wall, even Sky subscribers will have to pay extra to see it.

“We didn’t acquire season two due to ratings numbers of the previous season,” a TVNZ spokesperson says.

The four-part series dramatises an investigation code-named Operation Minstead, in which a notorious serial rapist eluded police in ’90s southeast London.

You may think another grisly-sounding true-crime drama won’t be missed but Manhunt stands out for its authenticity and restraint.

As The Telegraph’s reviewer recounted at the time of its UK launch this time last year:

There seem to be so many grim series using rape as entertainment fodder. Why, I wondered, would anyone want to see these awful crimes dramatised? Colin Sutton, the detective whose work is featured in Manhunt, responded and wrote: “I am sure that once you actually see it you will realise it is much more complex than that.”

And I’m pleased to say that I was wrong and Mr Sutton was right. There was nothing tacky or sensationalist about the programme …

The race to catch Minstead Man provides all the drama we need. It’s a shame that the BBC’s Vigil, with its laughably bad heroine (hello Suranne Jones, trying to avert a nuclear missile launch) will get 10 times the attention of Manhunt, which is in all ways a superior detective drama.

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