'Manhunt: Unabomber' Takes A By-The-Book Approach To The Hunt For Ted Kaczynski
Discovery Channel’s “Manhunt: Unabomber” carefully unfolds the story of Ted Kaczynski, the infamous domestic terrorist whose bombing campaign lasted for than 20 years.
Kaczynski — who is 75 and serving a lifetime sentence — received his nickname based on the fact his early targets were universities (UN) and airlines (A). In 1995, after 17 years of bombings, the FBI believed their suspect was an airline mechanic. When Kaczynski (played by Paul Bettany) began picking up the pace of his bombings, the agency brought in a new profiler, Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington), to put new eyes on the case.
Fitzgerald suggests that the reason the FBI has had trouble catching the terrorist is that they underestimated him. (Over the years the agency’s assessment would vary.)
Far from a mechanic, Kaczynski was a Harvard grad and became a UC Berkeley professor of mathematics in the late 1960s. In 1969, Kaczynski quit the university, and in a couple of years would move to a remote area of Montana.
After he began mailing bombs in 1978, he also began mailing letters espousing his “philosophy” to news organizations. Interestingly, Kaczynski’s great fear was about the dangers of technology in the modern world.
Sometimes his letters would include warnings about future attacks in order to maximize panic among the public and authorities.
The two episodes available for review, “Manhunt: Unabomber” has a by-the-book feel — a lot of forensics and theories. It’s not until the last few minutes that Bettany’s Kaczynski is really introduced.
The setup is that Fitzgerald is being brought in to break Kaczynski, who they had in custody but without enough evidence. So it’s a little hard to judge the series because Bettany is a terrific actor.
Judging by the little glimpse where they confront each other it, it looks like it could give the series a boost. All eight episodes are directed by Greg Yaitanes (“Banshee,” “House”). Others in the cast are Jane Lynch as U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Chris Noth as a FBI honcho and Keisha Castle-Hughes as a FBI analyst. ___
This article is written by Rob Lowman from Los Angeles Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.