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Catching Up with Cinemax’s Hunted [VIDEO] 

Photo Credit: Cinemax

Melissa George is, for me, an infinitely interesting actress who took an unjustified beating when Alias fans needed a punching bag after the two-year jump debacle in the third season. As soon as Vaughn said those words at the end of season two, I jumped, too, completely out of the series, so I don’t have that association with her.

I caught the pilot for Hunted during a Cinemax preview weekend and hadn’t heard anything about it beforehand, so it was a lovely toe dip into completely uncharted territory. Cinemax has done itself proud with a taut, edgy, compelling (and yes, violent) thriller that’s surprisingly short on sex (for the network) and long on layered characters and mysteries. I’m in.

The short version of the setup is that George plays Sam Hunter, an agent of Byzantium, a British spy agency that exists in the shadow of MI6. Following an ambush at the close of a mission, she went underground for a year to mourn the loss of her unborn child and regroup and train to return to her job and take down whoever it was that tried to kill her.

The long version is that everyone at Byzantium, even her former lover and the father of her child, Aidan (a very pretty Adam Rayner), is a suspect, but she throws herself into a mission anyway. The new assignment is to get close to the family of wealthy Britons making a play for a crucial dam in the Middle East.

The setup is an elaborate faux attempted kidnapping which she prevents, earning herself a place in the household as a defacto nanny to the grandson. She’s charged with spying on the grandfather in the family, and potentially, eventually, bedding the son if necessary. Alongside that, she’s working on her own to ferret out information on her attempted assassination, which, we learned (but she hasn’t yet) in episode three was sanctioned at the highest level.

George acquits herself admirably. She’s tough when she has to be, sensitive when it’s called for, and utterly believable as a battle-weary, wounded survivor determined to avenge. I hope this is the role that finally puts any other preconceptions and perceptions of her to rest.

The series is the brainchild of Frank Spotnitz, one of the geniuses who architected The X-Files. This is his first non-US series, filmed mostly in London. One nice surprise in the casting is Human Target‘s Indira Varma as Aidan’s contact in MI6. Also along for the ride is Stephen Dillane, who may or may not be up to something.

The first season is only eight episodes, so you can easily jump in now; the first three episodes are online. New episodes air at 10 pm/9 c Fridays on Cinemax, and repeat at 11:30 pm/10:30 c and throughout the week. Here’s a preview of tonight’s fourth episode:

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