To mark the home media release, Digital Spy spoke to series creator Frank Spotnitz about his writing process on series one, how his leading lady influenced the character of Sam and where Hunted is heading in future...
> Melissa George Hunted Q&A: 'I developed muscles in strange places'
> Hunted Adam Rayner Q&A: 'It's exciting not knowing the full story'
Hunted has been in the works for several years now. Are you happy with the finished product?
"Yeah, I'm really pleased and proud of it."
You worked on Strike Back prior to Hunted - was there a big difference going from such a masculine show to a series with a female lead?
"Well, it's funny because Strike Back was sort of an accident. I had come here [to the UK] to do Hunted and found I had a 6-month delay before I could start, so I went around looking for something to do and Strike Back happily fell in my lap.
"It was every kind of male fantasy - it was so much fun to write something like that. I did research for that - just like I did for Hunted - and met a bunch of SAS guys. I'd previously met a bunch of Navy SEALS for another project I'd written in the States and they're very inspiring - so that was a blast."
So was it a big change then tackling a show with a female protagonist?
"I'd already written the first hour of Hunted before I did those four hours of Strike Back, so I had that in my head. They're so different tonally and Sam Hunter's a really damaged, complicated person.
"The terrible events of her past really explain the terrible events of her present - it's really because of what happened to her as a child that these things are happening to her now. That was all in my head from the beginning, so it wasn't difficult to get back into it."
Was it a difficult balance to strike - having Sam be damaged but still likeable and engaging for an audience?
"Yes absolutely, it's very challenging because you want to be truthful about her and how she would be. That's what makes her interesting and if you smooth off the edges, you don't have the character anymore.
"So I think the strategy was to make [her] likeable because of the things she does, and to make the audience want to know more about her in those first few hours. Then slowly you get more and more invested in her - it kind of creeps up on you over time. But I think the plot is such a rollercoaster ride and there's so many hard twists and turns that [are] engaging even before you really know who Sam Hunter is."
Did Melissa George's performance affect how you wrote for Sam?
"Her performance definitely affected my writing. I'd written the first episode and I'd started work on the second when she was cast. That's one of the joys of doing television for me, despite the pressure to have all your scripts written before you film. They want you to write all eight before the cameras roll, so they can schedule it more effectively.
"But I love watching what actors do and then writing to the reality of who you've cast, rather than to who you imagine the character to be."
Which elements of Sam's personality did you bring out more because of Melissa's performance?
"I could see this amazing duality that she plays, and that's really why Melissa was cast in the part over anybody else - she's always got more than one thing going on at the same time. A lot of the people who came in to read for Sam - they were fabulous actresses, but their idea of being 'strong' was to be tough and hard...
"Melissa, for me... I guess you could say she's tough and hard, but you always see there's a vulnerability underneath. I loved that, so I looked for opportunities to show that in her scenes."
Did you approach Hunted differently knowing that it had to appeal to a UK and a US audience?
"Well, my feeling was, if it doesn't work for a British audience, it's not going to work for anybody. This is a British show first - I worked with three British writers on the scripts for six months, and wanted to make it throughly and truly British. I thought if I got to the specific truth of that, then it would appeal to American audiences as well, and it has."
The show has quite an international cast. Was that an intentional move to appeal to both audiences?
"Not really - if anything I was a little wary of that, because there have been a lot of shows that try to touch all those bases - different countries and stuff. So we were careful about trying to have too many nationalities and trying to please too many constituencies.
"There are some guest characters who aren't British, but aside from Deacon Crane, they're all Brits. And even Deacon is played by a British actor [Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje] with an American accent."
The first series of Hunted ends on quite an open note...
"A lot gets resolved, but there are definitely questions for the future and I hope to be answering those right around this time next year. I think it's satisfying, but there's certainly questions left open as well."
There's been a lot of speculation about the show's future - is it correct that Cinemax will be producing the show solo going forward?
"Yeah. This is the hazard of doing co-productions - it makes it complicated sometimes if you lose one of your partners. But we're going forward - it's sort of a spinoff of itself and it'll focus more squarely on the character of Sam Hunter. Hopefully it'll be on around this time next year."
There have been rumours that series two will be set in Berlin - is that still the plan?
"No, it's going to change - that was when we still had the BBC as a partner and now it's one of those funny things where it's the same character, but it's a different series. As it happens, from the way episode eight ends, it actually makes it quite organic to launch off into a different series, but it's not the direction we would've gone in had we stayed with the BBC."
Are you hoping to find another UK outlet for Hunted now that the BBC has pulled out?
"I would very much expect there'll be a UK broadcaster for it, yeah."
Cinemax work with Sky on Strike Back - could that be a potential avenue?
"It's occurred to me! It has occurred to me... I'm pretty confident that British viewers will get to see Sam Hunter as she continues."
Hunted is available on DVD and Blu-ray from November 26 via Entertainment One.