Manhunt The Night Stalker – 20 September 2021 – 20/9/2021 – ITV

Episode 1The ‘Night Stalker’, a notorious serial burglar and rapist active in South-East London, first offended in 1992 and is still continuing his reign of terror in 2009. His attacks are unique and bear similar hallmarks – light bulbs taken out to ensure darkness, entire panes of glass removed from windows. Dressed entirely in black, and masked by a balaclava, he targets elderly victims and subjects them to terrifying ordeals, whilst also robbing them.

Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell (Guy Williams) is tasked by the newly appointed Metropolitan Police Commissioner, to carry out a review as to why a lengthy and expensive enquiry, Operation Minstead, has failed to catch the Night Stalker, causing fear and panic in the public.

DCS Campbell calls on Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton (Martin Clunes) to take a look at the case to see if there are any avenues of investigation that have been missed over the years.

There is a worry from Colin’s old team, voiced by DS Clive Grace (Stephen Wight), that Colin is being given a poisoned chalice with this unsolvable case. Initially Colin meets with some resistance from the existing enquiry team in Lewisham where Operation Minstead is based. They have spent years focusing on the DNA evidence to try to find who the Night Stalker, or Minstead Man as they call him, could be.

Colin gets to grips with the case with his customary quiet determination. He meets with Minstead’s SIO, Detective Superintendent Simon Morgan (Matt Bardock), DI Nathan Eason (Matthew Gravelle) and tries to catch up on this long-running and multi-faceted investigation.

When he goes to his first Minstead crime scene it bears all the familiar signatures of a Night Stalker case. But the elderly victim has dementia, so is not able to give them a complete account of what happened.

Colin tries to get a feel for the perpetrator, by getting to know his territory, but real-ises that what he thought might be an early break in the case proves to be just a coincidence.

At his first briefing by Simon Morgan, Colin notices that a huge amount of the in-vestigation is focused on gathering DNA samples, but this is a very arduous task, and practically is proving extremely difficult.

When Colin questions Simon about the focus on the DNA, he gets a very frosty re-sponse. Simon has after all been steering this investigation for almost ten years, and this is only Colin’s first couple of days.

They might have a lead with some jewellery that has been stolen from one of the victims. DC Adam Spier (David Witts) has an informant who knows her way around the local pawn shops.

When Colin talks to DS Neville Hylton (Sule Rimi) about the way the Operation Minstead team has handled their evidence he realises that they are, and have his-torically been, chronically understaffed, which has caused them to be unable to handle the amount of incidents that the Night Stalker is generating. They are also investigating each attack as if it were a murder case, when they do not have the resources or the manpower to keep up with this workload. So shortcuts are having to be taken, and possible cases screened out to the local police, as Minstead just can’t manage them all.

There is another attack, which is definitely in Night Stalker territory, and fits some of the criteria, but which was initially screened out and given to the local police force to investigate because it didn’t have enough of the hallmarks to mark it as a Minstead case.

But when Colin decides to follow this up, DNA evidence retrieved from an orange juice carton, proves that this attack was in fact the Night Stalker. Visiting the crime scene leads Colin to retrieve some nearby CCTV, which could give the team their first glimpse of the perpetrator they have been hunting for so long.

The executive producer: is Philippa Braithwaite, the producer is Jo Willett, the co-producer is Evie Bergson-Korn, the director is Marc Evans. The writer is Ed Whitmore, who is also an executive producer. The series was devised by Ed Whitmore and Colin Sutton.

About Manhunt The Night Stalker

Martin Clunes stars as the former London Metropolitan Police Detective Chief In-spector Colin Sutton in a sequel to the critically acclaimed drama Manhunt.

Manhunt The Night Stalker, a four part drama, is the real life story of the police pursuit of a notorious serial burglar and rapist, whose 17 year reign of terror left thousands of elderly people in south east London living in fear. It is based on the diaries of Colin Sutton.

BAFTA award winning actor Martin Clunes will again take the role of DCI Sutton, the detective he portrayed in the first series of Manhunt tenaciously pursuing serial killer Levi Bellfield.

This show is broadcast on ITV.

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