Likened to hit US dramas Homeland and 24, new Channel 4 thriller, Hostages, first appears to be yet more of the same high-octane, gripping political action that has been flown across the Atlantic to fill our TV screens in various different formats. In fact, that is exactly what Hostages is, however, with a less subtle and ambiguous plot line and more direct, relentless tension building. The concept of the show, which, just like Homeland, is based on an Israeli drama, is simple enough to grasp but full of the moral ambiguity and tough decisions that will have you glued throughout.
Toni Collette plays Dr Ellen Saunders, a top surgeon about to operate on the US President. However, she is soon faced with an excruciating decision when a rogue FBI agent and his team break in to her house, hold her family hostage and tell her that in order to save her loved ones, she must kill the President during the scheduled operation. The situation is agonising and Collette puts in a superb performance as the torn yet strong-willed mother. The powerful lead female role is one of the main strengths of this drama; although FBI agent Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott) and Ellen’s husband Brian (Tate Donovan) also deliver strong performances.
Put simply, if you compare Hostages to Homeland, you will be disappointed. Hostages is much more simplistic and mainstream, or, as The Independent called it, ‘Homeland-lite’, but that is not to dismiss it altogether. Taking it by itself, Hostages is still a captivating and gripping show; the pilot had me hooked from start to finish. It may not be the best political drama to have reached our shores from the west, but for a dose of easy-to-follow crime thriller on a Saturday night, Hostages fills the role more than adequately.
Read our review of the last season of Homeland here
Watch Hostages on Saturdays 9pm on C4 or on 4OD now!