'The Crown's' Tobias Menzies to Lead the Search for Abraham Lincoln's Killer In Apple TV+'s 'Manhunt'

 Tobias Menzies and Brandon Flynn in Apple TV+'s "Manhunt"

 Tobias Menzies and Brandon Flynn in "Manhunt"

(Photo: Apple TV+)

Everyone knows the story of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. The ill-fated trip to Ford's Theatre to see Our American Cousin. The scuffle in the presidential box after Lincoln was shot. John Wilkes Booth leaping to the stage to declare that the South was avenged and thus always to tyrants. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

But far fewer people are likely familiar with what happened afterward. Lincoln's final hours in a boarding house across the street. The panic in the city, as residents wondered whether a Confederate attack was underway. The massive search for Booth that followed. And the trauma that went on to shadow the Lincolns' guests that night for the rest of their lives

Well, Apple TV+'s latest limited series aims to change all that. Seven-part drama Manhunt will tell the story of John Wilkes Booth's escape and the massive mobilization to bring a president's killer to justice. Based on James L. Swanson's bestselling book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, the series will follow Booth's escape from Ford's Theatre on that fateful night in April 1865 when he, after breaking his leg in his jump from the presidential box, snuck out the back door of the theater and fled. Despite a $100,000 reward being offered for his capture, he managed to evade discovery for almost two weeks, leading the U.S. Army on a chase through Maryland and Virginia before he was finally cornered in a farmhouse in Port Royal, near Fredericksburg. He was shot while refusing to surrender and died on the property. 

 Lili Taylor and Tobias Menzies in "Manhunt"

 Lili Taylor and Tobias Menzies in "Manhunt"

(Photo: Apple TV+)

Tobias Menzies (The Crown) stars as Edward Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War and friend, who helped hold the government together and launched the search for Booth as the president lay dying. Set against a backdrop of volatile uncertainty, the show explores the personal and political ramifications of Lincoln's murder, for Stanton and the country at large. After all, though the Civil War may have technically ended, Reconstruction had barely begun. The Emancipation Proclamation had freed millions of enslaved people but ratification of the 13th Amendment was still in progress. 

"I was so compelled by the fact that I had never been taught about this man," series creator Monica Beletsky (Friday Night Lights) told Vanity Fair. "Essentially, the weight of everything after the assassination fell on his shoulders. I thought there could be a show in the universal story behind him, which is avenging a friend's death."

Alongside Menzies, the series' ensemble cast includes Anthony Boyle (The Plot Against America) as John Wilkes Booth, Hamish Linklater (Midnight Mass) as Abraham Lincoln, Lili Taylor (Perry Mason) as Mary Todd Lincoln, Matt Walsh (Ghosts) as Dr. Samuel Mudd,  Lovie Simone (Greenleaf) as Mary Simm, Brandon Flynn (Ratched) as Eddie Stanton, Jr., Damian O'Hare (1923) as Thomas Eckert, Will Harrison (Daisy Jones & the Six) as Booth's accomplice David Herold, Patton Oswalt (The Sandman) as Union spy Lafayette Baker and Glenn Morshower (The Resident). 

Hamish LInklater in "Manhunt"

Hamish LInklater in "Manhunt"

(Photo: Apple TV+)

Here's the series' (admittedly very basic) description. 

Based on The New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning nonfiction book from author James L. Swanson, “Manhunt” is a conspiracy thriller about one of the best known but least understood crimes in history, the astonishing story of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Manhunt is created by Emmy nominee Beletsky, who also serves as showrunner and executive producer. Carl Franklin (Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story) directed the series' first two episodes and is an executive producer on the series. Swanson also executive produces, alongside Michael Rotenberg, Richard Abate, Frank Smith, Layne Eskridge, Kate Barry, and Naia Cucukov. 

The series is produced by Apple Studios and co-produced by Lionsgate Television, in association with POV Entertainment, Walden Media, 3 Arts Entertainment, Dovetale Productions, and Monarch Pictures. 

Manhunt will premiere globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, March 15 with two episodes. Additional installments will debut weekly through April 19. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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