When Manhunt premiered in the U.K. in January 2019, it was the biggest debut on ITV for a new series in six years, since Broadchurch began back in 2013. The three-part series, which aired over three consecutive nights, was based on the memoirs of real-life former Met police detective DCI Colin Sutton, played by favorite Martin Clunes (Doc Martin). The case was based on the real-life tragedy of French student Amélie Delagrange, who was murdered by serial killer Yusuf Rahim, better known as Levi Bellfield, and the investigation which linked the case to the already murdered Marsha McDonnell.
With two BAFTA Cymru awards under its belt, it was a sure bet that ITV would bring back the series for a second round, which it greenlit in March of that same year. But filming didn't initially get off the ground until 2020 due to schedule issues, and well, everyone knows what happened next. The lockdown delays piled up, but ITV confirmed the series was still a go in November 2020, finally filming early the following year. Season 2, titled Manhunt: The Night Stalker, chronicled another real-life case, that of serial rapist Delroy Grant, and remiered in the U.K. in September 2021 with four episodes (once again airing across consecutive nights), crossing the pond to Acorn TV in America the next month.
But since then, all's been quiet on the Manhunt front. Fans were uncertain after the new season ended if there would be more to come, partly due to the choice of story Season 2 told. Though the Grant case went on for over a decade, it was one of Sutton's last triumphs when he was brought aboard for the final three years of the investigation. The series ended with the character declaring this would be his last case before retiring.
On the one hand, it seems difficult to believe that ITV would cancel the series after such a promising start. Season 2 might not have brought in quite the same level of hype after being off the air for two and a half years, but it still did respectably well in the U.K. (Acorn TV viewer numbers are unknown.) Moreover, the real-life Sutton said that the success of the second season (which he had been doubtful about) had convinced him the series could go for a third. In September, Sutton claimed he and series writer Ed Whitmore were already discussing Season 3.
But discussions aren't closed deals, and ITV still hasn't said one way or another. Also, Clunes has a lot of responsibilities and other series, from Doc Martin, which is still ongoing, to shows like Secret Life Of. (It's partly why filming Season 2 took a while to get off the ground, running headlong into the pandemic shutdowns.) However, ITV hasn't said the show is canceled either. Fans know British series, especially mysteries, can take a while to renew.
In the case of Manhunt, adapting real-life cases for drama can be a difficult task as well. Using one of his last cases means a third season would probably be more of a period piece and could be set in the 1990s or early aughts. (Sutton's career spanned 30 years.) Should the series go back to the last century, it may even need to recast for a younger Sutton, though considering Clunes' being the face of the franchise, that seems unlikely.
Fans will have to keep hoping more Manhunt will be on the way until then. Manhunt Season 1 and Manhunt: The Night Stalker are currently streaming on Acorn TV.