‘Hijack’: Idris Elba has seven hours to save 200 people

Idris Elba in ‘Hijack.’ Apple TV+

hijacka seven-episode thriller starring Idris Elba, follows in the footsteps of 24, in which an airline is hijacked on a flight from Dubai to London in real time. Of course, if the show was an accurate representation of the current state of travel, the first episode would only be an hour of buffering because your flight is delayed. Here, however, we jump right into the action as an assortment of passengers board Kingdom 29, bound for Heathrow. By the end of the first episode – the series will air weekly through August – five of those passengers have taken the plane hostage, and the crew on the ground are unsure of what is happening.

Created, written and directed by George Kay and Jim Field Smith, the series draws on our collective love for Elba, who plays a first-class passenger with a special knack for business negotiations. He immediately intervenes and may become more involved than the average passenger in a real hijacking. But the rest of the cast matches his energy, especially Archie Panjabi, who plays a counter-terrorism officer trying to establish the threat level. The episodes alternate between the interior of the claustrophobia plane and the ground, both in Dubai and London, and the writers trickled the information slowly enough to maintain suspense.

Archie Panjabi in ‘Hijack.’ AppleTV

Like on 24, a ticking clock is ubiquitous in the episodes. The flight time is seven hours, with each episode covering an hour of travel, and Kingdom 29 appears to be on a collision course for central London. The action plays out as a series of fairly realistic moments, including when a group of passengers decide to take down the hijackers early in the flight. The shocked passengers do what we all would probably do in a similar situation and many of their attempts to regain control or communicate with authorities are clever. What is unrealistic is that none of them need to go to the toilet for more than seven hours. Has anyone, especially a child or an old man, survived an overseas flight without a toilet break? This particular plane is apparently full of steel bladders.

More details about the hijacking are revealed in each episode, including who ends up doing it and why. The writers have made the onboard hijackers British, which feels purposeful and pointed. We’ve seen enough movies and TV shows featuring Muslim terrorists – white Englishmen can be just as dangerous and reckless. The cast, which also includes Christine Adams, Max Beesley, Eve Myles, Neil Maskell, Jasper Britton, Harry Michell, Aimee Kelly, Mohamed Elsandel and Ben Miles, is suitably diverse. It feels like the composition of a real flight from Dubai to London, and those rushing to help, eventually including the British Home Secretary, feel just as realistic.

As the story unfolds, not everything makes sense. Questions linger after the final episode, and it’s unclear if that’s on purpose. (Maybe there’s a second season in the works?) It’s a wonder Elba’s character doesn’t get shot for all the interference he’s doing in the hijackers’ plan, but the character is easy to root for. A cliffhanger at the end of the penultimate episode is a great twist, although the finale has a few holes. Despite his missteps, however hijack is full of suspense and gripping, often leaving the viewer on the edge of his seat. It’s stressful, though probably not as much as your upcoming summer vacation. This is much more fun and much less annoying than a seven hour flight.

The first two episodes of Hijack will premiere on AppleTV+ on June 28.

'Hijack' review: Idris Elba has seven hours to save 200 people

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *