Hunters (2020 TV series)
Hunters is an American drama web television series created by David Weil. It premiered on February 21, 2020, on Amazon Prime Video. In August 2020, the series was renewed for a second season.
|Created by||David Weil|
|Theme music composer||Trevor Gureckis|
|Composer(s)||Cristobal Tapia de Veer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||57–90 minutes|
|Original network||Amazon Prime Video|
|Original release||February 21, 2020 –|
The series is inspired by a number of real Nazi hunters through the decades, but it is not meant to be a specific representation of any of them. It follows a diverse band of Nazi hunters living in 1977 New York City who discover that Nazi war criminals are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. A parallel plot element is the discovery of Operation Paperclip, the U.S. government operation relocating many German scientists (many of them Nazis) to the U.S.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Logan Lerman as Jonah Heidelbaum, a young mathematics whiz who takes his grandmother's place on the Hunters
- Al Pacino as Meyer Offerman, a Polish-Jewish philanthropist and Holocaust survivor who recruits and leads the Hunters
- Lena Olin as The Colonel, leader of the Fourth Reich
- Jerrika Hinton as Millie Morris, an FBI agent who stumbles onto the Fourth Reich and the Hunters during a murder investigation
- Saul Rubinek as Murray Markowitz, Mindy's husband and the Hunters' electronics expert; a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor
- Carol Kane as Mindy Markowitz, Murray's wife and the Hunters' signals expert; a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor
- Josh Radnor as Lonny Flash, actor and master of disguises for the Hunters
- Greg Austin as Travis Leich, a Nazi acolyte drawn into the Fourth Reich
- Tiffany Boone as Roxy Jones, a member of the Hunters who specializes in counterfeiting and forgery
- Louis Ozawa as Joe Mizushima, a Vietnam War veteran and the Hunters' combat expert
- Kate Mulvany as Sister Harriet, a former MI6 operative who now works with the Hunters; a former German-Jewish child refugee
- Dylan Baker as Biff Simpson, an Undersecretary of State in the Carter administration and secretly an undercover Nazi agent
- Christian Oliver as Wilhelm Zuchs, "The Wolf," a Nazi doctor at Auschwitz who tormented both Meyer and Jonah's grandmother Ruth
- Victor Williams as Detective Kennedy Groton
- Jonno Davies as Tobias, the Colonel's body man
- James LeGros as Hank Grimsby, former OSS operative and now Millie's boss at the FBI
- Ebony Obsidian as Carol Lockhart
- Caleb Emery as Arthur "Bootyhole" McGuigan
- Henry Hunter Hall as Sherman "Cheeks" Johnson
- Jeannie Berlin as Ruth Heidelbaum, Jonah's grandmother and a survivor of Auschwitz
- Julissa Bermudez as Maria, Millie's girlfriend and a nurse
- Becky Ann Baker as Commerce Secretary Juanita M. Kreps
- Celia Weston as Dottie
- Joshua Satine as Aaron Markowitz
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"In the Belly of the Whale"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||David Weil||February 21, 2020|
|US undersecretary of state Biff hosts a barbecue, where a guest is shocked to remember him as a senior Nazi, leading to Biff killing all present, including his own family. Jonah witnesses the brutal murder of his grandmother inside their Brooklyn home, and subsequently vows to find the truth of her death. He meets Ruth’s old friend, Meyer Offerman, while sitting Shiva for Ruth. In Florida, an elderly NASA scientist is killed in her shower. Jonah, who is a code-breaking prodigy, sees just a few clues in Meyer's home, but uses them to find Ruth's killer — a toy-shop owner who was a murderous guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp and the killer of Ruth's younger sister. The toy-shop owner gets the upper hand, but Meyer arrives and kills him.|
|2||"The Mourner's Kaddish"||Wayne Yip||David Weil||February 21, 2020|
|Meyer brings Jonah into the Hunters, who are initially reluctant to have him involved, though he quickly gains some acceptance by breaking a code in the toy maker's correspondence. Jonah learns that Ruth was a major part of the Hunters, having built their extensive archive of historical files and more recent interviews. FBI agent Millie, investigating the death of the scientist, starts to uncover the Nazi links. Travis, a deadly American born Nazi working for The Colonel, who is leading the Nazi underground, is sent to Florida to learn who is killing their members. The Hunters track down a record producer who used to be the murderous Pied Piper of Buchenwald concentration camp. The Hunters find seemingly innocuous messages the man is secretly broadcasting, but Jonah messes up and the man is killed before they can learn more.|
|3||"While Visions of Safta Danced in His Head"||Wayne Yip||Nikki Toscano||February 21, 2020|
|The Markowitzes discover a code in the Pied Piper's broadcasts, suggesting that tragic events in America's past, including the Watergate scandal and the assassination of RFK, were part of a Nazi plot. The messages suggest the next big Nazi-managed event will take place on July 13, 1977 in New York. Jonah's friend Bootyhole, who was working in the comic book store instead of Jonah, is killed by Travis.|
|4||"The Pious Thieves"||Nelson McCormick||Mark Bianculli||February 21, 2020|
|The Hunters find a huge collection of Nazi stolen treasure hidden in a bank in New Jersey. Jonah finds letters written by Ruth, explaining the deepening affection between her and Meyer while at the Auschwitz concentration camp.|
|5||"At Night, All Birds are Black"||Dennie Gordon||David J. Rosen||February 21, 2020|
|At Auschwitz concentration camp, a doctor known as The Wolf is disappointed when Ruth will not work with him, so he does tortuous experiments on Meyer in retaliation. Half the Hunters go to Alabama to pursue a Nazi doctor who experimented on prisoners during the war, while the others go after Tilda, a Nazi propaganda film director now working as a political consultant. Millie continues pursuing her own leads on the presence of Nazis in America. Unknown assailants beat up Millie. Sister Harriet rescues a Nazi from the others and drives off.|
|6||"(Ruth 1:16)"||Millicent Shelton||Zakiyyah Alexander||February 21, 2020|
|The day of the Markowitz' daughter's wedding, Murray recalls how they were taken, with their young son, to be sent to a concentration camp, where an officer killed their son. Flashbacks show that Sister Harriet was secretly sent to England, with other young German girls, to hide out during the war. She arrives at the wedding, revealing that she has tied up the Nazi, who she had realized was the man who killed the Markowitz boy. Millie breaks up with her live-in girlfriend, fearing she will be attacked too. Travis breaks into Meyer's mansion and is able to burn many of the files the Hunters are using to track Nazis.|
|7||"Shalom Motherf***er"||Nelson McCormick||Eduardo Javier Canto & Ryan Maldonado||February 21, 2020|
|Meyer admits that he is Jonah's grandfather. Millie, despite knowing that the recent victims are Nazis who murdered millions, is hellbent on charging Offerman with murder, misleading a judge in order to get a warrant to arrest Offerman. When Jonah solves the final piece of the Nazi music code, the Hunters discover a Nazi plot to sneak a shipment of a biological weapon through the port of New York by causing distractions with the New York City blackout of 1977 and bombing a crowded subway car. Murray and Jonah save the passengers, but Murray Markowitz is killed trying to disarm the bomb.|
|8||"The Jewish Question"||Michael Uppendahl||David Weil & Charley Casler||February 21, 2020|
|Mindy Markowitz kills the man who murdered her son after burying Murray, who she was surprised to find out wanted a Jewish funeral when he finally died. Meyer tells Jonah why he and Ruth never married: at Auschwitz, Meyer chose to shoot a series of eleven prisoners in order to stop the Wolf from shooting Ruth, ignoring her pleas to let the Wolf shoot her instead. The Hunters find Nazi and NASA scientist Wernher von Braun via Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who is diametrically opposed to Meyer's team killing the Nazis rather than bringing them before legal tribunals.|
|9||"The Great Ole Nazi Cookout of '77"||Nelson McCormick||Nikki Toscano||February 21, 2020|
|The episode begins with a review of the reasons given for bringing over the Nazis to the United States in the first place, so that the USSR would not be able to recruit them for their government and space program. The Hunters attack the Fourth Reich's bunker, destroying it and the corn syrup carrying their pathogen before it can be released. During a struggle, Jonah has the chance to kill Travis, but is talked down by Millie, who arrests Travis instead. Meyer manages to capture the Colonel who suggests that the pathogen isn't the Fourth Reich's only plan. A struggle ensues, causing Meyer to crash the car into the river.|
|10||"Eilu v' Eilu"||Michael Uppendahl||David Weil||February 21, 2020|
|Meyer is rescued from the wreck by Harriet while the Colonel is killed. Jonah begins a search for Wilhelm "The Wolf" Zuchs, the Nazi doctor who tortured Meyer and Ruth thirty years before. From clues, Jonah discovers Ruth's files which lead him to capture a surgeon he believes to be the Wolf who Meyer executes. However, Meyer doesn't recite a prayer he'd sworn to Ruth he would if he ever caught up to the Wolf, leading a horrified Jonah to put the pieces together and realize that Meyer is actually the Wolf. Zuchs confesses, explaining that he had killed the real Meyer to take his identity and escape the Soviets while later undergoing plastic surgery (from the SS surgeon he just now killed) to complete the transformation. Having lived a Jewish life for thirty years, Zuchs insists that he regrets his actions and that a visit by Ruth a year before inspired him to bring the Hunters together as penance. Despite a vision of Ruth attempting to talk him down, Jonah kills Zuchs and reveals the truth to the other horrified Hunters. Harriet, after having consulted with an unidentified woman, suggests to the remaining Hunters that they continue their mission in Europe. Mizushima is kidnapped and taken to Argentina, where he discovers that The Colonel is alive, her identity is Eva Braun and she is living with Adolf Hitler and four identical Aryan-looking boys.|
On May 17, 2018, it was announced that Amazon Video had given the production a straight-to-series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by David Weil who was set to executive produce alongside Jordan Peele, Tom Lesinski, Jenna Santoianni, and Win Rosenfeld. Weil was also expected to write for the series as well. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Monkeypaw Productions and Sonar Entertainment. On August 7, 2018, it was announced that Nikki Toscano had joined the production as an executive producer and would also serve as co-showrunner alongside Weil. On August 3, 2020, Amazon renewed the series for a second season.
On December 13, 2018, it was reported that Logan Lerman was in talks for a lead role in the series, Jonah Heidelbaum. On January 10, 2019, it was reported that Al Pacino was finalizing a deal for a starring role in the series. On February 7, 2019, it was reported that Jerrika Hinton, Dylan Baker, Lena Olin, Greg Austin, Catherine Tate, Tiffany Boone, Saul Rubinek, and Carol Kane were in various stages of negotiations to join the cast of the series. Four days later, it was announced that Boone had officially joined the cast. Josh Radnor was cast in March. In April 2019, Kate Mulvany, James LeGros, Ebony Obsidian, Caleb Emery, Henry Hunter Hall and Jeannie Berlin joined the cast of the series, with Mulvany joining as a series regular.
Hunters received polarizing reviews, with praise for its premise, messages, action sequences, and performances (particularly that of Lerman, Austin, and Pacino), but criticism for its story-telling, inconsistent tone, pacing, historical inaccuracies, and conclusion. The series has a 65% approval rating with 92 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.21/10. Metacritic gave the series a score of 55 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The series has received some criticism from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum due to inaccurate use of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The scene depicting prisoners being forced to participate in a game of human chess was called out as "dangerous foolishness and caricature". The museum was also concerned that the show "welcomes future deniers". Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Stephen D. Smith heavily criticized the show and concluded that "Amazon must not renew it for a second season."
In a statement, series creator David Weil, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, responded to the criticism and spoke to wanting to tell a story about the Holocaust without borrowing from a specific survivor's real life or experience without their permission. He said, "It is true that Nazis perpetrated widespread and extreme acts of sadism and torture – and even incidents of cruel 'games' – against their victims. I simply did not want to depict those specific, real acts of trauma ... I did not want to misrepresent a real person or borrow from a specific moment in an actual person’s life. That was the responsibility that weighed on me every night and every morning for years, while writing, producing, and editing this show."
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- Andreeva, Nellie (August 7, 2018). "'The Hunt': Nikki Toscano Joins Jordan Peele's Nazi Hunters Amazon Series As EP". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
- Petski, Denise (December 13, 2018). "Logan Lerman In Talks For Lead In Jordan Peele's 'The Hunt' Amazon Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood.
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- Sneider, Jeff (February 7, 2019). "Exclusive: Jordan Peele's Cast for Amazon's 'The Hunt' Takes Shape". Collider. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Petski, Denise (February 11, 2019). "'The Hunt': Tiffany Boone Cast In Jordan Peele's Amazon Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
- "'The Hunt': Josh Radnor To Co-Star In Jordan Peele's Amazon Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. March 2019.
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- Auschwitz Memorial Drags ‘Hunters’ For Historical Inaccuracies – Deadline