Stage actor John Wilkes Booth went on the run for 12 days after he shot President Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head at Ford’s Theatre in 1865. And the new trailer for Apple TV+ true-crimes series Manhunt brings to light this little-known historical fact.
Based on the bestselling nonfiction book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, the seven-part series premieres March 15.
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True-crime series Manhunt dramatizes the hunt for Abraham Lincoln’s killer
Apple TV+ showed the trailer on the 2024 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. The streamer’s upcoming limited series Manhunt, created by showrunner and executive producer Monica Beletsky (Fargo, The Leftovers), stars Emmy Award-winner Tobias Menzies (The Crown, Game of Thrones) as Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war, who led efforts to capture Booth and his co-conspirators.
Having recently read James L. Swanson’s page-turner the series uses as source material, I’m keen to watch the Apple TV+ show.
One bit in the Manhunt trailer jumped out at me. Booth (played by Anthony Boyle) leaps down onto the Ford’s Theatre stage immediately after shooting Lincoln. In the trailer, he shouts “Freedom for the South!” at the stunned and confused audience (many thought it was all part of the show). But history records Booth shouting “Sic semper tyrannis!” (Latin for “thus always to tyrants”) and “the South is avenged!”
Hopefully, the series didn’t omit Booth’s pretentious lines but simply added an audience-friendly one and included it in the trailer edit. (By the way, history also records Booth as a vain, self-important man who thought he’d be remembered as a hero.)
“I was born with the chance to be somebody,” Booth’s voiceover intones at the start of the trailer. “I’m going to be the most famous man in the whole world.”
That Booth, dragging an injured leg from his leap from the presidential box down to the stage, managed to run for 12 days with much of the Union Army on his trail is truly remarkable. You’ll have to watch the series to see how he met his inglorious end.
Lincoln’s assassination: One of the ‘least understood crimes in history’
Here’s how Apple TV+ describes the show:
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. Starring alongside Menzies are Boyle (Masters of the Air, Tetris), Lovie Simone (Greenleaf), Will Harrison (Daisy Jones & The Six), Brandon Flynn (13 Reasons Why), Damian O’Hare (Hatfields & McCoys), Glenn Morshower (The Resident), Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio), Matt Walsh (Veep) and Hamish Linklater (The Big Short).
Lionsgate Television co-produced the series with Apple Studios in association with POV Entertainment, Walden Media, 3 Arts Entertainment, Dovetale Productions and Monarch Pictures. Beletsky, Emmy nominee Carl Franklin, Layne Eskridge and Kate Barry executive produce, along with author Swanson and Michael Rotenberg, Richard Abate, Frank Smith and Naia Cucukov. Franklin (Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Devil in a Blue Dress) also directed the first two episodes.
Watch the Manhunt trailer:
Watch Manhunt on Apple TV+
Manhunt makes its global debut on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes on Friday, March 15. New episodes will debut on subsequent Fridays, culminating in the finale on April 19.
Apple TV+ is available by subscription for $9.99 with a seven-day free trial. You can also get it via any tier of the Apple One subscription bundle. For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy three months of Apple TV+ for free.
After launching in November 2019, “Apple TV+ became the first all-original streaming service to launch around the world, and has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service.” (Read Cult of Mac’s guide to the 15 best shows on Apple TV+.)
In addition to award-winning movies and TV shows (including breakout soccer comedy Ted Lasso), Apple TV+ offers a variety of documentaries, dramas, comedies, kids shows and more.
Source: Apple TV+