The Capture – S1 E01: 5 Act Structure

Screenwriter – Ben Chanan.

In the previous post we listed the number of scenes and scene lengths.

This post breaks episode 1 into a 5 act structure.

Like Happy Valley, The Capture decides its act breaks by following the antagonist (although in this story the lines between antagonist and protagonist in the character of Shaun Emery are blurred.)

The end of Act 1 breaks with Shaun’s shooting of the soldier in Afghanistan, played on the video screen in court, which leads us neatly into Act 2, opening with the 5 minute courtroom scene.

Act 2 follows Sean’s acquittal and celebrations in the pub, culminating in an altercation and his leaving while looking for his barrister Hannah, who has left before him.

Act 3 There is a definite change of mood and tone, signed by a musical marker, as we are led into the sequence of scenes between Shaun and Hannah which become the heart of the story. Hence Act 3 is the heart of the act. Act 3 ends with Shaun’s dramatic arrest.

Act 4 is Shaun being interviewed by the police at the station by Carey and climaxes in his emotional explosion when he is played the fake video of the assault for which he has been arrested for.

Act 5 explores Shaun flashing back to the events with Hannah, interweaving with his daughter waiting for him at school, and Carey investigating the river. The episode ends with Shaun’s flashback and him sitting alone in the cell.

More analysis to follow.

Shooting script available at BBC Writers’ Room here.

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