What a show this is! When we posted a preview of The Hunter season 1 on the site last year, it became one of our most popular articles of 2021 and fans of Noir Italiano loved the series, which is still available to stream on Walter Presents for UK viewers.
On Friday 15 April, you’ll be able to start watching season 2 and the first episode will also air on Channel 4 at 11 pm on Sunday 17 April.
Let’s get up to speed… It is January 1996 and Anti Mafia prosecutor Saverio Barone (Francesco Montanari) has had some success. He’s managed to put Don Luchino behind bars. But at what cost? Well, during season 1 the son of an Italian judge was kidnapped. Giuseppe Di Matteo is being held captive by Giovani Brusca – AKA The Swine, a cold-blooded killer who has murdered over 200 people.
So there’s high tension from the off. If Brusca gets wind that Barone is onto him, he might kill 15-year-old Giuseppe, who is being kept in a cage like an animal and hasn’t seen his mother in years.
There’s not much time for Barone to have a personal life, but as the series opens he is getting married – only to leave the wedding early because a Mafia driver has given the police the location of Brusca’s hideout.
Here’s where it gets truly fascinating. The modernist Sicilian villa is tumbling down, but is located in a wealthy neighbourhood and has a high concrete wall and lots of foliage around it. The police set up a stakeout but they can’t really see in. Nobody ever comes or goes – it’s really puzzling to Barone, his partner Carlo Mazza (Francesco Foti) and lead detective Diego Navarra (Giorgio Caputo).
However, as the viewer, you know that Brusca is coming and going via a secret tunnel that extends from the villa, underneath a nearby hill and out onto some wasteland where he parks his car. He has 30 watches and 50 designer suits but he can’t come and go by the front door.
Then the police come up with an ingenious method of seeing into the villa. Borrowing a huge telescope from the nearby planetary observatory, and taking it to the top of a hill to raise their elevation, they can see into Brusca’s courtyard. The Swine is at home and the police can swoop in and nab him… What could go wrong?
Like the first season, the pace is fast – frenetic, even. There is constant adrenaline. You’d expect that, perhaps, as at just about any moment one of the lawmen, or their family members, could be killed. They talk about the frustration of always being on the edge, one wrong move and someone could be killed and/or Brusca escapes. The blurb describes the investigation as ‘cat and mouse’ but it really is more like hunting an unpredictable, dangerous beast.
The story is based on the work of the real Italian magistrate Alfonso Sabella and his autobiography Cacciatore di mafiosi. Real life has twists and turns that are wilder than most fiction writers can imagine. There is swift and sudden violence and in the Mafia world Brusca will turn from friend to enemy at the drop of a hat. He gets increasingly edgy with each move the police make and his brother seems to be going mad. Enzo Brusca (Alessio Praticò) is prone to wearing alien masks and believes in UFOs and visitors from the stars. He might even be more dangerous than his sibling.
Season 2 consists of eight hour-long episodes. It aired in Italy in 2019 under the title Il cacciatore and there is also a season 3, which may appear on Walter Presents next year.