BY BILLY SUTER
THE first season of a thriller series written by Golden Globe-winner and Emmy-nominee Kevin Williamson, who gave us The Vampire Diaries and Scream, is scheduled to start on SABC3 at 11pm on Monday, February 13.
It’s The Following, teaming Kevin Bacon and the UK’s James Purefoy (star of Rome), which enjoyed three seasons before it was cancelled in America and had its final episode shown in the US in May 2015.
The story focuses on a notorious serial killer, Joe Carroll (Purefoy), escaping from death row, and the FBI calling on former agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) to consult on the case.
Having since withdrawn from the public eye, Hardy was responsible for Carroll’s capture in 2003, after Carroll murdered 14 female students on the Virginia college campus where he taught literature.
Hardy is a walking textbook of all-things Carroll. He knows him better than anyone; he is perhaps Carroll’s only psychological and intellectual match. But the Ryan Hardy who broke the Carroll case years ago isn’t the same man today.
He is wounded both physically and mentally by his previous pursuit of this serial killer, and it has been a long time since Hardy has been in the field. This new investigation is his redemption, his call to action.
In contrast to the original investigation years ago, Hardy isn’t calling the shots anymore. He works closely with an FBI team, which includes young, razor-sharp Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) and FBI specialist Debra Parker (Annie Parisse), who is brought in to lead the investigation into Carroll and his followers.
Although Weston seems to idolise him, most of the team considers Hardy to be more of a liability than an asset.
However, Hardy proves his worth when he uncovers that Carroll was covertly communicating with a network of followers in the outside world. It quickly becomes obvious that he has more planned than just a prison escape.
The FBI’s investigation leads Hardy back to Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea), Carroll’s former wife and the mother of the criminal’s young son, Joey.
Close during Hardy’s initial investigation, Hardy turns to Claire for insight into Carroll’s next move. The tension rises when Carroll’s accomplices kidnap his last intended victim, Sarah Fuller from 10 years ago.
Hardy becomes ever more determined to end Carroll’s game when he realises that the psychopath intends to finish what he started.
“The intense, spellbinding drama follows Hardy and the FBI as they are challenged with the ever-growing web of murder around them, orchestrated by the devious Carroll, who dreams of writing a novel with Hardy as his protagonist. But since anyone anywhere could be a follower, how do you know who to trust?,” says a spokesman for SABC3.
“Hardy will not only get a second chance to capture Carroll, but another shot at redemption, as he is faced with not one but an entire cult of serial killers.”
The series also features Valorie Curry, Nico Tortorella and Adan Canto.
Looking ahead… The Following’s second season centres on a new cult, led by Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her twin sons, Mark and Luke Gray (both played by Sam Underwood).