The finale of BBC One drama The Capture has received warm reviews from critics – but some viewers were disappointed.
The climax of the thriller, described as “the thinking man’s Bodyguard”, attracted 4.1 million viewers on Tuesday, overnight ratings said.
The series explored themes of mass surveillance and how CCTV footage could be doctored by intelligence agencies.
“If there were any justice, everyone would be talking about The Capture right now,” The Guardian’s review said.
The paper’s critic Sarah Hughes wrote: “Ben Chanan’s surveillance thriller isn’t just one of the most cleverly plotted dramas of recent years – it’s also one of the most satisfying.”
However, not everybody was happy with the way the drama concluded. “Too much doesn’t make sense. Too much has been left to our fragile imaginations,” said Refinery29’s Jazmin Kopotsha.
“Too much happened without enough reassuring reference to the fact that there might be Justice For Shaun. And even if there were one, I’m not sure our hearts could handle a second series to see that happen.”
Soldier Shaun Emery, played by Callum Turner, was accused of murdering a woman, with footage doctored through a so-called “correction” process that raises issues about the reliability of evidence.
The finale’s ratings will rise when catch-up viewing is added. Earlier episodes have reached total audiences of up to 5.3 million.
The Times critic James Jackson said the show deserved to attract ratings to match last autumn’s BBC hit Bodyguard, whose finale was seen by 14 million viewers.
“There is no justice when it comes to The Capture,” he said. “If there was, this thinking man’s Bodyguard would have been getting the mega ratings to match that other show. However, this series has always felt more like a pretext for a bigger conversation than mere wham-bam entertainment.
“The denouement certainly didn’t bother with any Bodyguard-style fireworks, which means it may have fallen flat for some. For my money the disturbing questions raised were more than a match for bomb vests and Swat teams.”
Michael Hogan described it as a “highly satisfying series finale” in his four-star review for The Telegraph.
“Was this a narratively neat finale? Certainly. We might have wanted her to blow off the lid in an ideal world but realistically, Carey was never likely to fully expose Correction.
“Instead this was a smart, streetwise resolution that harked back to classic paranoid conspiracy thrillers.”
It has not yet been announced whether The Capture will return for a second series, but the final scene of the last episode certainly left the door open.
The show took a “scarily plausible position” on the machinations of the surveillance state and “ran it up some deep and dark alleyways”, Jasper Rees of The Arts Desk wrote.
“When all the big bucks are heading west to the streaming channels, it’s nimble scripts alive with ideas and twists that the less wealthy broadcasters are going to rely on.”
On Twitter, some viewers voiced complaints about the final episode, but other said they would welcome a second series.