Review | Manhunt: Unabomber

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 25, 2018 (Last updated: January 5, 2024)
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Manhunt: Unabomber

Manhunt: Unabomber is a gripping tale based on true events. It’s about the chase to catch one of the deadliest serial terrorists in America. It follows the FBI and a newly qualified profiler, Jim Fitzgerald, who use a new method known as forensic linguistics to catch The Unabomber.

Is it an accurate portrayal of what happened?

In some ways more than others. This story is over-dramatized, primarily surrounding the FBI side of the series, in order to keep the viewer’s mind and eye. Greg Stejskal, who was part of the task force who caught the Unabomber, said that the series made it look like it took one singular underdog to capture this notorious terrorist.

Although the portrayal of Jim Fitzgerald was inaccurate, the way Theodore John Kaczynski (the Unabomber) is characterized is quite accurate. Firstly he is a mathematical prodigy and did enter Harvard at the age of sixteen. He was a part of unethical experiments whilst he was at Harvard, which could have possibly affected his behaviour leading to the bombings. He did calculatingly kill 5 people and injure 23. Although these numbers could have been a lot higher if the bomb he planted on the airline had not been faulty.

So is Manhunt: Unabomber worth a watch?

Most definitely! This season really pushes your emotions and grasps your attention from the very beginning right through until the end. What is spectacular is a strange emotion occurs, if only for a fleeting moment. You sympathize with the Unabomber, at least until you realize that’s one of the many emotions he lacks. Whether it was born in him or bred through his circumstances in life, the Unabomber is a cold and callous murderer.

Underlying the obvious shock in these episodes are the profound similarities between the Unabomber and Jim. Essentially the villain and the hero. The whole season reflects the growing power of technology and the struggle to keep such a gift from being a horrible curse. If anything clarifies this, it is the last scene. This may not be anything spectacular, but I will leave you to judge that for yourselves. Another emotional aspect of these episodes is the deterioration of Jim’s relationships. The case takes a hold of his life. It seems that one by one all of Jim’s connections seem to deteriorate the closer and closer he gets to catching his villain.


What differentiates this series from others like it?

I watched this because it was recommended to me after I had finished watching Mindhunter. I thought Mindhunter was incredible, and then I saw this. Although the shows probably match in quality of performance and plot, there is something about the sequence of events in The Unabomber which really sets the tone for the rest of the season. You go back and forth until eventually, you’re caught up to present day. Although it sounds tiresome, and I’m not usually a fan of watching a show that jumps from start to finish sporadically, this is what makes it such an interesting watch.

So what’s bad about it then?

I can honestly say not a lot. This for me has perhaps overtaken everything I’ve watched that I thought I loved. I reviewed To The Bone, which I thought would be in my top spot for movies or TV shows I have reviewed, but this has excelled spectacularly. The one downside to this is the over-dramatization of the character Jim. In order for the story to be so captivating, I can see why it was done.


If you’re in the mood to watch a highly intense chase, using determination and thought, this is definitely for you. The Unabomber had an IQ of 168, which is incredibly high (he did go to Harvard at 16). I think the show reflects the cleverness of the Unabomber. You will be shocked, you will be surprised, but you will not be disappointed.

TV, TV Reviews
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