Hijack Season 1 Review – Idris Elba takes center stage in this entertaining thrill ride

By Adam Lock
Published: June 27, 2023 (Last updated: August 17, 2023)
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2023 Apple TV+ series Hijack Review


Hijack builds a suspenseful thriller around a straightforward hostage narrative, making the most of its real-time gimmick and a constricted setting, while Idris Elba and Neil Maskell make for engaging rivals in this tense battle at 30,000 feet.

Here is our review of the 2023 Apple TV+ series Hijack, which season 1 does not contain spoilers.

Flying commercially has become a necessary evil of modern travel. What was once seen as a luxury, an adventure, is now, at best, an anxiety-inducing inconvenience. There’s nothing fun about flying, and the horror stories you hear about mechanical malfunctions and terrorist attacks don’t help either.

Apple’s original Hijack focuses on these standard misgivings, weaving a tense drama around the premise of a hijacked plane, effectively using our greatest fears of modern terrorism against us in the process.

Hijack Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The series stars Idris Elba as Sam Nelson, one of the unfortunate passengers caught up in this terrorist plot, which occurs onboard a seven-hour flight from Dubai to Heathrow. He watches first-hand as a group of five terrorists seizes control of the plane. They wield guns and bark orders, quickly confiscating all of the passengers’ phones and electronic devices.

Sam manages to send a text message just before the Wi-Fi cuts out, though. He tells his wife Marsha (Christine Adams) that there has been an incident on his flight. The Captain (Ben Miles) sends a cryptic message of his own, secretly veering the plane off course.

It isn’t long before those on the ground realize what has happened to Flight KA29.

The ground team includes air traffic controllers, led by the down-to-earth and determined Alice (Eve Myles). There’s Zahra (Archie Panjabi) from counter-terrorism and DI Daniel Farrell (Max Beesley) as well, working alongside the British Government.

They investigate the flight’s manifest, looking for the identities of the possible terrorists, while the Foreign Secretary negotiates with European allies.

As tensions rise on the plane, Sam tries to negotiate and reason with these terrorists, using his own specific set of skills in this field to his advantage. Sam tries to win over the terrorists’ trust while plotting a counterattack with the other passengers. Yet these terrorists are trained and skilled criminals themselves.

Is Hijack Season 1 good or bad?

Hijack is an expertly produced thriller that continually ratchets up the tension with each new installment, constantly adding further suspense with the many escalating problems. Working in real-time, the series explores the minute-by-minute madness of this hijacking while cutting back and forth with the ground team’s efforts to defuse the problem in London.

Idris Elba leads a stunning British cast, delivering a charismatic and commanding performance. His calming presence and warming compassion for others contrast perfectly with the terrorist’s unhinged and violent leader, Stuart, played by the highly underrated Neil Maskell (Utopia).

Is Hijack Season 1 worth watching?

Hijack is a good old-fashioned slice of popcorn entertainment. There’s lots of fun to be had from this action-packed premise as the creators exploit every last drop of tension from the setup. Idris Elba makes for a dazzling lead, bringing some gravitas and humanity to the drama.

It’s hard not to be swept away by the good versus evil plotting and the nail-biting suspense on display.

What did you think of the Apple TV+ series Hijack Season 1? Comment below.

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