Manhunt: Everything We Know So Far

After Tobias Menzies terrified viewers with his role as "Black Jack" Randall in "Outlander," and then did a 180 and charmed them with his Emmy-winning performance as Prince Philip in Netflix's big-budgeted drama "The Crown," the actor is being sent on a manhunt across the pond.

Based on James Swanson's 2007 book "Manhunt: The 12-Day Search For Lincoln's Killer," "Manhunt" is a new Apple TV+ limited series will star Tobias Menzies as Edwin Stanton, the friend and war secretary of American President Abraham Lincoln. Described as "part historical fiction and part conspiracy thriller," "Manhunt" will center on the aftermath of the first American presidential assassination and dive deep into the events that took place in the following 12 days. The series will be writer-producer Monica Beletsky's ("Friday Night Lights," "Fargo") first project under her recently renewed deal with Apple TV+, and is being produced by Apple Studios and co-produced by Lionsgate, in association with the Lionsgate-owned 3 Arts Entertainment and POV Entertainment along with Walden Media.

What is Manhunt about?

The true-crime adaptation is inspired by James Swanson's bestselling book and other information surrounding Lincoln's assassination. Stanton's search for the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, out of loyalty for his friend and respect for his legacy, will be the show's central focus, with the investigation being depicted as a fight to keep Lincoln's ideals intact. 

The subsequent chase was one of the largest in history, with 10,000 federal troops and detectives assigned to search for the perpetrator. "Manhunt" will also explore the war secretary's desperation to uphold Lincoln's legacy and his Reconstruction plan.

The synopsis for Swanson's book reads:

"The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness. James L. Swanson's Manhunt is a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you've never read it before."

The cast of manhunt

Deadline initially reported that "The Crown" star Tobias Menzies will play Edwin Stanton. He served as the former United States War Secretary to President Lincoln and was "nearly driven to madness" by the need to catch John Wilkes Booth — Lincoln's assassin and a stage actor. The real-life assassin is known to have publicly denounced the President and lamented over the abolition of slavery, and identified as a Confederate sympathizer.

The publication also divulged that the limited series would feature several prominent Black historical figures involved with the search and the escape of Lincoln's assassin. This includes Mary Simms, who was formerly enslaved by Samuel Mudd, the doctor who treated Booth's injury and gave him safe harbor while he was on the run. Menzies is the only announced cast member, and we're yet to learn about the actors who will play Booth and Simms.

When will Manhunt arrive?

"Manhunt" doesn't have a release date yet — the limited series seems to be in the early stages of production. If the remaining cast line-up is revealed this year, we can hope to see the true-crime show arrive on Apple TV+ sometime in 2023. 

Monica Beletsky serves as showrunner and executive producer of "Manhunt," and she will be joined by Carl Franklin — the Emmy-winning director who previously directed episodes of "Mindhunter" and helmed two prominent crime movies of the 1990s, "One False Move" and "Devil in a Blue Dress."