Secrets of Hunted

There's a bit of TV magic behind the scenes of 10's new reality hit, but it's all designed to simulate the real world.


Following Hunted‘s debut this week, a number of readers have, understandably, been curious about the staging and production methods.

TV Tonight recently spoke to Deputy Intelligence Ben Owen who reiterated that any simulation -a word he used repeatedly- was designed to replicate “real world” circumstances.

In the case of CCTV footage for instance, a camera crew travelling with Hunters will replicate real world cameras which is provided to a third party “referee” who decides if the Hunters can access it. There are stringent rules to when it is granted.

Maintaining a covert line, here is how Owen explained some of the show secrets…. with a little bit of TV magic.

How do Hunters get access to CCTV from public transport, banks, and private enterprise?

“I’m not sure I can give you the exact mechanics of how it works from the ground back into production. But what I can say is it’s simulating, replicating real life. Inasmuch as, if our fugitive gets on a train, we as Hunters have to confirm that there is CCTV on the train before we request it.  If we don’t request it, we don’t get it.

“As it explains on Episode One, there is a covert camera operator with the fugitives …. from that footage, we are able to access it, but only if we’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right time parameters and confirm there are cameras there. Only then will we get that information. So once again, it’s completely fair as to how they simulate it.

“Obviously we can’t get access to real live CCTV and stuff….. but I just want to stress again, we’re not given it free.”

Is Hunted HQ actually located in the tower at 568 Collins Street Melbourne or a TV studio?

“Good question. I’m not sure I’m allowed to answer you.”

TV Tonight understands HQ filming took place in North Melbourne.

Isn’t it easy to spot fugitives when there is a camera crew with them all the time, and do they feed you info?

“If you think of the size and the ground that we’ve got to cover, if we’re in the right place at the right time, and we happen to see their camera operator, I think we’ve done pretty well.

“The camera operators with the fugitives are incredible at their job and they’re named covert camera operators for a reason. So they’re not going to be running down the road with a whacking great big camera. They will be blending into the background and making sure they’re out of the way.

“As we were filming this one we had some camera operators say ‘I had to hide.’ So even if they see us, they’ll be hiding out of the way, making sure we don’t see them. And one thing we absolutely can’t do, for professionalism and for fairness, is that we would never use any production assets to the benefit of the hunt.”

How do you hack into phones of fugitives and how far back through their history are you looking?

“I’m not sure I’m allowed to say how far back we have access to, but certainly when the fugitives sign up for the show, again, we want to simulate it. So it’s completely accurate to what would happen in the real world.

“In the real world of course, law enforcement could be looking at your banking history. Who do you pay direct debits to? Who’s your phone provider? Is there another person you pay money to and could that be a close associate? So we go back months and months and months. In the real world obviously, we’d go back for years.

“In the banking history over the last two or three months, in the lead up to the run was there equipment bought?  It gives us an incredible amount of information to stitch that jigsaw puzzle together.”

And you’re not going to tell me how you get in someone’s phone?

“There’s ways and means of getting into someone’s phone. But of course, if we couldn’t legitimately get into a phone through a law enforcement or intelligence agency, then subpoenas and warrants (would be) submitted to the phone provider, and you’d get access. So one way or another, we can get access, whether that’s quickly and we can do it ourselves, or whether it’s a bit longer, again it’s simulated accurately.”

Hunted airs 7:30pm Sunday – Tuesday on 10.

9 Responses

  1. I’d want to know about the unzipping tents scene at the end of ep1, that was uncomfortable viewing. Surely its an illegal invasion of privacy for a reality show to unzip everyday peoples’ tents and film inside to air on tv. I hope that was staged.

  2. This show appears to be a complete fabrication. They are chasing two people in Beechworth, northeast Victoria, and are very close to catching them, then told to drive to Geelong (4 hours away). They apparently arrive in Geelong and are then told to go back to Beechworth, all in one day and in daylight.
    If I was being hunted, then I would lose the camera man, way too obvious.

    1. Hahahahah – “Lose the cameraman” Lose the show. Apparently during some early rehearsals they did lose the cameras.

      What could enhance this show / make it a lot more believable – would be to give the Hunters motivation. Why not flip the script – If – The Hunters weren’t just employed talent, but hired on a bounty hunter wage – For every individual / group caught, then they win $10K or $20K, having different groups of hunters following HQ help and trying to win money from the hunted that are trying to hold out and win $100K themselves.

      Having the show use paid actors that have no real credible reason to catch all couples from day 1 (EP: “Hey guys we have caught too many, let’s pad this out for a little but and have some near misses”) creates a boring illusion.

      Just adding a thought and will start up my rival show on Youtube for people to win $100. (My whole budget) hehehehe

  3. That does clear up the doubts and confusion about the CCTV. So it’s replicated. There was a disclosure in the credits mentioning that the CCTV was simulated which led me to believe it was staged.

Leave a Reply