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Manhunt: New Apple TV+ Series Reveals Deeper Details of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

The True Story Behind Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

The True Story Behind Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

A New Television Series

A new series transforms the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln into a true crime thriller that goes deeper into the story than most textbooks.

“Manhunt,” debuting Friday on Apple TV+, dramatizes the hunt for Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth, and the trial that followed. Based on the book “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer” by James L. Swanson, the show uncovers shocking details often overlooked in history books.

The Fateful Night

Most people learn in school that Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play at Ford’s Theatre. However, what isn’t as widely remembered is that Booth carried out the attack just five days after the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered, effectively ending the Civil War. The assassination was a pre-planned, coordinated attack on the president, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and the Secretary of State.

Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, relied on a network of supporters to help him hide. Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, led the Army’s search to track down Lincoln’s killer. After 12 days, Booth was found and ultimately shot and killed.

An Object of Attention

Booth’s audacious act of assassinating Lincoln in front of a crowded theater served his desire for attention. The public spectacle shocked and captivated everyone at the time.

“The theater was absolutely jammed,” said Tobias Menzies, who plays Edwin Stanton in the television series. “And then to run out and disappear into the night and then take 12 days to find this man, you couldn’t make it up.”

A Deep Dive into History

While the television series sheds light on the events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination, it also delves into the personal journeys of key figures involved. Stanton’s story, in particular, showcases the political and personal loss he experiences as a result of Lincoln’s death.

Through the portrayal of Booth and Stanton, the series offers a glimpse into the psyche of these historical figures and their contrasting motivations. Booth, driven to gain fame and attention, would stop at nothing to fulfill his grand ambitions.

Uncovering the Truth

The creator and showrunner of “Manhunt,” Monica Beletsky, highlights the importance of telling this untold story and bringing it to a wider audience. Beletsky hopes the series underscores how Lincoln’s killing was a shocking and extraordinary event at that time.

“That kind of murder was so uncommon,” said Beletsky. “Lincoln famously left the White House door unlocked during the Civil War, even though he had piles of death threats. It wasn’t even imagined that kind of crime could happen in our culture.”

A Timeless Relevance

The resonance of the events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination still carries significance in our present time. The delicate nature of democracy and its vulnerability to political assassinations, even today, is a theme that “Manhunt” aims to explore.

“It feels like a good time to be telling this story. You know, there is a big election coming up in November,” said Menzies. “Our story is partly a story about the fragility of democracy to some extent. I think that’s as true now as it was then. It has a relevance and a resonance which feels kind of rich to be telling now.”

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