Swanson’s book, published in 2006 by Morrow/HarperCollins, tells the story of the Union cavalry troops who searched for John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators after the stage actor assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Booth was eventually shot and killed by a soldier; several others involved in the plot were later convicted and hanged.
In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “A meticulous account of crime and capture makes a distinguished and worthy addition to the legend Americans can’t seem to read enough about.” The book was also adapted as a young adult title, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, in 2009.
The book and miniseries focus on Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who led the manhunt; he is played by Tobias Menzies (The Crown) in the series. Anthony Boyle (Masters of the Air) stars as Booth, while Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) plays Lincoln. Monica Beletsky (Friday Night Lights) created the miniseries.
The trailer opens with Booth saying, “I was born with the chance to be somebody. I’m going to be the most famous man in the whole world.” Later, Booth shoots Lincoln in a theater, shouting, “Freedom for the South!”
In another scene, Stanton, asks, “How does a well-known actor commit murder in front of an audience of 1,500 people and escape?” as Laura Marling’s song “Devil’s Spoke” plays in the background.
Manhunt is scheduled to start streaming on Apple TV+ on March 15.
Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.