In Plain Sight is a three-part mini-series based on the true story of Lanarkshire detective William Muncie’s quest to bring to justice notorious Scottish killer Peter Manuel.
Produced by critically acclaimed, award winning producers World Productions (Line of Duty, Code of a Killer) and Finlaggan Films. After extensively researching the story, this is Nick Stevens’ TV writing debut. The mini-series is directed by John Strickland, who helmed the recent Line of Duty finale.
Muncie first arrested Manuel in 1946 for housebreaking, but also successfully convicted him for a string of sexual assaults. Manuel vowed revenge.
Released from prison in 1955, Manuel embarked on a two-year killing spree, claiming eight lives in the close-knit communities of South Lanarkshire.
Manuel evaded capture for so long because he was unlike anything the local police had ever encountered: A murderer without any discernible motive whose victims were chosen at random. Muncie was the one man who had Manuel’s measure and doggedly refused to give up until Manuel was brought to justice.
Between 1956 and 1958, Peter Manuel traumatised South Lanarkshire. In two years, he killed 8 people (almost a third of all the people murdered in Scotland during this gentler time) and all within an area that was a mere 26-mile round trip by car.
Manuel eluded capture for so long because he was unlike anything local police had ever encountered before: a murderer without any discernible motive whose victims were chosen at random – men, women and children. With the crucial exception of one determined, forward-looking officer, Lanarkshire CID failed to see the monster in their midst because they did not know such monsters existed. The term ‘serial killer’ had yet to be coined.
Long before anyone else, Detective William Muncie saw Peter Manuel for what he was: a psychopath. Almost a decade before Manuel committed his first murder, Muncie had arrested him for a slew of housebreakings, seeing to it that Manuel did time in prison. Manuel never forgave him for this. Released six years later, Manuel emerged from prison ready for murder, and, in a twisted form of revenge, he made Detective Muncie his Number One target audience, leaving a trail of tantalising clues and taunting Muncie with birthday and Christmas cards.
Manuel was addicted to the limelight. A high-visibility killer – literally In Plain Sight – who thrived on the panic and press generated by his crimes. On three occasions he opted to conduct his own defence in court. The culmination of all this pathological attention-seeking was his prolonged, sadistic victimisation of William Watt.
UK / ITV – World Productions – Finlaggan Films / 3×50 minute episodes / Broadcast Wednesday 7 December – Wednesday 24 December 2016
Writer: Nick Stevens / Costumes: Alison McCosh / Producer: Gillian McNeill / Executive Producers: Simon Heath, Kirstie Macdonald / Consultant: Allan Nicol
Douglas Henshall as William Muncie
Martin Compston as Peter Manuel
Joanne Thompson as Iris Laird
Jack Greenlees as McLeod
Gilly Gilchrist as Samuel Manuel
Gary Lewis as William Watt
Denis Lawson as Lawrence Dowdall
Bobby Rainsbury as Theresa Manuel
Shauna MacDonald as Agnes Muncie
James Harkness as Joe Brannan