It's hard to think of a more shadowy world than the private intelligence industry, which serves as the backdrop to Cinemax's exhilarating espionage thriller Hunted, a BBC co-production from X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz that begins an eight-episode first season at 10 p.m. Friday.
It's a realm where spies and special-forces operatives are deployed to gather intelligence about corporations, individuals, or foreign governments - and sell it for a profit. Disturbing ethical questions abound: Should spy companies work for anyone with the money, no matter how questionable their ends?
That's just one of the fascinating issues that come up - among the gunplay, knifeplay, explosive Krav Maga dances, and love-making - in Hunted. The remarkably capable, assured, and sexy Melissa George stars as Sam Hunter, a top operative at one of England's most powerful spy shops. Housed in a neo-byzantine glass, concrete, and steel maze in London, the company has one of the most melodramatic names on TV - Byzantium.