The Newseum and Discovery Communications are partnering on Discovery’s upcoming scripted anthology series, “Manhunt: UNABOMBER,” which premieres with a special two-hour episode on Discovery Channel on Tuesday, August 1, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The show tells the dramatic and gripping true story of the FBI’s hunt for the Unabomber, the deadliest serial bomber in history.
The cabin that was hand-built by Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and served as his home in the Montana wilderness for 20
years before his arrest, resides in the “Inside Today’s FBI” exhibit within the ABC News Changing Exhibits Gallery at the Newseum.
The premise of the new anthology series focuses on FBI agent and criminal profiler Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald (played by Sam Worthington of “Avatar” and “Hacksaw Ridge”), who pioneered the use of forensic linguistics to identify and ultimately capture the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski (Paul Bettany, “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers” series and “A Beautiful Mind”). As a fresh-faced criminal profiler and the newest member of the Unabomber Task Force (UTF), Fitz faced an uphill battle not just against the Unabomber, but also against the bureaucracy of the UTF itself, as his maverick ideas and new approaches were dismissed by the system.
For 17 years, Kaczynski sent homemade bombs targeting universities, airlines and computer stores, killing three people and injuring 23 others. The FBI branded him “Unabomber” — shorthand for his early targets: universities and airlines. The Unabomber eluded the FBI for 17 years, despite an investigation spanning eight states and involving 500 agents.
The turning point came in 1995 when the suspect mailed a 35,000-word anti-technology treatise to The New York Times and The Washington Post, vowing he would “desist from terrorism” if it was published. The FBI urged newspapers to comply, hoping that someone would recognize the author from his writing. After much debate, the Post printed it and the Times shared the costs.
After the bomber’s brother, David Kacyznski, read the manifesto, his tip to the FBI made Ted Kaczynski the prime suspect, leading FBI agents to a cabin in the Montana wilderness. Kaczynski was arrested there on April 3, 1996, finally bringing an end to the Unabomber’s reign of terror. He is serving eight life sentences in federal prison without the possibility of parole.
“Manhunt: UNABOMBER” is produced by John Goldwyn, serving as consultant to Discovery, Lionsgate, Discovery Channel and Trigger Street Productions. Emmy® Award-winning television producer and director Greg Yaitanes (“Quarry,” “Banshee”) will executive produce, direct and serve as show runner. Andrew Sodroski, whose film “Holland, Michigan” topped Hollywood’s famed Black List for screenplays in 2013, created the series and serves as executive producer. Jim Fitzgerald will serve as consulting producer.