Manhunt ending explained

Manhunt ending explained

Manhunt is a new Apple TV+ series that concluded today, so here’s everything you need to know about the show’s ending.

Apple TV+ has just enjoyed critical success with WWII epic Masters of the Air, and for its latest historical drama, the streamer is telling the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Shifting back-and-forth in time, Manhunt depicts the events leading up to the President’s murder, as well as the nationwide hunt for his killer John Wilkes Booth, and the trial that followed.

The series ended today via Manhunt’s seventh and final episode — titled ‘The Final Act.’ So, here’s how the story played out, meaning beware of SPOILERS AHEAD

Manhunt ending explained

John Wilkes Booth was captured and killed at the end of Episode 5 – ‘A Man of Destiny’ – so Manhunt’s final episodes were concerned with bringing his collaborators to justice. War Secretary Edwin Stanton does that via a show trial, though ultimately some conspirators go free.

The action plays out in a War Department Military Court, with Dr. Samuel Mudd, Lewis Powell, Edward Spangler, George Atzerodt, Mary Surrat, and David Herold all on trial. And the absent John Surratt Jr, George N. Sanders, and Jefferson Davis also accused.

Witnesses for the prosecution tell their tales on the stand, involving overheard conversations, confederate codes, and the “Hail Mary plan to win if they lost on the battlefield.”

Mudd’s former slaves Mary Simms and Milo Simms offer key testimony, concerning both his racism and friendship with many of the conspirators.

The judge then reaches a verdict, with those directly involved – Surrat, Powell, Surratt, and Herold – found guilty and hanged. Spangler gets six years in prison, and Mudd life imprisonment with hard labour. But while Jefferson Davis is believed to be as guilty as Booth, technicalities and tainted evidence result in charges of grand conspiracy against him remaining inconclusive.

What happens next in Manhunt ending

There’s then much trying up of loose ends. President Andrew Johnson removes Stanton from office, but he doesn’t go down without a fight. Instead, the War Secretary barricades himself in said office and continues to work, during which time Johnson is impeached and very nearly removed from office himself.


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The show then cuts to four years later, when Stanton’s health has taken a turn for the worse. He’s made a Justice of the Supreme Court, but dies before he can serve from asthma related to organ failure.

Then just two months after Stanton’s passing, the last of Lincoln’s three Reconstruction Amendments is ratified, abolishing slavery, granting citizenship and equal protection to Black Americans, and finally granting all US citizens – regardless of former enslavement or race – the right to vote. Meaning Stanton and Lincoln’s work to fully emancipate was finally complete.

All seven episodes of Manhunt are currently available on Apple TV+, while you can find more shows launching on streamers this month here.

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