'Hunted' finale recap: Two teams evade capture and win -- Lee Wilson and Hilmar Skagfield, English King and Stephen King
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/02/2017
Hunted fugitives Lee Wilson and Hilmar Skagfield as well as English King and Stephen King won the game by evading capture for 28 days, so each team claimed the $250,000 grand prize during Wednesday night's finale.
In order to win Hunted, a team had to log into a secure website to retrieve their escape details on Day 28, withdraw the $250,000 from their assigned bank, and then travel on foot to a waiting plane on which they could escape the hunting zone, which includes Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
"Not only do I walk away with the satisfaction of winning the best game that I ever played, outrunning the hunters, but on top of that, I take part of $250,000 home to my family," Lee said following his team's victory.
English was also incredibly proud of her team and said she never would've been able to accomplish this feat without her husband.
"Man I'm happy," added Stephen while flying in their getaway plane. "I'm so happy. It's almost impossible to describe how incredibly good I feel right now."
Another team in the finale, Aarif Mirza and Immad Ahmed, put a lot of effort into their journey on the show, including kayaking in the heat -- and while they were fasting for Ramadan -- for hours upon end, working on a farm to earn their keep, and shaving their heads and beards to disguise themselves. However, the experts captured the friends a couple of days before the finish line.
"We were shown so much love and hospitality that it blew my mind," Immad said after being captured. "People that we met, they respected our religion and how we practiced it, but we underestimated the hunters and that's what got us."
Hunted began with 18 ordinary United States citizens going on the run across 100,000 square miles of the southeastern United States as fugitives. The teams of two people were challenged to disappear in one of the most technologically-advanced nations in the world, and if a team could avoid capture or 28 days, they'd win the money.
The 32 hunters used real-life techniques to find the fugitives, who were given a one-hour head start to get away and only have $500 in their bank accounts. The teams on the run were allowed to ask anyone for help, including strangers, and could travel anywhere within the four-state hunting zone.
Wednesday night's broadcast began with only three teams remaining. Up to this point, Hilmar and his best friend Lee, an escape room owner, tested their skills and tricks, and they got away multiple times by creating diversions to lead the experts off track. Childhood friends Aarif and Immad were relying on distant associates to cover their tracks, and English and her husband Stephen's family was being watched.
The investigators decided to post "Wanted" ads for Stephen and English online and in newspapers. English's friend Meredith spilled the beans on their location at one point for a $500 bribe, but luckily the married couple had already moved on and pitched a tent in a stranger's backyard.
Meanwhile, Aarif and Immad's getaway car was found thanks to a source at a temple where they had participated in a Ramadan service. Thanks to the source, the experts discovered a man named Sam, who drove the guys to their next destination, and logged his phone calls.
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The experts were then able to trace Sam's phone to a deserted farm, where Aarif and Immad had plans to hide out. The investigators surrounded the area and eventually captured Aarif and Immad, who were hiding among big piles of hay.
A friend of Lee and Hilmar's also gave away too much information to the investigators. The man informed the experts that the team had pumped gas at a certain station. The experts were then able to look at camera footage from that station, determine Lee and Hilmar's vehicle and its license plate, and then track the car's whereabouts.
It was a race to the finish once both teams logged into a website to retrieve their escape details on Day 28. The experts snagged both teams' login addresses and immediately headed off in those directions.
Knowing her sister Amber's phone was being watched, English decided to use her as a decoy. A group of kind strangers allowed Stephen and English to drive one of their cars to their escape location 120 miles away, while those same people agreed to drive Stephen and English's getaway car to meet Amber, where everyone expected the experts to be waiting after intercepting the call.
After withdrawing cash and a long run on foot, English and Stephen were able to hop on a sea plane, while Lee and Hilmar jumped on a plane at a nearby airport. Both teams escaped just in time, as the investigators were right on their heels.
"I have to congratulate the fugitives. They did what they had to do to evade capture and that's just the way the game goes," commander Robert Clark said after congratulating his highly-skilled, intelligent and overall successful team.
"Kudos to the fugitive teams, but there's always next time and we will be ready and waiting," said Georgia swat commander Ry-Phi.