‘Manhunt’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Booth Make It To Virginia?


With all its inaccuracies, Manhunt takes itself quite seriously. It attempts to stay true to history, and while that is credible, the fact that it is extremely boring is not. The narrative feels unnecessarily twisted with the disjointed timeline, though it is getting slightly better with each episode. The mini-series is effective in parts, especially how it introduces Stanton’s perspective on Lincoln’s assassination. Halfway into Manhunt, it is safe to say that it is just an average watch. In episode 4, ‘The Secret Line’, George Sanders takes center stage, and his link to Booth and the Confederacy becomes the most crucial aspect of the assassination investigation. Meanwhile, Booth’s dream of making it back to Richmond, Virginia, remains undeterred. The wait to be recognized and celebrated as a hero continues for Booth.

Spoiler Alert

How were the elite Wall Street traders involved in the conspiracy?

George Sanders was involved in the 1864 Manhattan Fire Plot. The vision was to instigate New Yorkers to secede from the Union, but it was a failed attempt at that. Sanders’ involvement was not news, but to prove his connection with the Confederate secret service was the challenge. He was extremely influential and, therefore, untouchable. Stanton consulted with a judge to find a way to get to Sanders and he suggested that he follow the money and find a way to stop the stream. A warrant against Sanders was almost impossible to get, and the next best option was to cause harm to those who financed Sanders’ political motive.

The next thing we know, Stanton sent Detective Baker and his team to raid and arrest traders at the Gold Room on Wall Street. Baker threatened to freeze the assets of those who dared to side with Sanders or had helped him finance his political goals. He soon found out that Sanders attended many of Booth’s oil investment meetings; this was not the first time Baker had heard of it, but no one was ready to confirm that the oil investment was the code for the assassination. Stanton realized that the information collected from the raid was not enough to put Sanders behind bars. 

On the other hand, Sanders sent his men to ransack the Department of War that very night to establish that he must not be messed with. Stanton’s former father-in-law was also a trader, and after pressing him, Stanton found out more about the understanding between President Johnson and Sanders. According to his father-in-law, Sanders was given the summer uniform contract by the president. This strategic move helped keep the value of cotton and gold high. Johnson intended to keep the traders happy to ensure the conflict no longer impacted the state’s economy.

What was the link between the uniform contract and Sanders?

Stanton sought Sanford Conover’s help to get to George Sanders. The businessman was proud of the deal he managed to strike with Johnson, but Stanton continued to pose a threat. Conover, aka James Wallace, conveyed Stanton’s message to Sanders. The deal could be in jeopardy if Stanton chose not to approve it since the Secretary of the Department of War was the one who made decisions regarding uniforms, and Johnson had overstepped with the deal. Sanders needed Stanton’s approval to get the contract, and Wallace was ready to play the broker. Sanders agreed to meet Stanton at his office.

As soon as the connection between the uniforms and Sanders was established, Eddie Stanton learned that the security team from Lincoln’s funeral were admitted to the hospital, and they were all suffering from chickenpox. The doctor suspected that the new uniforms could be the reason behind the contraction of the disease. Eddie was confident that no new uniforms were sanctioned, but the situation suggested the confederacy might be behind it. This was not the first time that they had tried to spread disease using clothes. Eddie’s suspicion gained ground when the doctor stated Sanders Clothiers supplied the uniforms. The closer Stanton was to the truth, the more afraid the confederacy grew. Stanton was attacked in an alley, but he came out of it unharmed.

How did Stanton trap Sanders?

Edwin Stanton and Sanders finally met to discuss the summer uniform contract. Stanton was ready to negotiate if Sanders agreed to give away John Wilkes Booth’s whereabouts. Sanders continued to deny knowing Booth’s location. As tempting as the offer was, Sanders hoped to convince Stanton that he was not in the loop about Booth. Stanton wanted to get the map of the Confederate Secret Service in exchange for the deal, but Sanders refused to budge. He was dedicated to the cause, and with Lincoln gone, he was convinced that there was no stopping men like him from flourishing. 

Sanders swiftly pulled out his gun and pointed it at Stanton, exclaiming that he would be held a hero for killing the man who plotted Davis’ assassination. Sanders did not realize he was messing with the wrong man. While he had only intended to threaten, Stanton had the work planned. With a blood-soaked handkerchief in one hand and a pistol in the other, Stanton pulled the trigger and fired at the glass window. His plan had always been to catch Sanders with a gun pointed at him. He wanted to enrage the businessman, and he had succeeded in doing so. Detective Baker and his team barged into the room as soon as the bullet hit the window. Sanders was apprehended, but he was confident that it would only take him minutes to get out of prison.

Did Stanton find the Confederate Secret Service map?

After the arrest of George Sanders, Eddie met his father to report about the chicken pox infection contracted through uniforms. Stanton, all of a sudden, demanded the distributor list. He had a hunch that the list contained the location of the members of the Confederate Secret Service. Before the crates from Sanders Clothiers were burned to the ground to stop the spread of disease, Eddie found the shipping list. Stanton finally cracked the case with access to the secret line used by the CSS agents. Detective Baker also got his hands on solid evidence that proved Sanders was a member of the Confederacy. The ending of Manhunt episode 4 suggests that even with the stacking evidence against him, it was impossible to keep George Sanders behind bars. He ended up walking out of prison after paying the bail bond. Even though Stanton remained unsuccessful in containing Sanders, he had found all the information he hoped to come across.

Did Booth make it to Virginia?

As time passed, waiting for help, John Wilkes Booth started to lose hope. He had his autobiography ready, but the uncertainty was making him doubt the welcome he had envisioned. In Manhunt episode 4, we also learned how his family had impacted him. Booth’s brother, Edwin, was popular for playing the hero, and the crowd loved him. John craved to become as famous as his brother and father, but he failed to create the impression he desired on stage. John was determined to become more talked about than any of his family members, and in the assassination plan, he found hope. Edwin was ashamed of his brother, and he remembered how he had mourned the loss of Richmond when the Union triumphed. They always disagreed on politics, but he never assumed that John would end up pulling the trigger on the president. 

John was glad to have a witness to his struggle, and David did not seem to complain. Booth was a lonely man who hoped to find love, admiration, and accolades after doing what many politicians had already been instigating. He believed he had done what many wanted but did not dare to do. In his mind, he was the hero that the nation desperately needed, but the lack of celebration left him with a hollow feeling. Reaching Richmond was therefore of utmost importance for him because only at the heart of the Confederacy would he feel at home and loved.

Manhunt episode 4 ends with Booth and David finally being signaled to make the move to Virginia. Overcoming the wind and the rain, Booth and David got on their boat and rowed to Virginia. Booth was oblivious to the fact that Stanton had gotten access to the Confederate Secret Service map, and wherever he would end up taking shelter, Stanton would eventually find him. The episode ends with both Booth and Stanton heading to Virginia, suggesting that the confrontation is not far behind.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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