‘Hijack’ Ending Explained: Can Idris Elba Negotiate His Way Out?

The Big Picture

  • Apple TV+ series Hijack keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with a star-studded cast led by Idris Elba and a thrilling storyline.
  • Season 1 of Hijack follows Elba’s character, a master negotiator, as he tries to find a way out of a hostage situation on a hijacked flight.
  • The gripping finale of Hijack reveals the true motives behind the hijacking and ends with Elba’s character narrowly escaping his own death.

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for ‘Hijack’ Season 1.

With a star cast led by the intimidating Idris Elba in the role of a master negotiator, Apple TV+’s Hijack has managed to keep the tension high throughout the seven episodes of a stellar Season 1. Without revealing much, the thriller miniseries created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith keeps raising the stake with each episode, allowing Season 1 to end on an action-packed high note. Through the course of seven episodes, Hijack follows Idris Elba as he puts his business negotiating skills to use to find his way out of a hostage situation after onboarding Kingdom Airlines Flight KA29 alongside 215 other passengers. The ending of Hijack particularly answers some of the most compelling questions that arose during the course of the season.

Idris Elba Boards the Wrong Flight in ‘Hijack’

Image via Apple TV+

The passengers of Kingdom Airlines A330 Flight KA29 get the first whiff of trouble when a passenger, Naomi (Mei Henri), finds a bullet in the toilet. She ends up reporting it to the first man she comes across — a fellow passenger who introduces himself as Marcus (Jasper Britton). Unfortunately, Marcus, whose real name is Terry, goes straight to his accomplices to report that their cover is about to get blown, forcing the group to propone their plans. Sam Nelson (Idris Elba), another passenger, gets suspicious. But before Sam could find anything, five hijackers — Stuart (Neil Maskell), Jamie (Aimée Kelly), Lewis (Jack McMullen), Jaden (Mohamed Elsandel), and Terry — take control of the flight.

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The hijackers force Captain Robin Allen (Ben Miles), who’s having an affair with Flight Attendant Colette Fisher (Kate Phillips), to give the hijackers entry to the cockpit. When First Officer Anna Kovacs (Kaisa Hammarlund) tries to resist, she is given a bloody nose by Captain Robin. While the hijackers force Captain Robin to let the air traffic controller Abdullah (Mohamed Faisal Mostafa) know that the “safety incident” reported earlier was only a false alarm, Sam manages to let the news out to his former wife Marsha Smith (Christine Adams) through a message. A professional negotiator who’s often hired by corporations to handle tense situations, Sam initiates a conversation with the hijackers and offers to help.

When a couple of passengers try to break the balance and end up injuring one of the hijackers, the leader of the hijackers Stuart decides to follow Sam’s advice. On Sam’s insistence, Stuart removes Captain Robin from the cockpit in fear that he may lead the plane to any place he wants. It turns out to be a ploy by Sam to initiate a conversation with Robin, who lets him know that the Iraqi ATC will contact the Iraqi military when they do not hear from the plane.

When the Iraqi ATC gets suspicious about the captain’s absence from the cockpit, the hijackers force Robin to make it look like everything’s normal. Although Robin clears the air about the plan’s safety, he does deviate the plan from its normal course, leading to suspicions among the employees at the British ATC. Alice Sinclair (Eve Myles), one of the controllers at the British ATC, finds the false alarm suspicious and alerts Zahra about the developments regarding flight KA29. On the other hand, Detective Inspector Daniel O’Farrel (Max Beesley), Marsha’s boyfriend, tries to investigate more about Sam’s message. Daniel decides to reach out to his former girlfriend, Zahra Gahfoor (Archie Panjabi), who works in the counterterrorism department.

The passenger sitting next to Sam, Hugo (Harry Michell), comes into action when an army veteran suggests that the guns carried by the hijackers are fake. With the help of Hugo and one of the flight attendants, Arthur (Jeremy Ang Jones), Sam manages to confirm that the bullets in the guns of the hijackers may be blank shots. Sam puts forth a plan to take down one of the hijackers to confirm their findings. When a passenger creates a ruckus, Sam uses the distraction to crawl through the aisle and reach the back of the plane where Terry is keeping guard. He gets into a tussle with Terry briefly before a gunshot is heard, and a passenger is killed by Stuart. Sam’s plans go in vain once it’s proven that Stuart has real bullets in his gun.

Flight KA29 Faces a Romanian Threat

Ben Miles as Captain Robin Allen in Season 1, Episode 6 of 'Hijack.'
Image via Apple TV+

But in the chaos, Lewis is seriously injured. Meanwhile, on the ground, it’s confirmed that KA29 has been hijacked by five hijackers. Daniel joins the team constituted by Zahra who appraises the Foreign Secretary Louise Aitchison (Hattie Morahan) about the situation. As the flight gets into Romanian airspace, concerns grow around the intentions of the hijackers, and Romanian fighter jets surround the airplane.

The situation keeps getting heated as the Romanian fighter jets prepare to attack the civilian aircraft while the hijackers struggle to save their friend Lewis from dying. Thankfully, a crisis is averted when the British government confirms that all the hijackers are British nationals who are targeting Britain and not Romania, allowing the jets to retreat. Thanks to David Miller (Marcus Garvey), a doctor on board, Lewis is also given a longer lease of life.

Sam again comes up with an idea as he notices that Anna is from Hungary, the country they are flying over. Sam suggests to Stuart that Lewis will die in under an hour if he’s not given medical assistance. Sam wants Anna to connect with the ATC and communicate with them in Hungarian — a language the hijackers don’t understand. Stuart orders Anna to proceed with the landing to bring medical assistance to Lewis, against Jamie and Terry’s will. Against the idea of letting the plane land, Terry reveals to Sam and David that the family of the hijackers would be in danger if the plane charts off route as strict orders were given. Terry confirms to Sam that even his family will be in danger because the hijackers had sent his details to the ground when Sam was creating trouble on the flight earlier.

Who is Behind the Hijacking in ‘Hijack’?

Idris Elba as Sam Nelson in Hijack
Image via Apple TV+

New information comes into the picture when Home Minister Neil Walsh (Neil Stuke) gets an envelope containing demands from an organized crime group named The Cheapside Firm, who demand the release of their leaders, Edgar Janssen (Simon McBurney) and John Bailey (Ian Burfield). The group demands that Edgar and John be released before the flight reaches London.

Hearing that the families of their friends would be in danger, Lewis takes out the pen that was helping him breathe through his lungs, succumbing to his injuries. At the same time, Daniel reaches Lewis’s home after tracing him from the message that was sent through his phone by Sam. Lewis’s mother confirms that Lewis’ father was shot and Lewis was sent instead, confirming Terry’s revelation that the hijackers are being forced to hijack the flight against their will.

The demands of the hijackers are met when Edgar and John are released in a car. Before leaving the premises, Edgar warns against being followed and orders Stuart to kill one of the flight attendants when he finds Daniel following him. But Sam averts a tragedy by suggesting that they can provide proof to Edgar even without killing anybody else because they already had one dead person on board. The dead passenger’s photograph is shared with Edgar who sends it to Daniel, establishing the gravity of his threats.

By now, unaware his son Kai (Jude Cudjoe) is being hunted by armed men in his house, Sam also realizes that he needs to take down the hijackers if he were to prevent another death. In London, a financial journalist, Felix Staton (Rufus Jones), is contacted by a stranger who blackmails him into leaking the news about the hijack before the trading market opens. On the other hand, Edgar and John again threaten Daniel with consequences when they find a road blockade and Edgar orders another photograph with a dead body in it.

Why Was Flight KA29 Hijacked By the Cheapside Firm?

Image of Apple TV+ real-time thriller series Hijack featuring Christine Adams and Max Beesley.
Image via Apple TV+

Just as Stuart was about to execute another passenger, Sam flings into action and takes him down. But before much action could take place, one of the passengers, known to Sam as Amanda (Holly Aird), comes out of the toilet with a gun in her hand and rushes towards the cockpit. On the way, she shoots Captain Robin and shuts herself in the cockpit. Outside the cockpit, Sam convinces Stuart to give up his gun — the only loaded one on the plane. While the passengers growl over their victory, Sam lets them know about the bigger danger. Stuart denies knowing about Amanda and expresses that he’s unaware of her real purpose. Through Alice’s conversation with Sam, it’s confirmed that the plan is not in the hands of the pilots, and the plane may be heading toward a crash.

Back in London, the rising tension heats up the room as it becomes clear that the flight is heading towards London. It becomes clear that the hijacking was an attempt at drawing down the share price of Kingdom Airlines, which the organization behind the crime could then short-sell to make billions. A crash would leave the share prices tumbling. Finally, Louise advises the Prime Minister against shooting down the flight, and an evacuation is ordered. In the meantime, Daniel heads towards Sam’s house to rescue Kai.

What Happens to Flight KA29 in ‘Hijack’?

Image via Apple TV+

Another collaborator of the hijackers, Alec (Justin Salinger), who helped bring the guns inside the plane, rises up to point out that Amanda’s daughter is being held hostage. Amanda needs to crash the plane in order to save her daughter. As the anticipation keeps building, Sam establishes contact with Amanda in the cockpit to find out more about the purpose of the hijacking. It’s revealed that Amanda has been asked to only land after she receives a message about the share deal. If she doesn’t receive the message, she must crash the plane into Central London.

Unaware that Edgar has been shot by John who has cheated his partner, Amanda proceeds with the plan in order to save her daughter. Thankfully, Sam puts his excellent negotiation skills to use and convinces Amanda to land the plane, suggesting that the perpetrators will anyway kill her daughter whereas by landing the plane, she can help a lot of people.

After a lot of convincing, Amanda allows Sam to enter the cockpit. Unfortunately, the plane runs out of power just before landing, but Alice assists Sam and Amanda in carrying a safe although turbulent landing. After seven hours of struggle, Kingdom Airlines Flight KA29 finally lands on a thin airstrip in London. To the relief of Marsha and Kai, Sam steps out of the plane to breathe some fresh air. Over the phone, Zahra confirms the arrest of the four hijackers without knowing that the police have arrested the trader Alec rather than Stuart who has been left inside the plane.

Idris Elba Negotiates His Way Out of Death

Idris Elba on Hijack Key Art
Image via Apple TV+

Near the final moments of Hijack Season 1, Sam returns to the cabin to get some of his belongings, only to find himself shocked when the doors of the crashed flight get closed. Stuart appears from the shadow, looking for Sam ,who he blames for the death of Lewis. Unsure whether he will make it out alive, Sam shares a message with Marsha. Fortunately, he manages to hold off Stuart long enough for the police to rush in and take hold of Stuart.

After managing to get out of another negotiation (of a different kind) successfully, Sam Nelson walks out a free man, although he still maintains the shroud of mystery that he appeared with, at the beginning of Season 1. With a lot left to know about the protagonist, it won’t be a surprise if Sam Nelson finds himself in another hostage situation in a potential Season 2. After all, there’s no such thing as “too much Idris Elba”!

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