The 'Hunted' Experts Are Some Of The Best In The Intelligence & Investigation Biz
Get ready for a front-row seat to the most intense game ever. The new CBS series Hunted premieres on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10 p.m. ET after coverage of the AFC Championship game, and the title of this new show should give you an idea of what you're in for. Hunted brings you a real-life manhunt as hunters in the field and investigators at the Command Center team up to try and find nine teams of two. So who are the Hunted experts up to the challenge of taking on this seemingly impossible task?
Well, they've got to be pretty skilled in the ways of intelligence and investigation, if you ask me, because these fugitives, as the show is referring to the contestants making a run for it, are going to do their best to go off the grid while the experts search for them within 100,000 square miles of the Southeastern United States. If they avoid getting caught for 28 days, there's big money in it for the teams. Each pair that evades capture will win a grand prize of $250,000.
But getting those coins is going to be easier said than done for the fugitives, thanks to the cast of experts that Hunted has assembled to hunt them down. Get to know these masters in the ways of intelligence below, and you'll soon realize that Hunted is definitely not a game for them.
Robert W. Clark
Robert W. Clark is the head honcho of Hunted. He serves as the commander in the new series, which means he's overseeing everything that's happening on the expert side during the hunt.
And Clark is qualified for that position. He retired from the FBI in May 2016 after a 21-and-a-half career, according to his show bio, which included overseeing criminal programs, including the Gang and Violent Crime Units. Before that, Clark was a police officer in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. He's gone undercover to investigate drug trafficking and gang-related crimes and has been awarded a city proclamation from the mayor's office, as well as the key to the city.
But Clark's upbringing was on the wrong side of the law at times. His father was murdered after he lost "a drug disagreement," and his mother's side of the family had connections to organized crime as well, he Clark shared during an interview with YSU Magazine. It sounds like it's going to be difficult for the fugitives to pull one over on Clark with his knowledge of both sides of the law.
Cole will be working in cyber intelligence on Hunted, which is a role that makes perfect sense for him since he's worked as a cyber threat intelligence analyst for several military and law enforcement agencies, his show bio says. Before that, he worked in counterterrorism, according to this video introducing Hunted's Command Center investigators. Cole has also written several novels, which look as action-packed as Hunted is sure to be.
With a hat and bowtie like those in the above cast photo, I'm just going to call it: I think Charles DeBarber is going to be the fan favorite of Hunted, as least among the Command Center experts. His cast bio also says that his nickname is "Sly Fox," so yeah, I think I picked a winner here.
But his sartorial choices aside, DeBarber actually got his start in uniform, in the U.S. Army as a Senior Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) analyst. These days, DeBarber knows what's up when it comes to intelligence since he currently works in intelligence and cyber security. More specifically, it looks like he works for a firm called Fortalice, according to his LinkedIn page. DeBarber also describes himself as a "novice beekeeper" and is A Song of Fire and Ice fanboy, his Twitter bio says. Come on, what's not to love about this guy?
Lenny DePaul will serve as the head of operations on Hunted, which means he's at the helm of the teams searching for the fugitives in the field. This is a role that DePaul is quite familiar with since he used to be the commander of the U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, according to his show bio. In that position, he oversaw criminal investigators from federal, state, and local agencies.
But here's another fun fact about DePaul: He was tasked with escorting John Gotti from prison to the federal courthouse in Brooklyn during his trial in 1992, he shared with The New York Post. You may have also seen him on TV before on shows like Hunting Hitler and Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force.
Steve Masterson is one of the intelligence analysts on Hunted. He started off his career as a naval intelligence officer and has worked within Naval Special Warfare and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, his show bio says.
Connie Min is another one of Hunted's intelligence analysts. Before landing this gig, Min worked at the federal, state, and local levels of law enforcement, covering drug trafficking and working with undercover teams, her show bio says. She's also a former CIA analyst who worked to protect U.S. citizens all over the world. Min is also an attorney, according to her Twitter bio. As if she couldn't get any cooler...
If you're familiar with the original British version of Hunted, on which the American version is based, you may recognize Ben Owen. He appeared as a deputy commander of operations in the U.K. version of the series, his show bio says.
So I expect a lot from Owen in the new U.S. version of the series, in which he'll serve as an intelligence specialist — and that's not only because he has experience with the game. It's also because he's a former British intelligence officer who worked in counterterrorism and and led covert intelligence operations. He's also an expert in surveillance who co-founded his own covert operations consultancy firm, Vantage Point International. And when you see this photo of him in a tux on his Twitter page, you might just think he's a real-life James Bond.
Theresa Payton is the head of intelligence on Hunted, and yes, she's kind of a big deal. She served as the White House's first female CIO, according to her show bio. In that role, she oversaw the IT operations for President George W. Bush and the members of the executive office of the president. She's now the CEO of the security consulting company Fortalice, the same one DeBarber works for, and she co-founded the cybersecurity company Dark Cubed. Payton has also picked up accolades throughout her career, including being named one of the 25 most influential people in security by Security Magazine and Charlotte, North Carolina's Woman of the Year in 2005, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has also been named a William J. Clinton distinguished lecturer at the University of Arkansas' Clinton School of Public Service.
Hunted has another intelligence analyst in Aki Peritz, who is a former CIA analyst "who tracked the strategy, leadership and international links of Al Qaeda in Iraq," his show bio says. He's now a senior fellow at George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, as well as an adjunct instructor at American University's School of International Service. If, while watching Hunted, you want to see Peritz drop some more knowledge, you can check out Find Fix Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns that Killed Bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda, which he co-authored.
Ryan "Ry-Phi" Phillips
Don't let Ryan Phillips' funky nickname, "Ry-Phi," fool you; this dude means business. He's going to serve as the operations supervisor on Hunted, which means he's going to take the intelligence information and put it all together for the operations team to use.
Phillips has had plenty of experience doing just that as the sergeant and commander of the SWAT team at the sheriff's office in Fayette County, Georgia, according to his show bio. I'm still curious to see who gets the privilege of calling him "Ry-Phi," though.
Zaira Pirzada is another intelligence analyst on Hunted. She makes a living in the strategic advisory and business intelligence field as a research analyst, her cast bio says. Pirzada has a master's degree in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. Her ability to speak several different languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Spanish, and Russian, may also come in handy on Hunted.
Landon Stewart joins DeBarber as a cyber analyst on Hunted. He recently left the U.S. Army after 10 years of service, his show bio says. He also worked at the NSA and other agencies before going off to work for Fortalice with DeBarber and Payton.
Andy Stumpf is another operations supervisor on Hunted. He was a Navy SEAL for 17 years before that, according to his show bio. And boy, did he rack up tons of honors during that time, including five Bronze Star Medals and a Purple Heart. Stumpf also set a new world record for absolute distance flown in a wingsuit in an effort to raise $1 million for the Navy SEAL Foundation Survivor Support Program, which you can witness for yourself in this breathtaking video of the jump. The photos on his Instagram profile are equally magnificent.
Dr. Max Wachtel
Dr. Max Wachtel is the behavioral profiler of the group on Hunted. He's a forensic psychologist who makes a living evaluating criminal offenders for the courts and private attorneys, according to his show bio. He's also got a pretty great sense of humor on Twitter if you feel like following during the show's run.
The Command Center investigators will team up with the hunters in the field in order to track down the fugitives on Hunted. Like the fugitives, the hunters are also paired up in teams of two.
Jermaine Finks is part of Team Bravo with Chad Light. Finks works for the Department of Homeland Security and has 26 years of military, state, and federal law enforcement experience, his show bio says. But Hunted isn't Finks' first TV gig. He was also a contestant on History's sharpshooting competition series Top Shot.
Light is the other half of Team Bravo with Finks. He has more than 25 years' worth of experience with the U.S. Army and various NGOs, according to his show bio. These days, it looks like Light is trying to make a name for himself in show biz as an actor. He's popped up in everything from Bloodline, his IMDb page says, to historical re-enactments.
Muhammad "Shadow" Bilal
"Shadow" is probably the best nickname for a hunter, so I'm eager to see if Team Foxtrot's Muhammad Bilal lives up to it on Hunted. FYI, he got that nickname when he blocked out the sun while standing before his Project Manager while serving in the military, Bilal recently told Ammoland. He's worked for the U.S. Department of State as a diplomatic security protection specialist in the Middle East, according to his show bio. Bilal also served in the military for 23 years before honorably retiring from active duty in 2006. He's now a licensed armed private investigator and an executive protection specialist at Shadow Protective Services.
Cortice Miles is teaming up with Bilal to catch some fugitives as part of Team Foxtrot. He is a detective sergeant of the criminal investigation division of the Bessemer, Alabama police department, his cast bio says. Before his law enforcement days, Miles was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army.
Amanda Fry is on Hunter Team India with Roxanne Lopez. She comes from a long line of members of law enforcement and is a retired police officer, having served with the El Paso Police Department, according to her show bio. But she's still into law enforcement these days, even receiving a master's degree in Criminal Justice. Fry also serves as an ambassador to the 100 Club of Arizona, which helps the families of first responders killed or injured in action, according to an interview with 3TV.
Like her Hunter Team India partner Fry, Lopez is also in law enforcement as a detective sergeant with the police department in the Village of Spring Valley, New York, her show bio says. In fact, she has 20 years of law enforcement experience, which includes apprehending fugitives with the U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force. Hunted isn't Lopez's first TV gig. She also appeared on Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force on A&E.
Maureen O'Connell is part of Hunter Team Charlie, and boy, is she fierce. O'Connell spent 25 years as an investigator with the FBI in Los Angeles, her cast bio says. During her time with the FBI, O'Connell was apparently the case agent on the largest gang takedown in U.S. history. She also lists herself as an actor on her Facebook page, so it looks like she's certainly making those TV dreams come true.
On O'Connell's Hunter Team Charlie is also Evy Poumpouras, a former Secret Service agent who traveled with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama all over the world, her Hunted bio says. Poumpouras has worked in criminal investigations and undercover operations. She was also a first responder during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and is a recipient of the Valor Award. When she's not tracking down fugitives on Hunted, Poumpouras is a law enforcement and security analyst and journalist, according to her Twitter bio.
Allison Paganetti is Gomez's partner on Hunter Team Echo. She was deployed to Baghdad as a captain for the Regional Network Operations and Security Center, her show bio says. Paganetti is also a former Miss Rhode Island, according to her website. Hopefully, she'll be able to add a victory on Hunted to her long list of accomplishments.
Walter "Griff" Garrison
So many amazing nicknames in the Hunted cast, so little time! Walter "Griff" Garrison of Hunter Team Alpha clearly knows what's up. He just retired as a homicide investigator at the Richmond County, Georgia Sheriff's Office last year, according to his show bio. Garrison also worked as a deputy sheriff in the past. Garrison previously spoke about the trauma he experienced after shooting and killing a perpetrator while on duty to The Augusta Chronicle. He's also a motivational speaker where he talks about his experience with childhood sexual abuse and his career investigating homicides, his website says.
John "Buck" Smith
It looks like John "Buck" Smith is a good match for Garrison on Hunter Team Alpha since he also has a nickname. He was in the U.S. Marshals service for 32 years and has received the U.S. Marshal's Director's Special Achievement Award, his show bio says. He also has a lot of experience hunting down fugitives in some major cases, so beware, Hunted contestants.
Sam Phillips is part of Hunter Team Hotel and is currently a police officer in Los Angeles, according to his cast bio. His assignments have covered areas such as gangs, narcotics, and special operations.
Nick "Klem" Klementowicz
Phillips will have Nick "Klem" Klementowicz by his side on Hunter Team Hotel. Klementowicz is a Marine Corps vet who now works with the Sheriff's Office in Somerset County, New Jersey as the commander of the Special Response Team, Correctional Response Team, and a team leader on County SWAT, his show bio says. Klementowicz was also a bounty hunter, who has arrested more than 350 fugitives with the help of his two partners, his website says. And he likes to flip houses in his spare time, because everyone needs a hobby.
Vinny Senzamici is partnering with Picciano on Hunter Team Golf. He's a retired senior parole officer with the New York State Division of Parole's Bureau of Special Services, his show bio says. He's also been a supervisor within the U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force. You may have seen Senzamici on Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force as well.
Jacquie Bainer will join Rossi on Hunter Team Delta. She is the managing director of Integrated Security Services, Inc. and oversees all of the company's investigations in Connecticut, according to her show bio. Her Twitter bio says that she's also a private eye and a journalist.
I can't imagine it's going to be easy for the fugitives to outrun these experts on Hunted, but that's going to be all the fun of watching, isn't it?