‘Tracker’: Jon Huertas on Being Able to Capture Claustrophobic Feeling as Director

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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Tracker Season 1 Episode 9 “Aurora.”]

While it may seem like a girl who has been missing for three years can’t be the person her father spots in a newspaper photo, it turns out in the latest Tracker episode that he’s right.

Colter (Justin Hartley) digs after her father hires him, and he finds out that she and her friends were into paranormal activity, murder podcasts, the spirit world, and an old abandoned mental hospital. While he follows up on those leads with local law enforcement, the investigation turns to a man already locked up for a murder and potential partner. Colter goes to talk to his sister…and finds she’s the one who’s been holding the missing girl captive, in the basement in a small crawl space. (She had taken the girl with her to a county fair when the city inspected her house, and the photo was taken during a brief escape.)

“It’s such a great outcome in the end. That was one of my favorite moments is when he finds her in this little space,” shares Jon Huertas, who directed this episode and reunited with his This Is Us costar Hartley.

While directing that scene was “challenging,” Huertas says, equipment size helped. “What’s cool is with technology today, film cameras used to be bigger than what I can show you right now on this little screen [on Zoom], but now we have cameras that are small and we used the smallest camera operator that we had and we were able to really get into that space and take advantage of the feeling of claustrophobia in that space. Now the audience can kind of feel what she felt while she was being held there all that time, all those years.”

Tracker films in Vancouver, Canada. “A lot of the episode is all locations,” continues Huertas. “Finding these locations [was key because they] really reinforce what we’re trying to do in the story with creepiness, with claustrophobic spaces, with the grandness of the bridge and that crime scene. All of those things present challenges and those are the kind of things I like as a director. I love being presented with a challenge and learning how to, in the moment, use the people around you to overcome whatever obstacles the logistics are presenting to you from small spaces to suddenly it snows, that type of stuff. The challenges in overcoming them is really the most gratifying part of being a director, for me.”

What did you think of the latest (creepy) episode? Let us know in the comments section, below.

Tracker, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS

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