By Josh Mazur
Last week I found myself searching Amazon Prime for something to watch. It’s not necessarily fair but I was looking for a show that I didn’t have to devote too much attention toward. The Missing caught my eye Initially because James Nesbit is one of my favorite Brit actors, specifically for his time on the TV mini-series, Jekyll. I watched the original version of The Missing in my film course as a freshman in college, a 1988 French cult classic thriller directed by George Sluzier. I had also watched the less than stellar American remake in the 90’s directed by the same man and starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, and Sandra Bullock. Unfortunately, those films were actually named "The Vanishing" and this show had absolutely nothing to do with either of them. By the time I realized my blunder it was too late. 15 minutes into the first episode I was locked in by the detailed storytelling and nuanced performances of the actors.
The first season of The Missing is the story of Oliver, a young boy who goes missing in France while his family is traveling on holiday from England. The viewer follows the parents and the team of investigators over the course of the next decade. As you hop back and forth between timelines the viewer is slowly given a clearer view of what has happened to Oliver. Much like a real life abduction the story never truly comes to light. Over time the list of details about the case grows as does the list of suspects. Julien Baptiste, played by Tchéky Karyo, is the retired French investigator that tries to be the voice of rationality for the two grief stricken parents. Karyo's performance is fantastic and immediately put him on my radar as one of the few actors who drive my viewing habits. Nesbitt has made a career out of knowing how to fall slowly into madness and he plays that perfectly here, as the frantic father of Oliver. Frances O'Connor gives a moving performance as Oliver's mother, Emily Hughes. She attempts to affect a numb stance toward the situation after years of depression and grief but let's the case overtake her whole life just as her husband does.
The Missing season 1 is a complete story and the only holdover from the cast for season 2 is investigator Julien Baptiste (along with his family). Season 2 is a completely different monster. For the most part James Nesbitt's character was the driving character for season 1. Season 2 is definitely driven by Karyo's Baptiste character. The story follows as a girl who had previously been abducted as a teen suddenly reappears and reconnects with her family. The abduction was one of Baptiste's previous cases and we follow him as he tries to connect the dots between the returning girl and another case of abduction he thinks was very similar.
The first season was about losing someone, the second was about finding someone. What could the third be about? The writers Harry & Jack Williams have said they are interested in making a third series but the story must be perfect and that means we may have to wait a while. However, we may not have to wait too long to see inspector Julien Baptiste again. Writers Jack & Harry Williams secured a spin-off series entitled "Baptiste" on BBC One. I'm all-in.
4.5/5 Geeks for The Missing