As we’ve noted before, on occasion, an excellent foreign TV series slips past the netTVwatch radar undetected. Such is the case with The Missing season 1, available for instant viewing through Amazon Prime. We were aware of the series, but wrongly thought it was a US production associated with one of the standard cable TV networks. Bad on us! The Missing, a co-production of BBC and Starz TV, is a tense, binge-worthy mystery that sticks with you long after the final scene ends.
The Missing season 1 tells the story of a couple, Tony and Emily (James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor), whose young son disappears while they are on vacation in France. It’s the type of story we’ve seen before, along with the subsequent panic, disbelief, anger, and fear experienced by the parents. The Missing is a notch or two better than most similar series by virtue of interesting characters and a complex web of connections and leads to unravel.
Central to the investigation is Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo), a retired detective specializing in missing child cases. Patient and understanding, he is the moral center of The Missing, guiding the parents – Tony, in particular – and serving as a bit of a zen philosopher along the way.
The series frequently jumps back and forth in time. There are two parallel investigations: the original one, when Ollie first goes missing, and “present day,” when Tony – relentless and unable to let go – finds a new clue that lures Baptiste back to the case.
As the case follows two tracks, the parallel story to Ollie’s disappearance is Tony and Emily’s relationship. We know from the beginning, they are no longer together. The details of this, and many more details about the other characters, are teased out slowly. It’s another way The Missing keeps you hooked all the way through.
The series was written by brothers Harry and Jack Williams and originally shown on BBC One and Starz. Though the story takes place in France and the UK, much of the filming was done in Belgium, thanks to Belgian tax credits. The Missing season 1 has eight episodes, about 60 minutes each. We were glued to the screen the entire time. If one season of The Missing is not enough for you, season 2 is now available on Starz. It’s a new story, but Baptiste is back.