Add Vanished by the Lake TV series to a long line of missing teenage girl mysteries. Currently streaming on Walter Presents, this is one of the better ones. It’s from France, beautifully filmed in the Vac region, set in a picturesque lakeside village. The landscape is integral to the story, but it’s not just the lake that’s holding secrets. It’s the entire town.
Vanished by the Lake opens in typical fashion. A brief chase scene, out of context, followed by a family gathering for breakfast, realizing their teenage daughter, Chloe (Charlie Joirkin), did not come home during the night. There are the usual phone calls to friends and a growing sense of dread.
An older woman lives next door. Her adult daughter, Lise (Barbara Schulz), arrives to visit. Turns out Lise is a cop from Paris. She knows the family and helps them manage the first steps of the missing person case. It’s no surprise when she stays on to help the local cops – her dad had been a cop there – solve the case. Coincidentally or not, Chloe’s disappearance is eerily similar to a 15-year old case where two local girls went missing.
As in many small town mysteries, everyone knows everyone else, and everyone has secrets. There are many possible suspects in Vanished by the Lake, some obvious, some become more or less likely as the story moves along. Several times we were reminded of The Disappearance.
The show has the usual twists and turns, and as in many French TV series, a bit of melodrama. It doesn’t detract from the story, though. Vanished by the Lake has several likable characters, a few potential villains, and enough mystery and suspense to maintain interest. The scenery helps, but behind that is a classic missing person case.
Vanished by the Lake TV series was written by Bruno Dega and Jeanne Le Guillou and directed by Jérôme Cornuau for TF1 in France, where it aired in 2015. There are six, 50-minute episodes on Walter Presents. It’s the right length for this story, and the right length for a weekend watch.