First Impressions


Aired on: ABC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Ashley Judd hasnít done television in quite some time, so I was surprised to see that she was returning to television in a new action series scheduled to air on ABC on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 8PM EST.  The more I saw of the previews, the more I liked.  Iíve always liked Ashley Juddís acting, but I love her in action roles.  I made up my mind to catch the premiere episode of Missing.

            In Missing, Ashley Judd is Rebecca Winstone, former CIA agent and doting mother.  Her husband, Paul Winstone (Sean Bean), also a CIA agent, was murdered in front of their son Michael (Nick Eversman) a decade ago.  Since that day, Rebecca and her son have been inseparable.  That is, until the day Michael gets accepted into a program that allows him to go to school abroad.  Rebecca is devastated, but understands her sonís need to see the world.

            At first, Michael contacts Rebecca every day, sending her pictures, calling her and sending text messages.  Then, one day, the calls stop coming.  Every attempt to contact Michael goes unanswered.  Motherly instinct tells Rebecca that something is terribly wrong and those instincts are confirmed when the school calls to say that they are removing Michael from the program as he hasnít attended classes recently.  Rebecca heads to Italy to get some answers. 

            Upon arrival, Rebeccaís CIA instincts take over.   Searching through pictures Michael sent, she finds the apartment he has been staying in.  While checking the place out, she is attacked by an assassin.  Barely escaping with her life, Rebecca contacts Interpol agent Giancarlo Rossi (Adriano Giannini) asking him for his help.  As the episode unfolds, Rebecca discovers that her son has indeed been kidnapped, but why and by whom are questions that remain unanswered. 

            Chased down by CIA Agent Dax Miller (Cliff Curtis) and ducking the murderous henchmen of her son's kidnappers, Rebecca is determined to rescue her son from an uncertain fate at the hands of his captors.  Sheís not concerned about causing an international incident and has no desire to return to her former position in the CIA.  Sheís just a mother, looking for her son.

            The premiere episode of Missing left the viewer with no misunderstanding as to what this series was all about.  Within the very first minutes of the episode, there was a fantastic explosion.  Sure, there were brief moments of peace in between, but the action scenes were plentiful and fast-paced, featuring hand-to-hand combat, shoot-outs and chase scenes.  There was plenty of drama, too, as one realizes just to what depth a loving mother will be will be willing to go to save her son.

            Ashley Judd is in her element here.  Although I have enjoyed her other works, I have always thought that the action drama genre was Juddís forte.  She has a mastery of the multi-layered action film heroine who, on the surface, is this tough as nails character who can handle themselves in any sort of fight, be it guns, knives, or fists, but under the exterior is a vulnerability and caring person.  Rebecca Winstone is a dramatic action role perfectly tailored for Ashley Judd.

            The series itself, however intriguing, has some flaws.  For one thing, I found it highly convenient that Rebecca was able to - in the span of only minutes - find the video footage of her sonís kidnapping on the security camera across from her sonís apartment.  I find it equally unbelievable that she was able to find his sonís girlfriend in such a short time after arriving in Italy.  There are some other ideas nagging at me thanks to some of the coming attractions featured at the end of the first episode that lead me to believe that I have already solved the mystery of Michaelís abductors.  I hope I am wrong - I hate figuring out the main mystery of the series in the very first episode. 

            Despite these issues and the fact that Missing has an obvious shelf life of a season or two, I found the first episode enticing enough to want to see more.  So, next Thursday at 8PM EST, I will find myself front and center on the couch awaiting the next episode of Missing and my next dosage of the action packed dramatic series.


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