First Impressions

The Missing

Airing On: Starz

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Every once in a while, I have an opportunity to watch a television series premiere before it airs.  I jump at these opportunities to check out new shows and to bring our readers some insight on upcoming entertainment.  So, when I was offered a chance to check out The Missing a week before it airs on Starz, I jumped at the opportunity.  (Those of you who can view BBC One will realize that this show began airing there on the last week of October and will be airing on November 15, 2014 in the United States.)

                The Missing stars James Nesbitt as Tony Hughes, a father torn apart by events that took place while on vacation with his wife Emily (Francis O'Connor) and his son Oliver (Oliver Hunt) in France.  In 2006, an unexpected problem with their car forced the Hughes family to stay in a hotel in a small town.  The family makes the most of their one day stay in the town, seeing the sights.  At the end of the day, five year old Oliver asks his father to take him swimming at a local pool.  Tony obliges while Emily stays at the hotel enjoying some quiet time with a book.

                As the two prepare to leave the pool, Oliver becomes thirsty, prompting Tony to buy him a refreshment.  The refreshment counter is crowded, thanks to the World Cup Tournament which excited patrons are watching in hopes that France will win.  Caught up in the celebration, Tony loses his son's hand.  Frantically searching the area for his son, Tony realizes Oliver is gone.  The police are called and Oliver's picture is posted everywhere in hopes that information about his whereabouts will surface.

                Flash forward eight years and we find a distraught Tony has returned to the town where his son went missing.  He is divorced, his search for his son and guilt over losing him in the first place destroying his marriage.  But Tony believes he has found a clue to his son's whereabouts - a picture of a young boy celebrating Bastille Day in the same town four years ago.  The boy is wearing Oliver's scarf, a scarf specially made for Oliver and carrying his initials.  Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo), the now retired police detective assigned to Oliver's case, is intrigued by what Tony has found, believing that he may be on to something. 

                Meanwhile, Emily is completely undone.  About to embark on a new life with a new family, she is not shocked to learn that Tony is still searching for their son, but that he may have found something new pertaining to the case. 

                The series is incredibly intriguing.  At first glance, we believe that Oliver may have wandered off and been taken, but something Tony's father-in-law says gives us pause.  He posits whether it might be possible that something he and Tony had done in London may have caused them to have enemies.  Could it be that perhaps this mysterious collaboration is the cause of Oliver's abduction?  And what exactly would cause someone to be angry enough at Tony to want to take his child from him?  Then there is the strange case of police officer Khalid Ziane (Said Taghmaoui) and reporter Arsher Ali (Malik Suri).  Ali goes to Ziane for information about the Oliver case, alluding to some previous case Ziane is involved with and using it as leverage to get what he wants.  We later learn that Ali has written a rather opinionated book about the incident.  What exactly is his involvement in all this?

                As new clues turn to leads, we are bound to be treated to more flashbacks of the previous investigation and all that went wrong leading the police to lose hope in the Oliver Hughes case.  With the odds against them, can Tony and Julien hope to discover the truth about what happened to Oliver?  And what if the truth is more horrific than not knowing? 

                The premiere episode of The Missing was terrific, offering up a dramatic storyline, incredible acting by Nesbitt, O'Connor and Karyo and intriguing tidbits of clues offered like fishing lures to the viewer.  Those tidbits, in addition to the flashbacks of the original investigation, are enough to keep the viewer glued to the television each episode, trying to solve the mystery along with the main characters.  I, for one, know I'm hooked and can't wait to find out what happens next on The Missing!


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