Having watched so many crime TV shows and several types of detectives, I was craving for something different. The Missing was God sent. This 8 part series is exceptional with a very sensitive story dealt with suspenseful sequences.
Tony Hughes is on a holiday with his wife Emily and son Oliver. With their car breaking down, they are forced to stay in a small city in France. Football frenzy has taken over the city and there is a heavy air of excitement all around. Leaving Emily behind, Tony and Oliver go out for a swim. After having very cute father-son moments, Tony takes Oliver to look at the match amidst the crowd gathered in the garden. In a split second when Tony leaves Oliver’s hand, Oliver gets pushed around in the crowd and gets lost- abducted. What follow is the plight of the parents and the efforts of the police, headed by Julian Baptiste, to find the 5 year old boy. Unable to find the boy, the case is closed unsolved. After 8 years, Tony gets a lead and teams up with Julian again, who is now retired, to find the boy. One clue leads to another, one person points to another, different places are visited, lots of compromises are made and finally, all the pieces are put in place.
The Missing scores really high with the way its switches the viewers into different years and incidents- 2006, 2009 and 2014. 2006- when Oliver goes missing, 2009- when a similar incident happens and the connection is made and 2014- when the case is reopened and progress is made to find what exactly happened 8 years ago.
Tony and Emily’s struggle to keep themselves positive to find their son and work with the police is wonderfully shown. They are devastated yet they have to pull themselves together to help the police in every way possible. Their frustration over lack of progress and not being given all the details is very heart warming to see. Emily’s visions of Oliver being everywhere and her losing control over herself are so realistic. On the other hand, Tony’s anger and rash moves, and getting himself into trouble with the police, are totally justified from his side. It did irritate me how he jumped the gun many times and didn’t follow Julian’s plans, yet giving it a further thought- that would probably what a desperate father would do.
Julian Baptiste, as the calm, clear minded cop who patiently waits for the result of his moves impresses highly. The way he plays the political game deserves a clap. For me, he was the star of the show. His common sense and his persistence, his understanding of the desperate parents yet doing his duty were inspiring.
The acquaintances- like the owners of the hotel where the Hughes stay, Mark- the UK liaison, the rehabilitated girl who agrees to go undercover, Lawrence, the policewomen promoted to detective, the general public who shower their sympathy and help to the parents- whenever these people help the investigation, it always brings in a very positive feeling.
The characters in the suspect list makes their presence felt so well. Ian Garret stands out of course. From projecting himself as a benefactor and suddenly to being the suspect, the transition was expected, yet I felt the character deserved more screen space. The track of the reporter Malik Suri seemed really weak and his change of mind at the end wasn’t very clear. It was sad to see the life of Vincent and his struggle to have a normal life, but lot of things were left to be understood. On the hindsight, there actually weren’t many people in the suspect list apart from Vincent and Ian Garret. So the expectation rises as the story reaches episode 7, to know who is actually behind the abduction of Oliver and where Oliver is. The expectation is met beautifully when the writer succeeds with the ending. At the same time, the debate still stands- realistic ending or a feel good ending.
All the actors play their role perfectly. The production value is very good. Every episode always ends on a high note forcing the viewer to move to the next episode immediately.
This 8 part series is a must watch as it mixes all the required ingredients of a perfect crime thriller. Don’t miss it.