(ACORN) OUT NOW
The verdict on the second series about a French detective hunting abducted children.
As anyone who watched Series 1 of The Missing knows, intricate plots packed with unexpected twists are the hallmark of Harry and Jack Williams’ writing. But the first run now seems almost simplistically linear beside Series 2, which zips back and forth between three countries and four or five different time zones, tossing in enough clever twists, side-plots, red herrings and rabbit-out-of-hat revelations to keep our minds spinning.
Series 2 isn’t a sequel as such, although it has its central theme in common. The first series focused on James Nesbitt’s attempts to track down his young son, who had gone missing from a small town in Northern France. This time around, the only major character to resurface is French police detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo), who helped Nesbitt in his search. Now retired, Baptiste is still determined to discover what happened to two teenage girls: the French Sophie Giroux and Alice Webster, an English girl living on a British military base in Germany. Along with Karyo, acting honours go to Keeley Hawes as Gemma, Alice’s mother, her stoic anguish all the more tormented when it seems her daughter has returned but she knows something’s not right; Laura Fraser as Eve Stone, a military cop who gets too involved in the case for her own good; and Roger Allam as Eve’s father, bemused by long-buried guilt and incipient dementia.
As Alice’s father, Captain Sam Webster, David Morrissey occasionally slips into one-note army-discipline pigheadedness, but redeems himself – and his character – by the end. It’s also good to see Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, from the Icelandic TV series Trapped, in a small but vital role. But the whole cast are excellent, and for all the tricksy plotting we come to care about these people as the emotional tension mounts.
Against all expectations the final episode ties up almost all the loose ends. Here and there the coincidences strain credulity just a touch too far. But overall this is a skilfully written, highly imaginative second series of The Missing that makes shrewd use of its international cast and locations to stretch the possibilities of television drama.
Alice (Abigail Hardingham) looks like she needs a nice hot bath and a cup of tea...
...But has to take matters into his own hands. Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) can’t let the case go...