Monday, 28 November 2016

The Missing: Series 2 review

The Missing was a successful television series written by the Williams brothers, Harry and Jack, which first appeared in 2014 starring James Nesbitt as a desperate father looking for his missing son after he disappears in France on a family holiday.  The series showed two parallel timelines between the incident when the boy disappears to the investigation some time later, led by the inquisitive detective Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo).

The series ended in a somewhat downbeat finale with Nesbitt's character traversing rural Europe still looking for his boy, with many characters broken beyond repair.  Many reviewers thought the series was a stand alone one, with little comeback expected.  Yet the Williams' have returned with a second series, this time however, Baptiste is the focal point of the drama.

Baptiste, is still on the trial of the missing girl Sophie Giroux, and his interest is pricked when a young British girl, Alice Webster, goes missing near to her home at the military camp of Eckhausen, Germany.  When Baptiste begins his investigations in 2014, he is of sound mind and his investigations begins to upset people as more skeletons are let out of the closet.

Again we have a dual narrative as we follow the fall-out of Alice's disappearance in 2014, along with the present day when 'Alice' supposedly returns to her home after escaping captivity.  However, as with most mystery-thrillers nothing is what it seems and the labyrinthe storyline takes the viewer on many twists and turns as Baptiste - who is fighting a brain tumour - becomes a pivotal figure travelling to the Middle East to uncover the truth when a military cover-up may be happening.

In this day and age, the sensitive subject matter of false imprisonment (Josef Fritzel among others) and the unsavoury detail of child sex abuse, the Williams' have taken these topics and used them to great effect to create a story of fear and mystery.

While the thread has been stretched over the eight episodes, we could have perhaps done without the sojourn to the Middle East, nevertheless the acting has been top notch. Karyo brings a rare humility to Baptiste, whose desire to find justice is all conquering even to the detriment of his short-term health.  Keeley Hawes, as Alice's mother, Gemma, continues her purple patch of recent roles bringing a steel to a grieving mother and while David Morrissey's Sam can come across a bit chauvinistic and ignorant, he portrays the rigidness expected of a stubborn man.

The entire ensemble helps elevate the series to your run of the mill whodunit show; from Laura Fraser as the cold Eve Stone, who is pregnant when we first meet her, sleeps with Sam and has to protect her weak with dementia father, Adrian (Roger Allam).  Yet the casting is superb across the board, from Julien's wife, Celia (Anastasia Hille) who share those brilliant intimate moments with Karyo pleading for him to return home to Derek Riddell as Press Liasion officer, Adam Gettrick; the performances are impressive throughout, not to mention the sterling work of the young cast especially Abigail Hardingham in various guises of Alice and Sophie.

Image result for the missing series 2

In a year of great drama on the BBC and the current clamour for true fiction such as 'Making A Murderer' it is great to see an original drama have you gripped from episode one to its conclusion; and even rarer to see a drama's second series be better than the original. The Missing Series 2 is the The Godfather Part 2 of television drams in that sense. That is the highest praise you can give this terrific series.

The Missing (Series 2) will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 26th December from Aim Publicity.

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