After I was done with The Affair (which was ok), I started looking for a new drama. I came across this poster of The Missing which instantly got my attention and I decided to check it out. The plot of the show seemed intriguing as well, not to mention countless positive reviews and on top of it all I really enjoy psychological thrillers. After watching the whole show in one breath, I can safely say that this show is my favourite drama in 2015 so keep on reading to learn more about it!
Before I get into the story and characters, I should warn that there will be spoilers here and there (look for a warning). Also this post will not be an episode review. I will not be talking about what happens in the finale either. I just enjoyed the 8-episodes-long mini series so much that I just wanted to introduce the show, talk about my opinions and heartily recommend it to everyone.
The Missing follows the story of Tony and Emily Hughes after the disappearance of their 8 year old son Oliver while they were on a family vacation in a fictional town called Chalons Du Bois in France in 2006. Though, it is important to note that The Missing is not just some abduction/murder case solving type of show (Broadchurch is a good example of that). Instead it's much more about the psychological effects this has on the parents, how their lives change and how they cope with this unspeakable thing.
After the unfortunate failure of the police investigation in 2006, Tony, brilliantly acted by James Nesbitt, becomes obsessed to find his son. However, Tony's wife Emily, played by Frances O'Connor doesn't want to spend her life in grief and she wants to move on. But, as you can imagine she can't really do that as Tony keeps digging for some new lead that makes them relive the whole situation again to no avail. False hopes, more disappointment and endless grief... Eventually Tony's obsession to find Oliver, results in him losing everyone in his life (this is no spoiler by the way).
In The Missing, the story is shown in 3 specific years; 2006, 2009 and present, so as the viewer you need to pay attention to which year you are currently watching because the years will keep changing during episodes (past to present, present to past). First we see what happens in 2006 when Oliver disappears and how the investigation is carried out and then in 2009 when Tony finds a new lead and then finally to present day when Tony finds another, albeit, a very solid lead that ultimately leads them to one of my most favourite finales of a TV show (many people disagree as it was open ended and ambiguous) where they discover Oliver's fate. I just like open ended finales much more than being spoon fed everything. It leaves so much to the imagination.
|Tony, Emily and Oliver Hughes|
The Missing is full of really well written and supremely acted characters. I actually found the story of the side characters much more intriguing than the main characters (does that make me a horrible person?). The story and all these characters are so rich in layer that they will glue you to your seat until you binge watch the whole season (Good news is that there is a season 2 coming out soon with a different story!).
There was one character in particular that really captivated me so much that I believe there could be a whole TV show or a movie dedicated to him. This character is Vincent Bourg, supremely acted by Titus De Voogdt who puts all the actors of his generation to shame! Vincent is the primary suspect of Oliver's disappearance in 2006 as he is a registered sex offender (child porn was found on his computer) and he was in the vicinity of the area where Oliver has disappeared. This character is so well written and so incredibly well acted that it makes the viewer feel actual sympathy for a pedophile. His inner turmoil is very well summarised in an episode in which he tries an experimental treatment to kill off his sex drive as he doesn't want to hurt any children (he hasn't actually hurt any). His body reacts badly to this treatment and his health starts to seriously deteriorate. When his doctor tells Vincent to stop using the medication because it is making him sick, he replies: "Without it, I will be sick. My mind will be sick." His fear of hurting anyone innocent eventually results in the only way he knows that would rid him of this sickness as all his other attempts (even support groups) failed. (SPOILER ALERT), In the finale, Vincent loses what seems to be a fruitless self-struggle and ultimately hangs himself. Talk about a very sad ending to a very sad character...
|Vincent Bourg played by Titus De Voogdt is definitely my highlight.|
It is odd that I wrote about a side character more than the main characters themselves but I feel like Vincent will be a character that I will never forget about and I will remember first when I think of The Missing.
There are other side characters with really interesting backgrounds, and are really well acted, for example the unlikable and extremely selfish journalist Malik Suri, played so well by Arsher Ali that he already earned his place on my list of "most hated characters ever!" Of course let's not forget the driven and self-sacrificing detective Julien Baptiste, portrayed wonderfully by Tchéky Karyo, who always assisted Tony with his search to find his missing son, even long after he retires. And then there is the rich, powerful and "philanthropist" Ian Garrett, portrayed by Ken Stott, who helps the Hughes family by putting up money prizes for any information on Oliver in addition to aiding the family financially. Ian Garrett is actually another extremely well written character (just like all the others are of course). He is a prime example of irony in that his overly helpful nature to complete strangers is actually balanced by a very dark and disturbing secret.
The Missing is the type of show that will leave a cliffhanger after every scene, let alone episode. Forget about the next episode, you will be dying to know what happens in the next scene or what comes out of a character's mouth in the next second! It does a marvelous job of building the suspense and captivating the audience with endless turns and twists.
With great cinematography, a breathtaking story that will keep you awake at night and last but not least performances that give meaning to the word "perfection", The Missing will be a show that I will never forget and will always cherish as it secured a cozy spot in my heart. I would definitely place it among my top 3 best dramas and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see a TV show with top notch quality!
Ps, I mentioned that the finale of The Missing is quite ambiguous and open ended, there are tons of different theories out there. If anyone who reads this has seen the finale, I would like to hear your opinions.