TV Review: The Missing Is Gripping Drama For Starz

Starz and BBC One band together for a gripping exploration of every parent’s worst nightmare with the gripping new limited series, The Missing.

The Missing tells the story of Tony and Emily Hughes, on holiday in France with their son, Oliver. After stopping in a local town due to a broken down car, Oliver vanishes just seconds after he and Tony wander into a crowded restaurant. Panicked and frightened, the Hughes and law enforcement tear up the countryside in the search for the missing Oliver. The Missing is also the story of how Tony and Emily, and their marriage, was impacted by Oliver’s disappearance. The show accomplishes this by jumping back in forth through time, between 2006, when Oliver went missing, and present day, where Tony and Emily have split up.

Tony (James Nesbitt) heads back to the town where he lost Oliver, years after everyone has let it go, armed with a new clue and bravado that quickly gains the ire of the locals and the notice of the police. After getting in touch with the detective assigned to Oliver’s case in 2006, Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo), it seems Tony does have a lead of value, and the pair begin to uncover a trail that could lead them to answers. Meanwhile, Emily (Frances O’Connor) is desperately trying to put the loss behind her, moving into an interesting new relationship, but one call from Tony is all it takes to bring everything back.

The Missing is billed as a limited run series, meaning that the story will be told over eight episodes and will have a definitive conclusion. Setting such a parameter allows writers Harry and Jack Williams and director Tom Shankland to focus on delivering the best show they can and so far they seem to have succeeded. The Missing has an excellently paced mystery at its core, full of clues and misdirection. James Nesbitt delivers a fantastic performance as the driven and wounded father, who never gave up hoping and is reinvigorated by his discovery. O’Connor’s Emily is full of her own mysteries, and she plays them close to her vest. Karyo has the gruff detective thing down well, giving just the right amount of heart.

The Missing premieres Saturday, November 15th, on Starz, but you can stream the first episode here now.

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