Starz Launches mysterious New Mini-Series, “The Missing”

Every parent’s worst nightmare is losing his or her child due to a kidnapping. This nightmare becomes reality in Starz’s new eight-episode mini-series, The Missing, which gets inside the mind of a father who witnesses the kidnapping of his five-year-old son.

The series premiere opens with the Hughes family on vacation in France. In 2006, Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt), his wife, Emily (Frances O’Connor), and their son, Oliver (Oliver Hunt) were driving to their vacation spot in France when their car suddenly breaks down. They are forced to find a hotel room while their car is in the shop. Oliver and his father decide to watch the World Cup Finals in a crowded pub when suddenly Tony can’t find his son. He starts yelling Oliver’s name and searching the pub up and down, but soon realizes that his son is gone.

After eight years of cop investigations, Tony pushes to have the case reopened when he finds a new clue that he thinks will lead them to Oliver. Tony uncovers a photograph of a young boy who is roughly Oliver’s age, wearing the same scarf that Oliver owned. We soon learn that within these eight years, Tony has driven everyone around him crazy, and has even broken apart his marriage.

After Tony finds the photograph, he contacts the police and his ex-wife immediately. The local cops try to get Tony to calm down, but he is convinced that this photograph will lead them to find Oliver.

Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo) was the lead investigator for Oliver’s missing persons case back in 2006. He is now retired, but Tony convinces Baptiste to come back into the search for his son. Together, they find a critical clue that leaves the viewers on the edge of their seats wanting more.

As the series continues, the audience learns more details about the missing persons case, and as the show constantly switches from the past to the present, we get additional background information about each character that helps tie together the time frames. We learn about Oliver’s parents, the various suspects in the missing persons case, and total strangers who get mixed up in the situation. We also learn that the police, who were so involved with Oliver’s case back in 2006, are now cold-hearted and are bitter about the aftermath of the case.

Tony does not have it easy with reporters, either. Malik Suri (Arsher Ali) is an aspiring journalist who treats Tony very unkindly. The viewers soon learn that Suri is particularly unpleasant and cruel in his search for sensational scoops.

However, not everyone in the show is cold-hearted. Other than retired detective Baptiste, the audience learns about an English speaking police officer, Laurence Relaud (Emilie Dequenne), who is very kind towards Tony and Emily. Relaud was one of the first to help Oliver’s parents back in 2006 when she learned of the missing persons case.

We also meet Mark Walsh (Jason Flemyng), a British detective who steps in as a liaison officer with the French police, although he doesn’t speak French. Walsh cares about the Hughes family and does anything it takes to help find Oliver.

As the series continues to move forward, the viewers learn more about Oliver’s childhood, and the happy moments almost become agonizing to watch. Knowing that this family was once a perfect, happy unit definitely has the audience reaching for a box of tissues.

Although we know Oliver won’t be found during the flash back scenes, there is still hope that he will be found during the present timeline. Because of the rotating perspectives, The Missing stands out from the other “missing persons” shows such as The Killing and Top of the Lake. Knowing that Oliver may still be alive offers a promise of a happy ending.

Be sure to tune in to The Missing on Starz, Saturdays at 9 p.m., to find out what happened to Oliver Hughes.

IMAGE TAKEN from variety.com