Review: BBC’s new drama, The Missing

The Missing, BBC drama, James Nesbit, Anrew Musgrove, Kettle Mag
Written by AndrewMusgrove1

A crowded bar, euphoria as a goal is scored, hands aloft in celebration before a turn to the bar for drinks – for a brief moment you drop the hand of your child.  A brief moment is all it took. 

The sheer panic is indescribable. The knots and twists in your stomach as you frantically search for your little one.  Many parents have undoubtedly experienced this but for most, it lasts 30 seconds before their child is found by the soft play blissfully unaware at the panic caused after wandering off. 

We all know of one story that as of yet, there hasn’t been a happy ending. The BBC’s new drama – The Missing  –  starring James Nesbitt will draw comparisons to the global case of Madeleine McCann and it’s unlikely that the real tragedy of the missing toddler didn’t have some sort of influence of the script.

A father, Tony, (James Nesbitt) feeling let down by the foreign police and vilified by some sectors of the English press.  And there is a book.  The comparisons will be made.  

But the drama is more than a copy-cat. The four-year-old toddler, Oliver, goes missing after his family are forced to spend the night in a sleepy french village after their car breaks down.  The world’s media descend on the town and as the search for the child entisfires the locals become tired and sick of the association of Oliver and the town. 

Eight years of pain

Fast forward eight years and the apparent abduction of Olly, has taken it’s toll on the marriage of Tony and Emily (Frances O’Connor) – the once happy couple are now divorced. Tony is at his wits end, ragged, tired and still obsessed with his missing son as he travels to the town time and time again. His ex-wife, is now re-married to the British Police liaison officer that originally helped with the case.  Both are a mess and dealing with the effects of their missing child in different ways. 

Tony is helped by Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo), a retired French detective whose final case was Oliver, a man who wants to let the case go but just can’t, and despite his better judgement he leaves his beekeeping to help the devastated father. 

After the first hour – Tony has his first piece of good news in what one thinks in the eight years since his son went missing – in the form of an address which sold his son’s missing scarf.  The consequences are tantalisingly played out with the director choosing when and where he used subtitles to translate the French.  A simple but effective way of keeping you in suspense. 

And with seven more episodes, you know there is more to come –  you’re intrigued to see just how Emily ended up with the man who was supposed to be helping the family reunite with their son.  The relationship between the author of the book and Emily, is also another point of interest.  

The first episode was gripping, gut-wrenching and wet the appetite for what is to come, with the heart-broken father portrayed brilliantly by James Nesbitt – will he find his son and what other secrets will come out of the closet?