The British are known for their heavy suspense filled drama series and Foxtel’s BBC First Australia are delivering us quite a few. One of these, Series 2 of The Missing, returns with a brand new case and an almost entirely new cast. For more about this series you can read our interview with lead actor David Morrissey.
We were fortunate enough to check out the first episode in the lead up to this weekend’s release of the second season and we’ve put together some of our initial thoughts and listed our five favourite things about the first episode and why this is going to be the hot new mini-series to watch.
A brand new case, a whole new mystery
For those that may have missed the first series of The Missing which featured James Nesbitt, there’s no need to fret. Series 2 is a stand alone series so it’s not necessary to the narrative of the show to have seen the first series. This means that the show is open to all newcomers and you get to follow along without having that backlog of need-to-know pre-existing knowledge. This series follows the investigation into the sudden reappearance of Alice Webster (Abigail Hardingham) who had been abducted 11 years earlier. Former French detective Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo, who was in the first series playing the same character) joins in on the investigation due to a past case that intersects with this one, however not everything is quite as it seems.
Implementing a non-linear multi-timeline narrative style
The big drawcard for this show is its clever use of a non-linear multi-timeline narrative style. The series is set in both 2014 and “present day” (approximately 2 or 3 years later). Even in this first episode we jump backwards and forwards in time. 2014 being the year that Alice returns to the Webster family. Whilst “present day” there has clearly been something dramatic that’s happened as we see these distinct changes in each of the family members.
This may seem confusing and difficult to follow but I’m sure the eventual payoff is worth it as the episodes progress. Having a tv series purposefully step away from a standard linear narrative style immediately makes it stand apart from many of the other crime genre and longform series. It forces the viewers to have to take all the clues and little pieces and put the puzzle together. So it’s very engaging and intriguing and will make you want to watch from week-to-week to see what happens next.
Portrayal of a fractured and dysfunctional family unit
Brotherly writing team of Harry and Jack Williams have crafted a series that focuses tightly around this fractured and dysfunctional family unit. The character of Sam Webster (David Morrissey) is a military man serving as a Captain at this barracks in a small German town. His family of course have to follow him in tow. The abduction, and resulting reappearance of Alice has the family riding an emotional rollercoaster. Sam is attempting to try and forgive himself as well as build bridges with his now returned daughter. Whilst Gemma (Keeley Hawes) is the hesitant and uncertain wife who is determined for answers. And Alice’s younger brother Matthew (Jake Davies) appears to be caught in the middle of it all as they try to somehow come to grips with everything.
British acting alums David Morrissey, Keeley Hawes and Roger Allam are in the cast
I’m a sucker for great British actors and these three are some of Britain’s finest. Morrissey most people will be familiar with from his work playing the complex villainous Governor on The Walking Dead or the hilarious narcissistic Ripley Holden in musical comedy Blackpool. Hawes has also been in a huge number of productions including Line of Duty but was also in the phenomenal Ashes To Ashes alongside her other co-star in this series Roger Allam.
Allam’s name may not be immediately recognisable but he’s such a brilliant character actor you’ve probably seen him in The Thick Of It as well as many others, not to mention narrating advertisements. All three of these are great actors to have on the casting sheet, and can bring some heavy hitting punches with their performances. Seeing what they dish out in this series will be exciting.
Week-to-week watching and a chance to decompress
Even though we live in a world where bingeing TV series is becoming a past-time for plenty of people, the beauty with this series is its week-to-week viewing format. Sometimes with these particularly dense and heavy series that even though they are 8 episodes (so a mini series); the complexity and sheer weight of the content requires some decompression time. Having that breathing room between episodes allows you as a viewer to once again begin your speculation process and with a show that’s so heavily focused on its mystery this is something that is also a key component of why it’s so appealing to watch.
The Missing Series 2 will screen on BBC First Australia on Foxtel from Sunday 5 March 2017