When The Missing ended in December 2014, I was satisfied with how the series ended. It had a beginning, a middle and a definite end. But with critical acclaim and an average overnight audience of 5.5m (7.3m consolidated), the BBC announced a second series...
As the episode ended, the BBC teased us with a 20-second trailer confirming that The Missing would be returning, but thankfully with a new case. The voiceover on the trail belonged to Julien Batiste (Tcheky Karyo) who said:
"To lose somebody can destroy a person. But to find them again, when so much has passed? Well sometimes, that can be worse."
And now, almost two years after it was first teased, we get to find out exactly what that means.
As the teaser at the end of 2014 alluded to, Harry and Jack Williams’ latest story explores a different aspect of what happens when a child goes missing. In fact, as the series gets going, we learn that it’s actually about two girls who were abducted.
Much like the first series, the second series jumps around in time, beginning with a flashback to a British military base in Eckhausen in Germany, and the day Alice Webster, played by Abigail Hardingham, disappeared.
Having bunked off from school, we see Alice walk off into the woodland before the story jumps to Christmas 2014 where a young British woman is seen stumbling through the streets before collapsing in the town square.
We soon learn her name is Alice Webster and she was abducted from the same town 11 years ago. Her return sends shock waves through the tight-knit local community, as her family are thrown into turmoil.
As the search for the abductor gathers pace, Alice also appears to hold vital clues to the whereabouts of a second missing girl, Sophie Giroux, whose disappearance was investigated back in 2003 by French detective Julien Baptiste.
Yes, that’s right. Julien is back, once again played brilliantly by Tcheky Karyo, who races out of his own jurisdiction to pursue a 12 year-old case that he refused to let die. As his behaviour becomes more erratic the people around him begin to question his motives, as he once again becomes embroiled in an obsessive hunt for a missing child.
This is when the story, after 15 minutes jumps forward to the present day where we see recently retired French missing persons detective Julien Baptiste arrive into Erbil International Airport.
There are so many restrictions on what I can and can’t say about what happens in the present day that I can’t really go into too much detail on the story. What I can say though, is that it didn’t take me long to get engrossed in the story, feeling similar to how I felt when watching the first series.
There are more twists and turns in the opening episodes than I could have hoped for with each episode ending on a cliffhanger that will leave you asking questions and wanting to watch the next episode straight away.
Julien Baptiste is the only returning character from series one, because with a new case comes a new cast. Of course, there’s Abigail Hardingham who plays Alice brilliantly, and Jake Davies who gives a great performance as her younger brother Matthew.
He’s an introverted, intense young man who has never quite been able to shake the guilt of having been the last person to see his sister before she was abducted and has become violent and withdrawn.
When Alice returns, he is once again made to feel culpable in a shocking turn of events that creates a bitter animosity between himself and his father.
Then there’s Keeley Hawes and David Morrissey. Matching the standard of James Nesbitt and Frances O'Connor from series one was never going be easy, but from the two episodes I’ve seen, they both appear to have managed it. Keeley Hawes of course, has had had a fantastic year on screen with her shock return in Line of Duty and her hit ITV show The Durrells.
She plays Alice’s mother, Gemma. Having dreamed for years of the moment her little girl would walk back in the door, she struggles to come to terms with the young woman who has returned. Her obsessive search for the truth about what happened to her daughter only serves to push her further away from her husband and son.
David Morrissey plays Sam, Alice’s father. Married to Gemma, he is a strong, straightforward military man. Pushed to the brink by the thought of what has happened to his little girl, Sam holds on to her return with a desperate conviction that sets him at odds with his wife and son.
With definite shades of BBC Three’s Thirteen, The Missing still manages to maintain its own identity. There was a definite look and feel to the first series of The Missing and this is something which has stayed for series two and stands it apart from other dramas with stories in a similar territory.
And as long as it ends well, and the series continues to rate, I can see The Missing return year after year with yet more gripping stories and would welcome many more series.