Parents' Guide to

The Missing

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Subtle, twisty drama centers on a missing-child case.

TV Starz Drama 2014
The Missing Poster Image

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Trodding a timeworn path for television drama, this series is nonetheless exquisitely affecting and positively addictive. Perhaps it's not surprising that The Missing is both more grim and more subtle than American-made productions on the same theme, as is often the case with European-made series. Rather than bludgeoning the viewer with detail, this series makes its points quietly with images: a woman sliding down a wall, silently crying as a shower runs, and a waiter's eyes sliding away from a couple who have just experienced something unspeakably awful.

The Missing distinguishes itself with imaginative writing and sharp acting. It also makes the fascinating choice to start with a contained tragedy and then widen the focus of the drama. Viewers spend a great deal of time not only with Nesbitt's lurching Hughes and O'Connor's brittle Emily but also with the detectives on the case, the suspects, and the extended families. We follow them home, we see their doctors' appointments, we hear their phone calls. It's spooky and wonderful. The decision to move the drama back and forth in time from 2006 to 2014 is another smart move. The fresh agony of the Hugheses in 2006, contrasted with Tony's efforts to unravel what happened to his son and Emily's attempt to move on with her life in 2014, make the viewer eager to know what happened in between.

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