Stars: Ashley Judd, Sean Bean, Cliff Curtis, Adrian Giannini, Nick Eversman, Keith Carradine, Aunjanue Ellis, Gina McKee, Laura Donnelly
Writer:
Gregory Poirier, series created by Gregory Poirier
Director:
Stephen Shill
Network:
ABC, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Original Airdate:
March 15, 2012

CIA field agents are widely imagined to be able to do anything. MISSING takes this notion, combines it with the ferocity of a mother’s love for her child, then sets the premise – and leading lady Ashley Judd – loose all over Europe.

Judd plays Rebecca Winstone, who we meet as she talks on the phone to her beloved husband Paul (Sean Bean) and eight-year-old son Michael while the latter two are vacationing in Europe. Then Paul is apparently killed by a car bomb.

Ten years later, Rebecca reluctantly gives her blessing to now-eighteen-year-old Michael (Nick Eversman) going to college in Rome. However, when Michael fails to check in for almost a week, Rebecca flies to Rome to find out what’s happened. When Rebecca enters Michael’s apartment, she is attacked by an assailant, who obviously has no idea what he’s up against. He finds out, fatally, putting Rebecca on the radar of the European CIA station. Deputy Chief Dax Miller (Cliff Curtis) is most unhappy that an ex-agent is running around Rome, unsanctioned and dangerous. However, when Rebecca finds footage of Michael being kidnapped and forced into a truck, it seems like there will be no stopping her, the episode’s cliffhanger ending notwithstanding.

In its pilot episode, MISSING has urgency, style, spectacle – when is the last time you actually saw both Rome and Paris in the same episode of an episodic scripted TV series? – and a heroine who is convincing as someone who can and will kick butt given the right provocation. The mystery laid in by series creator Gregory Poirier is also intriguing, as we don’t know yet why anybody would snatch Michael without demanding a ransom. Subsequent episodes will no doubt illuminate secrets that will illuminate the situation

Then again, while slack should be allowed for a first episode where characters, tone and clues are all setting in, there doesn’t seems to be a lot of nuance. Rebecca pushes away an old flame and rages at Miller. Miller’s superior yells at him, Miller gets exasperated and we get the requisite righteous consternation, but not enough personality in this first installment to keep us coming back for the characterizations.

Still, plenty of shows open a little stiff and flex into something great as they go. Most series don’t have MISSING’s advantages of being visually adventurous, geographically plausible and featuring a female lead who really does seem like she’ll cut like a laser through any bodies standing between her and the rescue of her child.

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Related Link: Interview with actor Cliff Curtis on MISSING

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Article: TV Review – MISSING – Season 1 – “Pilot” – Series Premiere

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