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#TheMissing may just restore my faith in BBC crime dramas

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If you made it through that traumatic first episode, then you’re going to be able to enjoy the rest of this brilliantly acted and superbly written series. I approached the second instalment with a mixture of anticipation and dread, but it was much easier to watch. I’d put in the hard yards last week and now I would be rewarded.
I’m not a knee-jerk fan of James Nesbitt. Some of his work I like, some I don’t, but his acting in The Missing is undeniably excellent. His progress from the intial responses of confusion, fear and grief, into a steadily evolving sense of determination and cynicism are very well portrayed. The man has studied French in order to tirelessly examine the reports of his son’s case. He has learnt over the eight years since young Oliver Hughes’ disappearance in a small French town to trust no one except himself. We already feel as if we’ve travelled on that terrible journey along with him.
At this early stage, I sense the series will have its critics. At eight episodes long, there will be those who accuse it of being ‘slow-moving’. Yes, this may be one way of looking at it, but to me, it is building believable characters and allowing us to accept that eight years really have passed between the two time frames in which the narrative is set. The story deserves this period of time in which to properly develop. There are many strands to the investigation and many ways in which the case has affected the lives of those touched by the tragedy. We want to know why Tony’s wife left him and what he and his father-in-law did so long ago that may have caused someone to take revenge upon them.
Let’s face it, I’m already well and truly hooked. I like the way Tony is taking on the role of amateur sleuth with his reliable side-kick, the retired ace French detective. We don’t know yet who we can trust outside of these two characters and I suspect there are a myriad of twists and turns still to come.
At first, I thought ‘The Missing’ would simply be visual and audio torture for parents of the under-tens, but I am coping with it remarkably well. Of course, there are the obvious parallels with the McCann case. But this is fiction, and it is sympathetic and human. There is nothing exploitative about the series. Which is why I believe it may just restore my faith in BBC crime drama. There is no unnecessary gratuitous violence, the tragic story speaks for itself – no unpleasant tricks and shocks to get me back next week, simply an excellent, detailed, spohisticated plot with likeable characters and great acting. More of this please, BBC, and I might be tempted back…

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