The Missing may have flown under your radar two years ago when it aired on Starz as part of their newly expanding original content, but it was a stunningly crafted and rawly emotional portrayal of a couple whose son was kidnapped while they are abroad. (It was, for the record, a huge hit in the UK, and garnered Emmy and Golden Globe noms here). Both James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor gave devastating performances over the series’ eight episodes (designed, at that point, as a miniseries) as the Hughes, searching for their missing son over the course of several years.
Though the mystery was central to the story, The Missing was never wholly beholden to it, and it really capitalized on the fact that it kept the same writing team and the same director throughout its run (one of the things, in my opinion, that has made some of the anthologies of the last few years a cut above). The harrowing series seemingly did answer the whodunnit for viewers, though the Hughes’ were left in the dark, and had to choose whether they would return to England and learn how to live without their son, or continue to be haunted by the possibility that he’s still alive somewhere.
That nugget of ambiguity was enough to both enrage viewers and also beguile them endlessly, and that fervor led the BBC and Starz to commission a second series. For a long time, we didn’t know if it would be a continuation of Season 1 in any way, but we now have confirmation that there will be a new story and a new cast, including David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Keeley Hawes (The Casual Vacancy), as well as the return of Tchéky Karyo‘s detective Julien Baptiste, as the connection to Season 1 (praise be, as he is fantastic).
According to a press release, Harry and Jack Williams will be back to write the new installment, along with director Ben Chanan (The Last Kingdom) who will direct all eight new episodes. The new case will follow a new couple, Sam (Morrissey) and Gemma (Hawes) whose daughter Alice disappeared in 2003. Then,
“In 2014, a young British woman stumbles through the streets of her German hometown and collapses. Her name is Alice Webster, played by newcomer Abigail Hardingham (Nina Forever), and she has been missing for 11 years. Alice’s return sends shockwaves through the small community. Told in dual timelines, flitting between 2014 and the present day, we follow Alice’s family as they are thrown back into a turmoil that threatens to tear them apart at the seams. When French missing person’s detective, Julien Baptiste, played by Tchéky Karyo (Goldeneye, The Patriot), races across Europe to pursue a 12-year-old case that he never let die, we begin to explore the murky morality and emotional complexity of what happens when the missing child you’ve been longing to return actually comes back.”
So, different from Season 1 in a number of ways, but also seemingly just as compelling. It also bares some resemblance to the upcoming ABC series The Family, where a missing child returns after a decade gone — but is it really him? I’m not sure if The Missing is going to hone in on that angle, but Harry and Jack Williams explained their take on the new season as,
“While we were writing the first series, we began talking about what the show would have been had Oliver Hughes been found. This story grew out of that discussion. It’s the other side of the coin to series 1 – an exploration of loss, of freedom, of how the past can shape the present in myriad ways that we cannot fully understand. It’s bigger, more ambitious, and we’re delighted to have such a brilliantly talented cast joining Julien Baptiste for a new case.”
Regardless, the same writing team returning and such a strong set of actors being added to this new story guarantees it will be worth checking out. There’s no word yet of when the production might air in the UK (and the later, presumably, on Starz, although I seem to recall it was only a week or so behind in Season 1). For now, you can catch up on Season 1 on Amazon Prime.