Quick Review: Missing
Imagine the 2008 Liam Neeson film Taken with the gender roles reversed and you’ll basically have the exact idea for ABC’s new Ashley Judd-starring thriller Missing. Missing follows Judd as Becca Winstone, a retired CIA agent who travels to Europe after her college-aged son Michael (Nick Eversman) goes… uh… missing after accepting a position at a prestigious architecture program in Rome. Becca is initially reluctant to let Michael go as she’s held tightly to him since the shocking death ten years prior to Missing taking place of her husband Paul (Sean Bean, Game Of Thrones), a fellow CIA agent. After Paul’s death, Becca retired from the Agency to raise Michael and became the epitome of an overprotective mother but eventually relents and gives her OK for Michael to go overseas. So when Michael, who’d been in constant contact with Becca, suddenly stops being heard from and Becca receives a phone call saying that Michael had moved out of his dorm three weeks prior and hat been kicked out of the architecture program for missing lectures, she travels to Rome to investigate his disappearance, only to end up swept into a vast conspiracy  while being simultaneously being tracked by the CIA for as-yet-unknown reasons. Despite the action and jet-setting nature of its plot, Missing is actually fairly rote most of the time but that’s not to say that it isn’t without at least a modicum of intrigue. Bean is solid in almost everything he’s in and he seems to be developing a habit for being killed off unexpectedly in television shows as we see Paul blow up really nice via car bomb within the first five minutes of the episode and then he isn’t seen again for the rest of the hour. ABC insists he is still part of Missing’s cast so either we’re just going to be seeing Paul through flashbacks or (more likely) he’s part of the conspiracy somehow. One of the (only?) other factors in Missing’s favor is that Judd does still possess an obvious screen presence thanks to her two decades in film, which helps elevate Missing a bit from the predictable action/drama territory but in the end, that’s all it really is. It’s clear why ABC wanted to get this on the air  and it’s possible that there could be something interesting in here somewhere, but I don’t think I’ll be sticking around to long enough find out if it’s able to get there.
 As so many shows like this are wont to do.
 Recognizable star, easy premise to grasp, and it fits into (as some have said) ABC’s demographic of upscale females.
*Missing’s cast is rounded out by Cliff Curtis as Agent Dax Miller, the CIA agent assigned to shadow Becca in Europe; Adriano Giannini as Giancarlo Rossi, a European agent with whom Becca shares a past; and Aunjanue Ellis as Becca’s best friend Mary. None of them really register much of an impression except for perhaps Ellis, and not in a good way. As some have noted, the scenes of Becca and Mary hearken back to the most awkward parts of Alias when Sydney Bristow would have to pause the high-stakes nature of her profession on occasion in order to try to be a normal person with normal friends. It didn’t work there and it doesn’t work here, either.
*Why is the CIA so intent on not allowing Becca to cross the border into France? Could the coded “I love you” message between Becca and Michael have been any more obvious that it would end up serving as a clue at some point? These are just some of the questions raised by Missing that I don’t particularly care about.
*The cliffhanger of Becca being shot and falling into a river in the pilot’s final scene, however? A little more effective.
*Intentional comedy alert: The scene where Becca is meeting with a contact at a European club while dressed as a middle-aged mom is pretty hilarious.
*Episode below courtesy of Hulu.