The Missing, episode 4 - TV review: James Nesbitt remains thoroughly convincing

The mystery is deepening but we're no closer to finding out the truth

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We're halfway through The Missing and, still, nobody knows what happened to five-year-old Oliver Hughes on that fateful night in France.

The mystery is deepening, connections and relationships are taking on ominous new meanings, but we're no closer to finding out the truth. But unlike many other successful crime dramas, the lack of a clear suspect only serves to make this series more gripping and believable.

It is only now, eight years on from Oliver's disappearance, that his father Tony (James Nesbitt) has a real chance at closure, and the impact of so much grieving is evident in his restless behaviour. Here is a man who no longer cares about the effect his desperate hope has on others, including his ex-wife, Emily (Frances O'Connor).

 

Nesbitt remains thoroughly convincing as the doggedly-searching dad, while Turkish-French actor Tcheky Karyo offsets his unpredictability brilliantly as experienced detective Julien Baptiste.

While the shifts in time and language can be confusing at times, the complexity immerses viewers into the disorientation and panic of Oliver's parents.

There is a persistent sense that something is slipping under our radar. Tony's delayed realisation that Vincent Bourg (Titus de Voogdt) said "I will say nothing" in French when surprised in his apartment is a key plot twist this episode, but lost at first in translation. Such misunderstandings are frustrating, but crucially tighten the tension.

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Tony refuses to give up the search for his son Oliver in The Missing

It is the subtleties that make The Missing such a heart-thumping watch. From Ian Garrett’s unsettling look while discussing Bourg with Tony to the eerie music underpinning tense moments, nothing is safe or certain.

Some scenes are particularly painful to watch, notably Emily's hallucinatory breakdown by the swimming pool where Oliver was abducted and Tony's hushed whisper in the dark: "I know you blame me but we'll find him, I promise"

Four episodes remain and judging by the relentless twists and turns so far, we'll be biting our nails even more furiously next week.

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