The Missing (TV series)

The Missing is a British anthology drama television series written by brothers Harry and Jack Williams. It debuted in the UK on BBC One on 28 October 2014, and in the United States on Starz on 15 November 2014.[1] The Missing is an international co-production between the BBC and Starz.[2] The first eight-part series, about the search for a missing boy in France, was directed by Tom Shankland.[3][4] It stars Tchéky Karyo as Julien Baptiste, the French detective who leads the case, with James Nesbitt and Frances O'Connor as the boy's parents.[2]

The Missing
Created by
  • Harry Williams
  • Jack Williams
Written by
  • Harry Williams
  • Jack Williams
Directed by
Theme music composerAmatorski
Opening theme"Come Home"
Composer(s)Dominik Scherrer
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes16
Executive producer(s)
CinematographyOle Bratt Birkeland
Editor(s)Úna Ní Dhonghaíle
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkBBC One
Original release28 October 2014 (2014-10-28) 
30 November 2016 (2016-11-30)
Related showsBaptiste
External links
BBC Programme website

The second eight-part series, about a missing girl in Germany, was directed by Ben Chanan. It was broadcast in the UK, on BBC One, from 12 October 2016[5] and in the United States, on Starz, on 12 February 2017.[6] Tchéky Karyo returns as Julien Baptiste, with David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes as the girl's parents.

Both series received positive reviews, with critics praising the cast, especially Tchéky Karyo's performance, and the storytelling.

In February 2019, a spin-off series titled Baptiste was broadcast on BBC One, again starring Karyo and written by Jack and Harry Williams.

Series one


The series was originally titled The Breakdown.[7] Filming began in February 2014 with help from the Belgian government's tax shelter scheme. The series was co-produced by New Pictures, Company Pictures, Two Brothers Pictures and Playground Entertainment with Fortis Film Fund, Czar TV Productions and Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie.[8] The distributor is All3Media who sold the series at MIPCOM.[9] The series producer is Chris Clough and the executive producers are Charlie Pattinson, Willow Grylls and Elaine Pyke for New Pictures, John Yorke for Company Pictures, Harry and Jack Williams for Two Brothers Pictures, Polly Hill for the BBC, Colin Callender for Playground Entertainment and Eurydice Gysel for Czar TV Productions. The Missing was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson for BBC One.[2]

Although the first story is set in France and the United Kingdom, most of the scenes were filmed in Huy, Halle, Charleroi and Brussels, Belgium,[10] taking advantage of the Belgian Tax Shelter for film funding.[8] Only a few scenes were shot in Paris and London.


Tony Hughes, his wife Emily and their five-year-old son Oliver, are traveling from the United Kingdom to northern France for a holiday. It is the summer of 2006, during the FIFA World Cup. Soon after entering France, their car breaks down. They are forced to spend the night in the fictional small town of Châlons du Bois. That evening, Tony and Oliver visit a crowded outdoor bar, where a quarter-finals football match is being watched. Tony loses sight of his son, who goes missing.

Eight years later, Oliver has not been found; the police have closed their investigation. Now divorced, Tony has continued to search for his son after seeing a recent photograph in which a little boy is wearing a scarf identical to the one Oliver was wearing on the day he disappeared and made for him with a unique insignia. Tony and Julien Baptiste, the retired detective who led the original investigation, start to put the pieces together. The police decide to officially reopen the case.[10][11]


  • James Nesbitt as Tony Hughes, father of the missing boy, Oliver Hughes. Tony feels partly responsible for his disappearance and has therefore devoted his life to finding his son.
  • Frances O'Connor as Emily Hughes, mother of Oliver and wife of Tony in 2006. Emily is devastated by the disappearance of her son and her relationship with Tony breaks down, leading her to start a relationship with detective Mark Walsh, to whom she is engaged in 2014.
  • Tchéky Karyo as Julien Baptiste, lead detective on Oliver's case. Julien rejoins Tony when they find further evidence in 2014, but is still scarred by past events. His daughter is a drug addict who refuses his help regularly.
  • Jason Flemyng as Mark Walsh; an English detective holidaying in Châlons De Bois in 2006. He starts a relationship with Emily.
  • Ken Stott as Ian Garrett; a property developer constructing his family holiday home near Châlons De Bois. Ian becomes a benefactor for the Hughes but holds dark secrets that could be linked to Oliver's disappearance.
  • Diana Quick as Mary Garrett; Ian's wife, still scarred by the disappearance of her own daughter years ago.
  • Arsher Ali as Malik Suri; an English journalist who is determined to make his big break by any means. By bribing corrupt detective Khalid Ziane, he has obtained evidence that could lead to Oliver's killer.
  • Titus De Voogdt as Vincent Bourg; who is living near Châlons De Bois in 2006. He is the police's first suspect due to his reputation as a paedophile, and ends up setting out to 'cure' himself of his obsession.
  • Saïd Taghmaoui as Khalid Ziane; a corrupt police officer who hands vital evidence to Malik Suri and later resorts to violence to cover up his actions.
  • Anastasia Hille as Celia Baptiste; Julien's wife who is devastated by her daughter's addiction.
  • Oliver Hunt as Oliver Hughes; the Hughes' young son who vanishes on their holiday in 2006.
  • Jean-François Wolff as Alain Deloix; the owner of Hotel Eden, the hotel where the Hughes are staying in Châlons De Bois. He is a recovering alcoholic.
  • Eric Godon as Georges Deloix; Alain's brother and the Mayor of Châlons De Bois, who continually stops the police from reopening the case in 2014.
  • Émilie Dequenne as Laurence Relaud
  • Anamaria Marinca as Rini Dalca
  • Johan Leysen as Karl Sieg
  • Camille Schotte as Sara Baptiste; Julien Baptiste's daughter, suffering from addiction

Series two


The second series was confirmed in December 2014[12][13] and production began in February 2016. Again written by Harry and Jack Williams, this series was directed by Ben Chanan. The filming locations were Morocco, Belgium (Malmedy, Brussels & Ghent) and Germany.[14] Episode 4 shows a Hanover hospital (which was filmed in Az Sint-Lucas Ghent) and episode 5 shows soldiers marching over the Vesdre dam in eastern Belgium, and the fictional Vaaren in Switzerland is Monschau.


The story is paralleled by flashbacks to 2014 and is set near a British army garrison in Eckhausen, Germany. In 2014 police tell Sam and Gemma Webster, whose daughter Alice went missing in 2003, that Alice has reappeared and claims she had been held captive with Sophie Giroux, a French girl who disappeared about the same time. Retired French detective Julien Baptiste, who was in charge of the Giroux investigation, cannot resist becoming involved again and travels to Germany and Iraq to find answers.



Series summary

SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAvg. UK viewers
First airedLast aired
1828 October 2014 (2014-10-28)16 December 2014 (2014-12-16)7.37
2812 October 2016 (2016-10-12)30 November 2016 (2016-11-30)8.06

Series one

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
11"Eden"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams28 October 2014 (2014-10-28)6.28
22"Pray for Me"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams4 November 2014 (2014-11-04)7.66
33"The Meeting"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams11 November 2014 (2014-11-11)7.68
44"Gone Fishing"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams18 November 2014 (2014-11-18)7.12
55"Molly"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams25 November 2014 (2014-11-25)7.30
66"Concrete"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams2 December 2014 (2014-12-02)6.88
77"Return to Eden"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams9 December 2014 (2014-12-09)7.33
88"Till Death"Tom ShanklandHarry Williams & Jack Williams16 December 2014 (2014-12-16)8.70

Series two

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
91"Come Home"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams12 October 2016 (2016-10-12)9.20
In 2003 Alice Webster, 11, is abducted in Germany, where her father is stationed on a British Army base. In 2014, just before Christmas, a barefoot and traumatised Alice re-appears in the same town, suffering from acute appendicitis. She claims that she was held captive with a French girl, Sophie Giroux, who went missing around the same time. Retired French detective Julien Baptiste, an expert on the Giroux case, investigates. He suspects that she may not be Alice.[16]
102"The Turtle and the Stick"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams19 October 2016 (2016-10-19)8.27
In 2014 Baptiste and the girl visit an abandoned WWII bunker where she says she was held. A receipt found at the bunker is traced to a local butcher, Kristian Herz. The girl formally identifies Herz as her captor after Brigadier Adrian Stone surreptitiously threatens the girl, by way of a fable, evidently implicating himself in some way. In 2016 Baptiste has a brain tumour. He flies to Kirkuk, Iraq, searching for a British Army Trooper Daniel Reed. Baptiste feels he is being followed. Assisted by a resident European reporter, he approaches the front line where the two are captured by Peshmerga soldiers.[17]
113"A Prison Without Walls"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams26 October 2016 (2016-10-26)7.93
In 2014 Baptiste confronts the girl, speaking in French, calling her Sophie. She runs away, buys a can of petrol and hides it in the garden shed. At dinner she shocks the Webster family by telling of a roller coaster ride she enjoyed while abducted, and claims she still does not feel free. She asks Matthew to lock her in the shed, and to do a favour: to visit Herz in prison and apologise for her actions. That night the shed is ablaze. Sam is badly burned attempting to save her but only a corpse remains. In 2016 the Peshmerga soldiers lead Baptiste to Daniel Reed, AWOL, who tells him he has discovered a dark secret about his father; Henry Reed had been making regular payments to a Mirza Barzani in Erbil. Gemma, who has started to consider Baptiste's suspicion, finds a photograph of Alice with Sophie on the roller coaster.
124"Statice"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams2 November 2016 (2016-11-02)7.77
In 2014 Baptiste encounters Lenhart, the investigating German police officer, and they decide to join forces. CCTV shows the girl buying flowers. They are told she would have taken them to the cemetery. They find the statice on Reed's grave. In 2016 Baptiste in Iraq finally locates Mirza Barzani, who says that Reed had been making regular compensation payments for a certain crime that Reed and his "army friend Stone" had committed in 1991 against his then 9-year-old sister. By 2016 Stone is suffering from dementia. Gemma notices a third girl on the roller coaster with Alice and Sophie.
135"Das Vergessen"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams9 November 2016 (2016-11-09)8.03
In 2014 Baptiste and Lenhart inspect Henry Reed's house in Eckhausen where he had apparently committed suicide. Phone records lead them to a prostitute who had visited the house on the night of his death. She confirms Baptiste's suspicions that it was not suicide but murder. In 2016 Stone admits to Baptiste that "three of us" did something to a girl. German police officer Lenhart identifies the third girl on the roller coaster as Lena Garber who also went missing. He visits the army press officer Adam Gettrick at his home. A young child appears unexpectedly from upstairs and shows Lenhart a drawing, saying it is of herself and her mother in the cellar. Gettrick overpowers Lenhart and kills him with a drill.
146"Saint John"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams16 November 2016 (2016-11-16)7.42
In 2015 Sam starts an affair with Sergeant Stone. Matthew steals an army Land Rover and his father takes the blame. In 2016 Sam confesses to his wife that Stone is pregnant. Baptiste persuades Gemma to illicitly copy army files that show that the senior British officer in Iraq during 1991 was Nadia Herz. Baptiste accosts Herz, and she admits she knows something about the crime that happened there.
157"1991"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams23 November 2016 (2016-11-23)7.79
Iraq 1991. Stone and Reed rescue Gettrick and set fire to the house, killing an Iraqi father and daughter. In 2016 Nadia Herz briefs Baptiste on all she knows about the incident. Baptiste is arrested on suspicion of assaulting Stone. After his release, he and Gemma break into Gettrick's home and uncover a padlocked cellar door. Gettrick drives, with the small child, to a house hidden in the woods in Switzerland. In the boot of the car is Alice Webster, who is re-imprisoned at the house.
168"The Mountain"Ben ChananHarry Williams & Jack Williams30 November 2016 (2016-11-30)8.04
In 2014 Sophie develops appendicitis and Gettrick kills Reed. He instructs her to pose as Alice; releasing her to seek medical help. In 2016 Baptiste and the Websters search Gettrick's house and deduce he has left for Vaaren in Switzerland. Baptiste and the Websters close in on Gettrick, who ends up shooting Sam. The Swiss police arrive after Eve traces Baptiste's phone. Gettrick is captured by the police and Alice is freed. When Gettrick is interrogated he admits that he had placed Lena's body in the burning shed. Sam does not survive. Kristian Herz is released from prison. Sophie is reunited with her father, who meets Lucy, his grand-daughter, for the first time. Eve confronts her father over the events in Iraq, but his dementia seems to prevent him from understanding. Baptiste undergoes brain surgery.


The first series of The Missing was met with critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has earned a "Certified Fresh" score of 96%, with an average rating of 8.4/10 out of 28 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Missing turns a common premise into a standout thriller with heartfelt, affecting performances."[18] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 85 out of 100 based on 21 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[19] The Guardian called it "hauntingly brilliant television".[20] The Daily Telegraph described it as "supremely compelling".[21] The Independent said it was "tense [...] absorbing [...] mercilessly believable".[22] The New York Times wrote "The Missing is imaginatively written, well cast, chillingly believable and quite addictive. This kind of story has been told this way before, but somehow that doesn’t make this telling any less compelling."[23]

The final episode was discussed heavily on the social networking site Twitter, with over 1,000 tweets being posted per minute. The series has been hailed by some as being superior to its ITV counterpart Broadchurch.[24] Gerard O'Donovan, in The Telegraph, however, referred to the final episode as "... a manipulation too far.... I mostly felt that sinking feeling you get when a book or series you've loved goes wrong in the final stretch."[25]

In January 2015, at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, the series was nominated for Best Miniseries or Television Film and Frances O'Connor was nominated for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film.[26] For the 5th Critics' Choice Television Awards, James Nesbitt was nominated for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries.[27] At the 2015 British Academy Television Awards, the series received four nominations — Best Drama Series, Radio Times Audience Award, Nesbitt for Best Actor and Ken Stott for Best Supporting Actor.[28] For the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, Tom Shankland received a nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special.[29]

The second series was also met with critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has earned a "Certified Fresh" score of 100%, with an average rating of 8.55/10 out of 15 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Missing's astute narrative and intense perplexity allow for more thrills and exciting guesswork in season 2."[30] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 76 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31]


  1. Bibel, Sara (7 August 2014). "Limited Series 'The Missing' to Premiere Saturday, 15 November on Starz". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  2. 3Goldberg, Lesley (6 March 2014). "Starz, BBC to Co-Produce Family Thriller 'The Missing'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  3. White, Peter (7 March 2014). "Starz boards BBC's The Missing". Broadcast Now. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  4. Littleton, Cynthia (6 March 2014). "Starz and BBC Team on Limited Drama 'The Missing'". Variety. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  5. Kemp, Stuart (16 December 2014). "The Missing will get second series, BBC confirms". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  6. "Missing Season 2 Premiere Date & Key Art Revealed". 15 December 2016.
  7. Stevens, Christopher (13 December 2014). "So who do YOU think did it? As The Missing prepares for its thrilling climax, CHRISTOPHER STEVENS turns detective to try and solve the smash-hit kidnap TV series that has gripped the nation". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  8. Creamer, Jon (6 March 2014). "Filming starts on BBC1 James Nesbitt drama The Missing". Televisual. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  9. "Starz, BBC and Company Pictures team for abduction drama". TBI Vision. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  10. Shankland, Tom (4 November 2014). "The Missing: Finding the location for a dark journey". BBC. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  11. O'Donovan, Gerard (28 October 2014). "The Missing, review: 'supremely compelling'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  12. Prudom, Laura (18 February 2016). "'The Missing' Season 2 Gets Greenlight, David Morrissey to Star". Variety. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  13. Goldberg, Lesley (16 December 2014). "Starz Renews Anthology 'The Missing' for Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  14. IJPR (4 October 2016). "A child goes missing - and returns 11 years later, in the second series by Harry and Jack Williams". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  15. "Top 30 Programmes". BARB. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  16. Gill, James (12 October 2016). "The Missing series 2 episode 1 recap: what really happened to Alice Webster?". RadioTimes. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  17. Gill, James (19 October 2016). "The Missing series 2 episode 2: what is Roger Allam's character Brigadier Stone up to?". RadioTimes. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  18. "The Missing: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  19. "The Missing - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  20. Wollaston, Sam (29 October 2014). "The Missing review – hauntingly brilliant television". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  21. O'Donovan, Gerard (28 October 2014). "The Missing, review: 'supremely compelling'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  22. Jones, Ellen (29 October 2014). "The Missing, BBC1 - review: Mercilessly believable performances as father searches for missing son". The Independent. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  23. Stanley, Alessandra (13 November 2014). "'The Missing', on Starz: 8-Year Odyssey to Solve a Mystery". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  24. Robinson, Martin (17 December 2014). "'Chilling and mesmerising': Fans hail The Missing 'better than Broadchurch' as millions tune in to watch finale that sparks 1,000 tweets a minute...and series two is already on the way". Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  25. O'Donovan, Gerard (17 December 2014). "The Missing, final episode, review: 'a manipulation too far'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  26. Mitovich, Matt Webb (11 December 2014). "Golden Globes: Fargo, True Detective Lead Nominations; Jane the Virgin, Transparent Score Multiple Nods". TVLine. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  27. "Critics' Choice Awards Winners: Full List". Variety. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  28. "Bafta TV awards 2015: Winners in full". BBC. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  29. Hipes, Patrick (16 July 2015). "Emmy Nominations 2015 – Full List". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  30. "The Missing: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  31. "The Missing - Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
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