The Missing came to an end on BBC 1 tonight, after eight weeks of mounting tension. I don't intend to say anything in this post that amounts to a spoiler, which limits the scope of my comments. But one thing I can say is that, for me,this series was second only to the superb Happy Valley as British television crime series of the year. I said when reviewing episode one that I intended to watch the following week, and soon I was completely hooked. It became must-watch television.
A great deal of credit goes to the writers, Harry and Jack Williams, as well as to an excellent cast. James Nesbitt and Frances O'Connor were brilliant as the parents whose five year old son goes missing during a holiday in France, portraying with great sensitivity the trauma of such a terrible experience,and also the different ways in which their characters struggled to deal with an almost unimaginable calamity.
I say 'almost' unimaginable,because I suspect many, perhaps most, parents have found themselves contemplating, at one time or another, what it would feel like if such a catastrophe tore their lives apart. But it's not the sort of thing one wants to dwell on for very long. For me, the emotions portrayed in some scenes of The Missing were almost too much to bear.
That's not to say it was a perfect story in terms of plotting, and I had mixed feelings about the one or two aspects of the final episode, and the final scene in particular. Some viewers, I know, have found the switches between events surrounding the disappearance and those of the present day quite hard to follow, although I felt the transitions were done quite smoothly, given the complexity of the story structure. Overall, this was a powerful and affecting drama, and one that will stay in my mind for a long time.