TV Review: "Missing"

I See What They Did There...

Ashley Judd stars in ABC's latest thriller. "Missing." She plays former CIA Operative Rebecca Winstone who, after her husband (Sean Bean) is assassinated while on assignment in Austria, leaves the Agency to raise her son Michael. When Michael (Nick Eversman) leaves for Rome to study architecture, he is abducted by persons unknown for reasons unknown and Becca is off to search for him.

Once in Rome, Becca makes contact with former lover Giancarlo (Ocean's Twelve's  Adriano Giannini), who helps her evade both the police and Interpol. She is being tracked by European CIA deputy Dax Miller (Maori hottie Cliff Curtis, most recently seen on TV in "Body of Proof"), who has been instructed to bring her in, no matter what. It is through Miller that we learn that Becca was one of the Agency's best operatives (because her file is so slim).

Known for big-screen thrillers like Kiss the Girls; High Crimes and Double Jeopardy, Judd has transitioned nicely into the "Mom" role, while maintaining her tough-girl attitude. The last time I saw her, she was in the terrible 2006 film adaptation of Tracy Lett's play Bug, unsuccessfully playing against type as a woman who allows herself to get caught up in her lover's madness. She's done a few things since, most recently appearing in the family film A Dolphin's Tale. Judd is also one of the co-producers of "Missing." She's fine her as a desperate and resourceful mother, but doesn't do much to add to her resume of desperate and resourceful characters. And Curtis also seems to simply be playing yet another stock character from his cop resume. 

The best part of "Missing" so far, has been the European locations. It can't be a cheap show to produce, though I fear it may go the way of NBC's world-wide locale CIA show, "Undercovers" (which starred the impossibly gorgeous Boris Kodjoe). Pilot director Steve Shill ("Dexter") may have an eye for locations, but the fight scenes in the "Missing" pilot (particularly the one on the train) are a muddied mess, shot in low light and filled with multiple jump cuts that leave viewers wondering just what the heck is happening.

I'll probably keep watching, if only to figure out why Michael has apparently been targeted since he was 8 and to see some gorgeous footage of Europe's most beautiful cities, if for no other reasons. I can't say that the first episode got me intrigued enough to fully invest my time in yet another TV series, unlike the pilot episode of "The Walking Dead," which immediately got me hooked. As a mid-season replacement series, it's not bad. But it's not particularly good, either. ** (Two Stars Out of Four).



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