The show opens with Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt, Jekyll) in France. Tony is attempting to retrace his family’s steps, during their trip to France, which resulted in the disappearance of his son, Oliver. After calling his wife, Emily, Tony lets her know that the television still doesn’t work and he thinks he’s found something.
We flashback to France in 2006. It is 8 years earlier and Tony is experiencing happier times, with the family. As the family drive down the French road, Tony receives a phone call and has to stop. After finishing the call, the car will not start. At the mechanic, they learn it’ll take approximately two days to get the car repaired. Oliver (Oliver Hunt) and Tony grab some of their belongings from the car, before the family heads to the motel.
When they check into the motel, they’re warned the TV will not work. Oliver happily jumps up and down on the bed, before we flash back to modern times. Tony scours the streets asking people, if they recognize his son. Tony gets a visit from Laurence (Emilie Dequenne), who insists Tony stop, as they’re receiving complaints about his actions.
We are next introduced to a French police officer, Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo). He tells his wife that Tony has returned and insists he has found something. Julien contemplates visiting Tony. We’re next introduced to Mark (Jason Flemyng), who happens to be getting close with Emily. She receives Tony’s voice message and seemingly ignores it.
Again, we flashback to happy times. The family is seen running around France and taking pictures. They then enjoy lunch at a pub. Tony gets a phone call and tells his wife and son that the car has been fixed. Oliver suggests going for a swim. While Emily is initially against the idea, she eventually caves in and gives the boys thirty minutes to swim. Tony and Oliver enjoy a swim at the park, as it begins to grow dark.
The pair visit an outside pub, in order to get some drinks. Everyone is gathered around watching soccer. In the confusion of the crowd, Oliver goes missing. While the crowd cheers on the team, Tony begins to desperately search for Oliver. At this point, Tony is beginning to freak out. Back at the motel, Emily receives a call from Tony, which updates her on the situation. The police, who are busy watching the soccer game, receive a call about the missing boy. They conduct a search, as Tony and Emily talk to the cops.
While the police search for Oliver, the Hughes are sent to the police station. Upon arrival, they are asked for pictures of Oliver, which are promptly turned over. With no luck, the pair returns to the hotel. Tony explains the situation to Emily, who insists she doesn’t blame him. While Emily suggests the pair stay put, Tony goes on the search for Oliver. He wanders the streets calling Oliver’s name, as the locals cheer and celebrate the soccer game.
A day after the disappearance, the police bring in Julien Baptiste to help guide the investigation. In present day, Tony meets with Julien. Tony questions Julien’s pain. Tony mentions all of the bad things written about him involving the disappearance. Tony shows Julien a picture of someone that stayed at the hotel two weeks ago. He investigated on her Facebook and a little boy in the picture is seen wearing the exact same clothes, as Oliver.
Julien suggests Tony give it up and go home. Tony tells Julien is lucky, because he is able to switch off his emotions and leave everything behind, as an investigator. In the meantime, it seems like Emily has all but moved on. Mark suggests getting rid of Oliver’s old belongings. Emily insists Mark drop off the items to a children’s hospital. After Mark leaves, she retreats to the bathroom and calls Malik Suri (Arsher Ali), but says nothing.
Julien begins going through the photos. His wife questions whether or not Tony has really found something. As we return to 2006, Julien has completely taken over the investigation and has a person of interest. Roadblocks are setup to attempt to catch the individual. Meanwhile, the press begins converging on the area. Oliver’s grandparents, Robert (Clive Francis) and Penny (Diana Kent) arrive and join Tony and Emily.
Tony fills Robert in on the situation. He suggests that Oliver could have run off and gone missing. He also suggests Oliver is possibly still alive.
Khalid Ziane (Said Taghmaoui) interviews Malik Suri. Khalid suggests that they’ve sent him an investigator, with no experience. Malik insists Khalid should provide him with information on the case and he will keep quiet about another case. Emily thinks she seems Oliver from the car. They get out of the car and give chase. It isn’t Oliver. It is Mark and his son.
Back in the present day, Tony continues questioning the locals about his son. He spots Julien enter a building and waits for him to leave. Tony confronts Julien and says he knew he would believe him. Julien begins to show Tony all of the pictures they’ve found connected to that day. One picture shows the boy getting into a vehicle. Tony questions whether or not to believe the family.
Meanwhile, Mark and Emily move into their new house and Emily gets breakfast in bed. She seems a little out of it, before thanking them for the effort. She retreats to the bathroom and cries again. Tony and Julien begin to investigate the second hand shops. Julien finds a mention of the yellow scarf in the books for one of the shops. The book contains information regarding the seller of the item. Tony thanks the shopkeeper, before they leave.
A distraught Emily gets on the subway, while Tony and Julien head to the scarf’s seller’s residence. A woman answers the door to them and Julien introduces them. She invites them in. Meanwhile, Emily meets Malik. Emily explains that Tony has gone back and thinks he has found something. She suggests that Malik can find out what he’s found and wants him to find out for her. Despite reservations, Malik says he’ll call her when he knows something.
As Julien and Tony talk to the woman, they ask her if she remembers the scarf. She says she remembers the picture, but not the scarf. On their way out, the woman mentions she had the house decorated and many of the things from her house was removed and taken to the shop. She mentions that while they were away on vacation during 2006, they believe someone could have used their house.
Tony manages to sneak down to the basement of the house. Julien tries to reassure him and get him to leave. Tony insists that his boy was there. Before leaving, he notices a drawing on the wall, which resembles the one Oliver always drew of him.
Wow, the pilot episode of The Missing: Eden was absolutely brilliant, bleak and full of suspense. The rainy, dark setting was perfect for setting the mood for despair and anguish. On the other hand, the 2006 flashbacks were bright, fun and cheery. Still, the mood was mostly bleak and depressing. Right from the very beginning, I was hooked. Everything flowed along perfectly and held my attention throughout.
It would be difficult not to mention the strong performance from James Nesbitt. Of course, France O’Connor and Tcheky Karyo were great as well. Still, Nesbitt’s intriguing performance helped to move the narrative forward. His despair was very believable. When he was depressed, I felt bad for him. When we seemed to be onto some new piece of evidence, I felt sheer joy for Tony.
If The Missing continues to be this good, this could be one of the best mini-series of the year. The pilot episode is definitely worth a 9.5 out of 10.