Absentia Pilot Reviews

Absentia 1×01 – Comeback

"I don't know who I'm supposed to be."

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What an unexpectedly captivating thriller.

The story of an FBI agent who is kidnapped by a serial killer and presumed dead for six years, Absentia grabs hold of you right from its opening frames and never lets go. The pilot’s script doesn’t reveal much about Agent Byrne’s days in captivity, but the glimpses we get are absolutely terrifying. It helps that the show’s star is Stana Katic. I’ve never seen Castle, but the actress is phenomenal in the role. I found myself completely invested in her traumatic journey, and Katic taps into just the right dose of humanity and vulnerability. Her reunion with her traumatized son is a gut-wrenching moment, and the pilot’s more memorable moment. Moreover, as a formidable FBI agent, Emily Byrne is also tough-as-nails and relentless. I’m certainly looking forward to watching the show unravel her complex psyche.

As for the rest of the cast, Patrick Heusinger makes the biggest impression as Emily’s husband Special Agent Nick Durand. Obviously Nick got remarried after his wife was presumed dead, and this complication adds a whole other layer of drama to the proceedings. Refreshingly, the show doesn’t tackle this “love triangle” in a cliche manner. The awkward situation is tackled with the uncomfortable nuance it deserves, and Heusinger’s turn is both subtle and heartbreaking. Impressive.

Finally, Absentia is gorgeously filmed. Much like Big Little Lies and The Night Of, (two of my favorite series of the past year), all ten episodes of the show’s first season are helmed by a single director: Oded Ruskin. I love this approach because it ensures a consistent tone and visual palette. This pilot is haunting, claustrophobic, and borderline anxiety-inducing. It’s not for everyone, but it’s disturbingly well done.

P.S. The show’s premise reminded me a great deal of Alias’ third season (which also dealt with an agent’s missing years). Seeing as how that spy-thriller is one of my favorite shows of all time, I couldn’t be happier.

Conclusion
A gripping and elegantly-constructed mystery with a powerful performance at its center. Highly recommended.

Nad Rating
A

6 comments

  1. Perfectly stated! Thanks for reminding me about this show, I’d been looking forward to it since the very vague teasers first popped up. I guess that’s the reason we loved it so much? We never knew TOO much about the story. Kinda makes you wish all shows do that.

    Really really impressive pilot. Can’t wait for more!

  2. Spot on – totally agree. You’re gonna love the next 3 episodes! There’s something so oddly creepy about it, and it’s one of these shows where the 40+ minutes just fly by.

    Can I take credit for this one?

    1. Hhah you can def take credit! Thank you so much for the recommendation! Already downloaded the rest 😄

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