Back in the fall, I never saw much about a series called Absentia. I saw media reports earlier that Stana Katic, fresh off of Castle, was going to be in a new show sometime, but that was about it. But I recently saw a banner blurb about the show, and I thought it was just premiering this month, with no context for what it was. I assumed it was a generic mid-season replacement.
Imagine my surprise to find out that not only is it Stana Katic’s show, but it already premiered back in September and the first ten episodes have already aired. WTF?
Okay, so I’ve watched episode one, and it is a mind mess of epic proportions. Katic plays Emily Byrne, FBI agent with a husband and child. She disappears, presumed dead at the hands of a serial killer who removes the eyelids of his victims. The killer is convicted, life eventually goes on. Hubby remarries, gets a new mother for his son, son gets bigger.
Then, out of the blue, hubby gets a call…if he wants to save his first wife, he has 60 minutes to get to her location. He rushes out, she’s saved, and the mind freak begins. While she was being held and tortured for six years, life went on without her. Her son doesn’t know her, and has come to view the new wife as his mother. The former one is just a memory. Except now she’s walking around. Hubby is with the new wife, the ex-father-in-law hates the hubby for moving on or something, and a creepy brother is around to lend moral support and give her a place to live.
Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating the cases all over the place — her original murder now abduction, who held her for the six years since the killer that was convicted is still sitting in jail (and he wants out by the way), anything that might tie her old cases to her situation. They get a clue, they zero in on a suspect, all very straightforward until you get to the last 60 seconds when they drop a small bombshell on the case.
Is the show awesome? Not really, some of it has been done before. In fact, there was even a Castle season where he disappeared and came back with no memory. But what is relatively awesome is the muted tragedy of it all. Son trying to figure out what his relationship with his old mom is going to be. New wife feeling threatened initially and trying to hold on to her husband, fighting a ghost who is no longer a ghost. Hubby who gave up, moved on, and now realizes she was alive the whole time. And the victim herself, although there is some evidence in the episode that all is not as it appears to be. Where was she for the whole six years? Was she as out of it as she claims? Or does she not remember? If she was on a hellish island for five years and has come back to take up archery, everyone would call it derivative, but watching them all deal with a very dark situation is, indeed, pretty awesome. Drama without the over-acting.
I even love the husband as the male lead. But I’m suspicious of Daddy, the new wife, the brother, and several police officers. I feel like there’s a Red John twist coming sometime. And I’ll find out when it does, as I’m in for the duration.
The hard part is I have NO idea if the show will be “renewed”. It is very dark for network television, and I’m curious to see if it “lightens” up as she investigates her own abduction, and as evidence mounts against her for some crimes that were committed while she was being held.