I saw that there was a show about missing girls, and two women investigating, tracking down the truth. Originally, I thought it was some fact-based pseudo-documentary, which doesn’t really interest me most of the time. But it got some buzz and I flagged it for the future. Tonight I managed to get through EP1, and I would say it is more Twin Peaks than Law & Order or True Crime.
In the opener, a mild-mannered but psycho trucker kidnaps a part-time hooker, and then adds a couple of young girls to the mix who pissed him off on the highway. In the meantime, there are three women running around at a PI firm, a husband of one of them that the other is sleeping with, and a state trooper. Oh, and the guy’s mother, a couple of people in a truck stop, the girls’ mother, boyfriend, various spouses, etc.
I confess, I thought there would be a mystery. Instead, you see the bad guy from the start. No doubt, not unclear. There’s a giant twist at the end of the episode that takes it into the conspiracy theory world, something with human trafficking and who is involved, but other than that, it’s relatively routine. I’m not sure where to start for the acting.
Start with the investigators
Okay, there are two female investigators, with prior law enforcement backgrounds, a male PI, and their office manager. They’re the driving force for the investigation because when the two young girls go missing, they were on their way to see one of their family members. It’s a little confused, I forget which one, doesn’t matter. They have a link, they’re going to investigate their disappearance. Maybe it’s nothing, car break down, or cell phone reception, or an accident, something. Until the local state trooper mentions that they have a number of young girls who have gone missing from the area in recent months. Why would he mention it to a PI? He wouldn’t, but the story needs some prodding. VICAP shows most of them disappeared from truck stops (oh, yeah, the bad guy is a trucker).
For the two women, the scorned woman whose husband cheated on her is played by Vikings’ Katheryn Winnick. She did a decent fight scene, but other than that, most of her character in EP1 is stuck in PO mode. Yawn. The woman who slept with her husband is played by Kylie Bunbury, and I totally did NOT place her as the star of Pitch a few seasons ago. She looks totally different…almost mature, compared to the youthful ballplayer previously. I like her, I like her acting, not a whole lot for her to do in EP1 though. She has one scene of substance, but it’s one-sided, so hard to see how it evolves. They’re supported in the office by Dedee Pfeiffer, and while I have seen her in stuff all the way back to Cybill, I didn’t get much of a feel for her. She had a couple of good scenes, but very small.
Switch to the bad guys
So the killer truck driver is played by Brian Geraghty, and he has a long list of credits all the way back to the Hurt Locker. None of them really resonate with me, and while the show is written with him as a hen-pecked boy by his mother, the only scene where he shines is when interacting with the part-time hooker.
His mother, by contrast, is far creepier. Valerie Mahaffey usually comes off as a bit spacey, almost like she’s on perpetual drugs. Not just here, most of her roles where I’ve seen her! She’s obsessed with her son, and as I said, she seems scarier than he does. He’s just nuts; she’s creepy too.
Maybe the victims?
Natalie Alyn Lind plays the driver of the car that gets in a road rage incident with the trucker, and I struggled to place her. I knew it was some sort of superhero show, but I could not identify her as one half of the Strucker twins from The Gifted. She’s okay as an actress, not a lot of range in that show, but she was better (I thought) on Gotham. The others? Meh.
So that leaves me with investigators I can’t get much a feel for, a weak villain, and a victim that doesn’t scream “save me” so much as “will you stop whining if someone DOES save you?”. Harsh, I know.
But I don’t really care. If I didn’t know who the killer was, I might be able to care about what happened. A totally different style of story, but here it seems like an hour-long episode of exposition. Except for the last 30s, which was shocking as a twist, sure, but not enough for me to come back.
TV Grim Reaper is predicting renewal, and he’s likely not wrong, although I don’t know where the case goes after Season 1. But I won’t be watching…I’m already out after EP1, and I would vote for cancellation.