Baptiste marks the return of French detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo), who you’ll remember from The Missing, but after two series of that, they wanted to make a third (and it’s still on the cards), but it would be set in London, and how can you bring the man back across the water when he’s got crime to stop whilst on holiday in Amsterdam?
So, writers Harry Williams and Jack Williams (Liar) decided that if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain, and while I don’t want to refer to Mr Karyo as a mountain… look, you get where I’m going with this. After the end of The Missing Series 2 concluded with Julien Baptiste going under for an operation, and counting backwards and stopping at “trois”, a third series with him had to come about in some form, and here we are.
And you can’t help but laugh in the opening scene when the actions take place to The Bellamy Brothers’ Let Your Love Flow booming out! 😀
Sex worker Natalie Rose (Anna Próchniak) has gone… yes, you guessed it, missing, as reported by her uncle, Edward Stratton (Tom Hollander), and he can’t just go on roaming the red district streets with a picture of her, he needs some help from our titular lead at the request of Baptiste’s former other half, Martha (Barbara Sarafian), and it’ll take him precisely six episodes to do the job.
We’re told early on (and you see him in that opening scene) that the man everyone’s looking for is the Romanian chap, Dragomir, so don’t panic. This is NOT a case of “Whodunnit”. We know that, but the issue is who how long until everyone else cottons on? Probably five-and-a-half episodes by my estimation 😉
In this first episode, both Karyo and Hollander play their roles brilliantly, with the script hinting at a clue or two which haven’t yet been divulged to them – so it follows that trope of letting us in on a little information. It won’t change your world, but it’s really enjoyable.
Finally, if you ever find yourself in the fantastic city of Amsterdam, do check out their famous Sex Museum. It’s absolutely hilarious.
Episode 2: Well, the second episode jumped the shark. I won’t give spoilers, so suffice to say that what happened in Natalie’s story was completely ridiculous, while one character just opens someone else’s front door with a credit card. Come on, guys, at least TRY and stay somehow rooted in reality?
In fact, the whole of the last five minutes was junk.
I hope this improves next week, but it’s taken a sharp downturn tonight… but a bit more to state why it annoyed me:
Episode 3 – and a spoiler header to hide the… spoilers:
Episode 4: Well, it was another case of not having a clue what was going on, most of the time, with elements coming out of the blue, such as what happened to one particular character when approached by a motorcycle gang, but at least the brilliant Tom Hollander made it worth watching…. just about.
Episode 5: More twists and turns, which I won’t spoil, but none of it making any particular sense, as well as certain individuals getting bumped off who I didn’t care about.
Episode 6 left us with that feeling that anyone can be a gad guy or a bad gal, so you can’t trust anyone, but that just made this feel like they had no idea which way to take it and so just wrote any old nonsense. As for the scene when Jessica Raine returns home, she clearly realises someone else has broken in, but rather than leave and call for back-up, she stays and tries to tackle whoever’s there! Duh!
Beyond that, it just felt like a bland episode with a ridiculous conclusion to the story,
Baptiste continues next Sunday on BBC1 at 9pm. The series is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on April 1st.
You can also buy a boxset of The Missing Series 1 & 2 on DVD.
You can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 7/10
Episode 2 Score: 5/10
Episode 3 Score: 2/10
Episode 4 Score: 4/10
Episode 5 Score: 4/10
Episode 6 Score: 3/10
Series Directors: Jan Matthys, Börkur Sigþórsson
Producer: John Griffin
Writers: Harry Williams, Jack Williams
Music: Dominik Scherrer
Julien Baptiste: Tchéky Karyo
Edward Stratton: Tom Hollander
Celia Baptiste: Anastasia Hille
Natalie Rose: Anna Próchniak
Constantin: Alec Secareanu
Richard Stratton: Nicholas Woodeson
Martha: Barbara Sarafian
Kim: Talisa Garcia
Greg: Trystan Gravelle
Clare: Clare Calbraith
Sara: Camille Schotte
Ron: Omar Baroud
Nicolae: Zachary Baharov
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.