Suspense stories—specifically suspense stories centered around women—are definitely having a moment in the spotlight…and why shouldn’t they? Complex characters, mysteries that have you eagerly turning the page or keeping your eyes glued to the screen as you desperately try to piece together the clues? These books, TV shows, and movies know how to suck you in and get you addicted, and the upcoming Absentia is no exception!
I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening of the first episode. Since the show isn’t out for everyone yet (Jan 21st on Showcase in Canada and Feb 2nd on Amazon for America), I’m going to keep this review spoiler free, so no twists will be spoiled here.
Absentia follows Special Agent Emily Byrne, who has been missing and presumed dead for six years until one night, her husband--Special Agent Nick Durand, who has since remarried and gotten his life back to normal—receives a call revealing her whereabouts. Emily is then rescued with very little memory of what exactly happened to her over the last six years. What follows is an investigation full of twists and turns you won’t see coming as Emily tries to not only figure out what happened to her, but whether or not she herself is guilty of murder.
The first thing I picked up on right away is the character dynamics. Not just a police procedural with a twist, Absentia has the added layer of Emily’s relationship with her husband…who has since remarried. Her son was only a baby when she went missing, and he’s now been raised by a completely different woman and has no recollection of who this new strange woman in his life is. Of course, Nick’s new wife, Alice, now has to deal with the unsteady position she finds herself in—what do you do when your husband’s supposedly dead wife suddenly returns? Emily, played by Castle’s Stana Katic, also has to deal with the reality of being missing for years while life went on without her. It’s a fascinating issue to watch play out on screen as this family must work out their relationships with one another.
The second thing that I thought was handled really well was the depiction of Emily’s abduction. The character doesn’t really remember much, so we only get flashes of it, but what you see is absolutely brutal and usually contrasted with footage of her time before her abduction—playing with her dog or her son, enjoying time with her family—before we’re abruptly cut back to her situation as a captive. It really lets us get into her head and see what it’s like from her perspective to be involved in something so horrible, and then put back into normal life again.
As with many other stories full of crime and murder, this one is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you’re a huge suspense junkie, however, definitely give Absentia a watch. Featuring great performances, fascinating relationships, and a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you definitely won’t want to miss this!