When we last left former agent and vigilante mother Becca Winstone, she'd been shot and left to die in a river after leading agents to the warehouse where her missing son Michael had previously been held. Never fear, readers -- it's only episode two of 'Missing,' and our loose cannon Becca isn't giving up so easily.

Becca climbs out of the river and heads to a local restaurant where she asks an ally named Sylvie to help her mend her bullet wound. Sylvie cautions her to stay away from deputy director of French intelligence Antoine Lussier, but of course she can't. Becca gets herself arrested and uses leverage against Lussier in the form of a hard drive that holds evidence that could cost Lussier his job. She threatens to turn the evidence over to various intelligence agencies unless he uses his resources to help her find her son.

Hard Drive turns out to be a man -- an asset with valuable information on Lussier (thanks to his "autobiographical memory") who is hesitant to testify because he fears for his life. Agent Miller and his team work to uncover the connecti0n between Becca and Lussier, requesting a sealed file on Becca's dismissed case against him. Becca linked Lussier to a murder, but the agency refused to back her and the case was summarily dismissed.

Lussier sends Becca a video of Michael in captivity and demands that she bring him Hard Drive or he won't continue his efforts in assisting her.

Hard Drive tries to appeal to Becca's maternal sensibilities by revealing he has a wife and daughters, but she deigns to turn him over to Lussier anyway -- that is, until Lussier opens fire on Hard Drive and Becca decides to protect him and his family instead, knowing that Lussier obviously doesn't have her son.

It's an episode filled with power plays, leverage, and double-crossing, with Miller joining up with Lussier and Becca working with Hard Drive to get the video of her son off Lussier's computer. And while it's still not as suspenseful as the intense music score so forcefully suggests, it's an episode that shows solid forward momentum.

Becca discovers that Lussier had more info on her Michael's kidnapping than she initially suspected, as evidenced by the information on his computer showing that his kidnappers are most likely changing his location via private plane.

Last week's biggest issue seemed to be the woeful, belabored narrative set-up. This week is absent of any of the obligatory bricklaying and instead gives Becca a chance to do more interesting detective work. While last week painted Becca as some sort of super-agent, incapable of encountering a bad lead or any bad luck at all, really, this week finds her beset with road blocks and legitimate conflicts. She has to engage with various agencies, evade arrest, and broker deals. There's a marked difference between Becca's procedural digging last week and the Becca that has to rely more on her wits this week.

At episode's end Becca has tracked down the plane on which she believes her son will be transported. As she approaches the runway she sees her son screaming and calling out for her. It's a welcome turn of events; what appeared to be a show that would largely find Becca Winstone chasing down her son and his captors only to find empty rooms where they had just been has proven itself less redundant. Granted, this is only week two, but the developments in "Hard Drive" are painting a more promising picture.

Ashley Judd's mystery thrillers of the 90s felt like movies made for TV -- only slightly better and with higher production value, of course -- which is why it seems like 'Missing,' a show that is essentially one of these films stretched out and broken down into 10 episodes, should play well on the small screen in weekly hour-long increments. Still, 'Missing' feels like it's lacking, and perhaps the limited runtime and contained storytelling format of film was the reason why her earlier work felt more effective.



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