Absenita’s first season is available February 2nd on Amazon Prime Video.
Absentia grabs hold of you right from its opening frames and never lets go. The show tells the story of an FBI agent who is kidnapped by a serial killer and presumed dead for six years. The first episode doesn’t reveal much about Agent Byrne’s days in captivity, but the glimpses we get are absolutely terrifying. It helps that the show’s star is Stana Katic. Forget Castle, this is a phenomenal performance. I found myself completely invested in her traumatic journey, and Katic taps into just the right dose of humanity and vulnerability. Her reunion with her traumatized son is a gut-wrenching moment, and the pilot’s most memorable moment. Moreover, as a formidable FBI agent, Emily Byrne is also tough-as-nails and relentless.
As for the rest of the cast, Patrick Heusinger makes the biggest impression as Emily’s husband Special Agent Nick Durand. Obviously Nick got remarried after his wife was presumed dead, and this complication adds a whole other layer of drama to the proceedings. Refreshingly, the show doesn’t tackle this “love triangle” in a cliche manner. The awkward situation is tackled with the uncomfortable nuance it deserves, and Heusinger’s turn is both subtle and heartbreaking. Impressive.
Finally, Absentia is gorgeously filmed. Much like Big Little Lies and The Night Of, all ten episodes of the show’s first season are helmed by a single director: Oded Ruskin. I love this approach because it ensures a consistent tone and visual palette. This show is haunting, claustrophobic, and borderline anxiety-inducing. It’s not for everyone, but it’s disturbingly well done.