reviewed by Eric Ellis
Baptiste – Season 1
Created by: Harry and Jack Williams
Run Date: 2020 – 2021
Baptiste is a British television program and follow-up two-season series based upon retired detective Julien Baptiste as portrayed by Tcheky Karyo. Karyo reprises the role of Baptiste from Seasons One and Two of the 2014-2016 series The Missing.
In all seasons, Baptiste is a former police detective known for his ability to solve missing person cases and is brought back to work with the police as a consultant in current missing person cases. The program episodes are also filmed in back and forth/past and present sequences.
In Season One of Baptiste, Commissioner Martha Horchner (Barbara Sarafian), a Baptiste past colleague, has persuaded him to work with the police and help Edward Stratton locate his missing niece. The uncle is portrayed by character actor Tom Holland. Holland is one of those actors where most viewers will recognize his face but not know his name. In this role, Holland does a wonderful job exhibiting his acting range while depicting a character possessing a chameleon-like nature.
As the investigation grows to include the realm of sex workers to that of truly sadistic Romainian gangsters, Baptiste soon finds out there is more to Tom Holland than first realized, as well as suspecting a potential mole exists within the police and is feeding the thugs investigative information.
The first season of Baptiste is compelling and with plenty of plot developments and fine actors to keep viewers interested. One thing that may cause some viewer discomfort is how each episode of the story is revealed by the back and forth past and present segments.
Baptiste is TV-MA and while the violence is graphic, it is not done gratuitously or in an immature way and is used in a way to effectively move the story forward and increase the emotional impact of the series.
Baptiste has a well-rounded cast that also includes previously introduced characters, with the main treat being that of watching Tcheky Karyo’s portrayal of Baptiste. Karyo’s depiction of a world and bone-weary Baptiste with health issues of his own, and who is known for providing pearls of life wisdom to other characters throughout the series, only makes the Baptiste character more indelible to the viewer.
Karyo’s portrayal of Baptiste clearly not only falls in the category of him owning the character but is also similar to other actors in roles where it can hardly be imagined a different actor in the role.
Season Two of Baptiste is currently being aired on PBS stations, while the previous seasons of The Missing and Baptiste are being streamed. While it is not necessary to follow the series from the start, it is highly recommended because of the growth and progression of starring and returning characters.