Who is Tcheky Karyo? The Missing's Julien Baptiste - All you need to know

Get to know the star of the new BBC spin-off series.

Fans of The Missing will have been keeping their fingers crossed for a third series, but now we know that there is a new treat in store – spin-off show Baptiste.

The new programme will centre on Julien Baptiste, the brooding detective who was the linking thread between the first two series of The Missing.

[Read more: Tcheky Karyo to reprise The Missing role]

We find out more about Tcheky Karyo, the actor who plays him.

Who is Tcheky Karyo?

Tcheky Karyo is a 64-year-old French actor who was born in Istanbul, Turkey, but grew up in Paris.

His full name is Baruh Djaky Karyo, but he later changed his first name to Tcheky as that’s how it would be pronounced in France.

What has Tcheky Karyo appeared in?

Tcheky started out his acting career with the National Theatre of Strasbourg, then switched from the stage to the screen with a number of roles in French films, and as a French character in Hollywood films.

His notable roles include starring alongside Mel Gibson in The Patriot (2000) and as the title character’s spy mentor in Nikita (1990)

[Read more: Tom Hollander lands role in Baptiste]

You may also have spotted Tcheky in Bad Boys, GoldenEye, Saving Grace, and Addicted to Love.

More recently, Tcheky became a hero of the small screen as the detective Julien Baptiste in BBC thriller The Missing. He was one of the few characters to star in both series as Baptiste investigated both cases, and is the star of forthcoming spin-off series Baptiste.

Q&A

Baptiste

Tell us about the character of Julien Baptiste? What is his situation at the start of the series?

At the end of series two of The Missing, we leave Julien Baptiste on the operating table about to undergo an operation for the brain tumour that has dogged him throughout the series. We discover that he has survived another day, is ready to tackle more challenges, and has found a new lease of life spending time with his wife and family.

What’s in store for Julien in this series and what challenges does he face?

Celia and Julien are in Amsterdam to help their daughter and son-in-law look after their grandchild. Whilst there, Martha, Julien’s ex-girlfriend, who is well aware of his methodical, crime solving skills, tries to get him involved in a case. Julien had decided not to go back to his other life but he can’t let go, and Celia knows that it would be good for both him and for their relationship so she encourages him to get out of the house. This causes some challenges for Julien as he tries to get back into being a detective, and as he goes on he finds that he can still do it as his instincts are very much intact.

What sets this series apart from the Missing?

The DNA of The Missing series one and two is still rooted in the story of Baptiste. We are still very much in the same world as The Missing but we see things through the eyes of Julien. Julien is still stubborn, but he has a lot of empathy for people and is still searching for the truth about human nature. He realises that although humans are animals, what sets us apart is our brain and we should not forget to use it for the sake of life. Julien still has to deal with missing people, and also with characters having to deal with difficult journeys.

How would you describe Julien’s relationship with Edward?

When Julien meets Edward he sees a man carrying deep pain, sorrow and sadness, which leads Julien to feel compassion and empathy for Edward. However, there are too many question marks surrounding Edward’s behaviour which leads Julien to delve deeper, proving that his instincts are still intact, as there are a lot of shadows behind Edward. Tom Hollander has a vivid spirit which is a great quality in an actor, so to work in an ensemble was good.

How would you describe Julien’s relationship with Niels?

Niels is Martha’s son. Martha is a woman who Julien was in love with, so his feelings for Niels are both confused and complex. He is hoping to build a relationship with him but this isn’t straightforward as often they seem to clash. Julien again has to use his patience and wisdom to navigate his relationship with Niels and get to a point of understanding.

How would you describe Julien’s relationship with Martha?

Martha was a huge part of Julien’s life so meeting her again is very significant. He is happy to see her but he will soon remember why he made the decision not to settle with her. Until now, there had been no shadows in Julien’s life with his wife Celia, so Martha’s arrival certainly has the potential to cause some trouble for them.

How would you describe Julien’s relationship with Genevieve?

Geneviève is a very good policewoman. She works for the Europol office and Julien works externally alongside them. Julien again finds himself trying to work around the limits due to being an outsider. At the start of Genevieve and Julien’s relationship it is pretty electric, but over time they work out each other’s boundaries becoming a winning team. Julien has also never really had to deal with a female colleague so, he is still learning, and they will have to get to know each other to find the right balance. To work with Jessica Raine was great, she is so bright and gentle.

How does it feel to have carried the character of Julien Baptiste from The Missing through to a brand new series?

I feel proud of it. The audience, the BBC and the writers, Harry and Jack Williams, didn’t want to say goodbye to Julien Baptiste. The brothers said that Julien still had a lot of skeletons in his closet and a lot of things left to be fixed. It is exciting and I am happy to get into Julien’s new shoes. It is fantastic to develop a relationship with an audience and to be part of the team again where there is great synergy. Julien is still here and full of joy and happy to be alive. He is still stubborn and is always in search of some kind of truth about human nature, if there is one.

Are there any preparations you have to get into character?

For this role a lot of work goes into following the writing and catching all the little exchanges and nuances to tell the story with so many twists. I also day by day try to improve my English. A lot of my work takes place at my table with my coach, who helps me get to grips with the words as much as possible to make the language mine. It’s a great challenge that I am glad to go through each time I am called to walk in Julien’s shoes.

What was your most challenging scene and favourite?

The challenging scenes for me are mainly the dialogue scenes. These scenes are quite long and there is a lot to get across to the audience without saying or being obvious. I would say my favourite scenes or the scenes I like to shoot are the ones that are outside, especially when we are on the boats. I love being able to feel the movement of the water.

What was it like filming in Amsterdam?

There is a certain feeling you get in Amsterdam as it surrounded by a lot of water, the boats and canals passing gives you a sense of calm and makes you quite quiet. It is a pretty inspiring environment. I have to also mention the bicycles in Amsterdam. The first thing people tell you about Amsterdam is to watch out for the bicycles, but I was puzzled by these warnings as bicycles are pretty normal where I’m from, as I live in Paris.

However, when I started walking around Amsterdam you realise pretty quickly that you are surrounded by bicycles coming from all directions and so it can be dangerous. You have to fight as they come from everywhere. So yes, you have to be careful.

What was it like filming in Belgium?

We filmed in Antwerp in Belgium, which I would say is a sister to Amsterdam - it has the same feel with the water and it’s even more peaceful and calm. I loved to look out from the windows of my apartment. I was lucky to have a huge canal where all day when we were working I could see the life of the port with all sorts of boats and ships. It was so different with the colours and the shape of them. It’s a memory of the city that I will treasure.

What do you enjoy about Harry and Jack’s scripts?

The quality of the dialogue and how deep the characters are. This challenges us as actors as we have to take this on and find the truth in every situation. I also love how playful they are with the twists and turns - it’s flabbergasting. The writing is also very witty and although there is a lot of tragedy in the story - like life - the writing is a mixture of comedy and tragedy. The stories and descriptions of the characters we have to play are very inventive.

Why should viewers watch Baptiste?

Baptiste is a show that has a lot of depth and it is always good to see the characters growing and developing and continue the adventure of The Missing. Although a different show it still has The Missing at its core.

How was he affected by starring in The Missing?

As a father himself, the actor found working on stories about missing children particularly harrowing.

He said: “We always think things happen to others, but it doesn't. I'm a father, I have two young children. So I’m concerned by it and suddenly I’m thinking, I cannot take life as easy as I did because it can happen to anybody. So I think that’s why there is an interest in following our story because we can identify with that fear, that moment.”

What else does he do apart from acting?

Tcheky is also a successful musician who writes his own songs.

He released the critically-acclaimed album Ce Lien Qui Nous Unit (The Link That Binds Us) in 2006, and in 2013 followed it up with Credo which he released on his 60th birthday.

[Read more: All you need to know about Unforgotten series 3]

Baptiste airs Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.

Never miss an episode with BT TV – look out for the series on the BBC iPlayer app.

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