Both series of The Missing were big hits with viewers, but the stand-out character in each story was complex detective Julien Baptiste.
Baptiste - who had a troubled back story of his own - stole the show as he solved the mysteries behind the disappearances of Oliver and Alice. Now, writers Harry and Jack Williams are giving the fans what they want with an entire series centred on Baptiste himself.
Here’s who is signed up to join him on his new case.
Julien Baptiste – Tcheky Karyo
Viewers might remember that the last time we saw Julien Baptiste at the end of The Missing series 2, he was on an operating table about to undergo surgery for a brain tumour.
The good news is that the surgery was a success, because Baptiste is alive and well and on a trip to Amsterdam with his wife to help their daughter and son-in-law with their new baby.
Baptiste is supposed to have given up his police work, until he runs into his ex-girlfriend in Amsterdam; she just happens to be the city's chief of police and wants his help with a tricky case.
Actor Tcheky Karyo said: “Writers Harry and Jack Williams said 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.
“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.”
Edward Stratton – Tom Hollander
One of the most exciting stars to have joined the series is Tom Hollander, who plays the mysterious Edward Stratton.
At the start of the story, he’s frantically searching Amsterdam’s red light district for his niece, a prostitute who has gone missing, but soon we’ll see that Edward’s story is much more complicated than it appears.
Tom said: “His relationship with Julien Baptiste is complicated because he needs Baptiste’s help but he also doesn’t tell him the whole truth for reasons which will become clear. Ultimately Edward is on his own and the character is a very isolated, lonely figure.
“If you have a difficult week coming up and you are watching this show on a Sunday evening, nothing in the week that you are about to face is as bad as what Edward is put through so paradoxically, it might make you feel better about whatever you have got to confront in the coming days.”
Tom’s best-known roles include In the Loop, Rev., The Night Manager, and the recent Netflix film Bird Box.
Tell us about Edward’s character? What is his background story?
Edward is quite a sad chap. He doesn’t have a very good job in logistics which he is barely holding on to. When we first meet him in episode one, he is a desperate man. His niece, who is a prostitute in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, has gone missing and he is trying to find her. She’s been gone for two days and he is running around the Red Light District showing her picture to anyone who will look at it, including the police, none of which have anything to say. He is in a state of extreme distress.
Baptiste spends quite a lot of time in the show trying to work out who Edward is. If you have a difficult week coming up and you are watching this show on a Sunday evening, nothing in the week that you are about to face is as bad as what Edward is put through, so paradoxically, it might make you feel better about whatever you have got to confront in the coming days.
Have any scenes been particularly challenging to film?
Playing Edward is a challenging part because he is in extreme distress for the majority of the story, because of the horrible things that are happening to him which will become clear if you watch it. Playing that is quite exhausting because you have to remind yourself of the reality of his situation, which is a reality that most people would find intolerable. It is extremely painful and distressing because he is in a really dark place. I have found all of that quite tricky because you can’t really laugh it off. There are very, very few jokes in Baptiste. There really are possibly two in six episodes and you might not notice them
Genevieve Taylor – Jessica Raine
Also on the case in Amsterdam is Genevieve Taylor, a Europol officer who is on the trail of human trafficking gang Brigada Serbilu.
She’s described as blunt, tactless and incredibly focused when trying to crack a case.
Jessica Raine, who plays her, said: “When Genevieve meets Julien you feel like she’s really marking her territory. She’s a little bit patronising and you feel like she’s definitely overriding him with the decision-making. She wants him out of the way even though she respects what he’s done in the past.
“Genevieve doesn’t have much time for Baptiste at the beginning, however, as the series progresses I think she really becomes much more respectful of him and his methods and they become quite close by the end which is a great journey to play.”
Jessica is known for starring in Call the Midwife, Partners in Crime, Wolf Hall, and Informer.
What is Genevieve’s relationship with Edward?
With Edward, Genevieve is constantly trying to persuade him to do what she wants and doesn’t really think about what the consequences are for him. To her, he is someone who’s in way over his head - but she also sees him as an opportunity. It’s an opening for her that she hasn’t had before with this case, so she has to get him onside. But she is also quite irritated by him, so it is quite a fractious relationship - which has been really fun to play with Tom.
What’s it been like filming in Amsterdam and Belgium?
I’ve loved it. I’ve had a week in Amsterdam but didn’t get to see much of it because we were working all the time. Antwerp I’ve become really familiar with and I love it, the people, the shops and the art as well as the food! I just absolutely adore it to be honest. I want to come back. I can understand why people come out here and live here. It’s just amazing.
What’s it like working with Tom and Tchéky?
Great. They’re so different. Tchéky is so unbelievably French, and I mean that in a really lovely way. He’s very philosophical about things. He’s great to act with. He’s always very present. Tom is loads of fun to work with. He’s done his research, he knows what he’s doing and then just sort of let’s rip on a scene, which has been really positive.
Martha – Barbara Sarafian
Chief of police Martha also happens to be Baptiste’s ex-girlfriend and there are a lot of unresolved feelings between them when she asks him to join the case.
Martha is sharp-minded and intelligent, but also has a reputation for being difficult.
Actress Barbara Sarafian said: “Martha had a relationship with Julien a long time ago when they were partners on a job. She loved him very much and he loved her too but it didn’t work out. Julien now has a new life, a new family and she had that too. She has a family but she is still a bit bitter about the break-up, apparently.”
Could you describe Martha’s relationship with Niels?
Niels is her son, and she worries about him like every mother would. She looks out for him but she is afraid to show that, so she does it sneakily. Niels tries to push Martha away, but in fact he is worried about her too and there is a symbolism between both of them and their relationship. The energy they have is beautiful and it is seen in the office as well as at home. They have a cocoon just them too, which is very vulnerable.
Why should viewers watch Baptiste?
Viewers should watch Baptiste because the show is extremely sophisticated. It is so well written and the story is very interesting. There are a lot of characters and you get to know them in depth. Nothing is superficial and it is thrilling to follow every line of the story.
Niels – Boris Van Severen
Niels is Martha’s son and an ambitious young police officer, but he’s had to cope with plenty of personal tragedy.
He has lost his father and had testicular cancer himself, all of which has deeply affected him, but he’s determined to show that he can do his job.
Actor Boris Van Severen said: “Martha really cares for him, especially because of everything that happened to him with his illness and the loss of his father. She still treats him like a teenager in a way which is not something that Niels wants. He wants to prove to her that he is grown up.
“He loves his mother dearly, and they have a good connection but at this point in his life things are a bit strange for Niels because he is struggling with everything that has happened to him.”
Could you tell us about Niels’ character and his background story?
Niels is a young, ambitious police officer who has had some struggles in his life. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer a couple of years ago and his father also passed away, which had a big impact on him. Niels has built up a wall around him because of his grief. He feels like less of a man because of the cancer and this is one of the reasons he is slightly uncomfortable with women. He is a calm guy but can lose his temper easily. He wants to prove - not only to his mother but also to Baptiste - that he can do his job, that he is man enough to do what he’s supposed to do.
Could you describe Niels’ relationship with his mother, Martha?
Martha really cares for him, especially because of everything that happened to him with his illness and the loss of his father. She still treats him like a teenager in a way which is not something that Niels wants. He wants to prove to her that he is grown up. He loves his mother dearly, and they have a good connection, but at this point in his life things are a bit strange for Niels because he is struggling with everything that has happened to him.
Could you describe Niels’ relationship with Julien?
Niels was not very happy when Julien came into the picture because he wanted to show everyone he was capable of solving the case alone. He was sceptical about Julien’s arrival, but then as they progress on their journey they start to like each other. They begin to see that they have things in common, like for example their illnesses with Julien’s brain tumour and Niels’ cancer.
Celia Baptiste – Anastasia Hille
Baptiste’s wife is supportive of his choice to go back to police work, thinking it will be good for him to put his mind to use again.
However, his history with Martha is the first thing we’ve seen which comes close to shaking the couple’s marriage.
Tcheky said: “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.”
As well as The Missing, Anastasia has appeared in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The Tunnel, and Prey.
Episode 2 preview
Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) wrestles with the discovery that Edward Stratton (Tom Hollander) is not who he claims to be - and a great distrust develops between the two men.
Meanwhile the pressure is starting to overwhelm Edward, who takes desperate measures to track down Natalie (Anna Prochniak).
When her whereabouts are detected, a tragedy unfolds that propels Julien to assume he has uncovered Edward’s true motives. He makes a shocking discovery that finally sheds light on Edward’s extreme behaviour - but still leaves many questions unanswered
Baptiste airs Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.
Never miss an episode with BT TV – catch up via the BBC iPlayer app.