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TV Preview: Stana Katic Returns to Television in the Dark and Dramatic Crime-Thriller 'Absentia'

January 20, 2018Ben MK

You may know her as NYPD police officer Kate Beckett on Castle, in which she starred opposite fellow Canadian Nathan Fillion. Now Stana Katic is back as the executive producer and star of a brand new one-hour drama series. Only this time, the crime she's trying to solve happens to be her own.

In Absentia, Katic plays Emily Byrne, a dedicated FBI agent, devoted mother to a son named Flynn, and loving wife to fellow agent Nick Durand (Patrick Heusinger). All that is cruelly taken away from her, however, when Emily is kidnapped by an unknown assailant and held captive in a makeshift dungeon beneath a remote cabin in the woods. Missing for six years and presumed dead, Emily has become little more than a distant memory for Flynn (Patrick McAuley), who now considers his dad's new wife, Alice (Cara Theobold), to be his mother. But despite remarrying, Nick has never forgotten Emily, and is still desperate to learn her fate.

Then, out of the blue one night, Nick gets a phone call from who he believes is convicted serial killer Conrad Harlow (Richard Brake). The bearer of the information Nick has been seeking all these years, Harlow provides him with the directions to the cabin, and soon Nick is holding Emily — who's battered and bruised, but alive — in his arms again. For some shows, this might be the stuff of a season finale, but for Absentia, the story is just getting started.

As Emily struggles to re-assimilate herself back into her old life, she finds that the things she once held as familiar are no longer. Her brother, Jack (Neil Jackson), has lost his medical license due to his chronic alcoholism, and her son, now nine years old, doesn't know her, nor does he seem to want to. Then there's her former husband, who's struggling to process his own feelings towards Emily, as well as trying to keep his relationship with Alice afloat.

As all of this is going on, though, a new mystery begins to unfold. A badly decomposed body has turned up in a local lake that may provide some clues as to the culprit behind Emily's kidnapping, and while Emily and Nick's boss, Adam (Ralph Ineson), awaits the results of DNA tests to identify the corpse, Nick digs through Emily's old bureau case files in an attempt to come up with a list of potential suspects.

The result proves to be much darker and grittier than shows like Castle, and parallels can definitely be drawn between Katic's character and other strong female leads like Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Suffice to say, Absentia has the potential to be this year's The Killing; but to find out if the rest of the show's premiere season can sustain the mood and the momentum it establishes early on, you'll just have to tune in.

Absentia airs Sunday nights on Showcase, beginning January 21st, 2018.

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