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STUDIO: Sony Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 541 Minutes
A boy is kidnapped and it’s up to A-Listers Jeremy Sisto and Delroy Lindo to recover him!
Timothy Hutton. Jeremy Sisto. Delroy Lindo. Dana Delany. Doug Hutchinson. Mykelti Williamson. Robert John Burke. Carmen Ejogo. Linus Roache. Ricky Jay. Will Denton.
You remember Ransom? How’s about a lot of it? On the surface Kidnapped seems like an episode of Without a Trace spread out over a season or the aformentioned Mel Gibson crowd pleaser. Speaking of crowd pleasers, Annabelle Chong. Thankfully, Kidnapped has a little more on its plate than that, something which reveals itself over the course of one lone and surprisingly entertaining season. How something like this with tons of movie star talent gets the axe and some other stuff survives baffles me, but be that as it may it’s nice to see that people who got involved only to have it end abruptly can now see the whole story.
7 out of 10 child abductors recommend Medievil for the Sony PSP.
There’s an overriding theme you’ll notice in this review. The promise of what could have been. If Kidnapped was an FX channel original it’d have all of the requisite edge and gut-punch beauty that would elevate it high above the tedium of network crime shows. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with the majority of cop and thriller shows, but Kidnapped boasts a really solid cast and the production value one would associate with a truly exemplary product. But there’s not enough bite. Not hardly enough.
Still, there’s merit and that is why I proceed onward with less than the usual amount of prickhood. This is far from a bad show.
Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany are loaded. A fancy elite home on Manhattan’s finest real estate complete with a view of their majestic domain is proof of such. The fact their kids need bodyguards is another example of how they’re much better than you or I. So, when their one car motorcade for their teenage son gets ambushed, they find the best freelancer on the market tohelp rescue their boy. That freelancer is Jeremy Sisto as Knapp and before you laugh and wonder why the heck Jeremy Sisto is the resident bad ass in this show think of what you felt about Kiefer Sutherland before he became Jack Bauer. Sisto is the sole reason why this show is more than meets the eye.
"Let’s just say that Nightcrawler’s not going to be making any babies any time soon…"
Knapp is that kind of character who can only exist in crime fiction and only work if played by a person you’d never expect to be be a convincing "hard man". They’re built wholly around a backstory of amazing feats and extreme danger, men whose reputation is referenced by everyone around them. It created a mythos about them and it’s what makes characters like Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, and the like so effective as portrayed by actors who aren’t physically imposing. Sisto does very solid work with the character, relying more on a wily look and admirable paunch and scruff in lieu of a toned Hollywood body and stoic line readings. It’s the kind of character than can redefine an actor and I look forward to Sisto’s next role as this could be a nice transition for him.
The series isn’t as much about the kidnapping itself as it is the reasons and the players involved. There’s an interesting hydra-esque quality to the bad guys, factions which operate independently with no overt connection to each other. These factions carry quite a bit of familiarity with film audiences with names like Doug Hutchison, Tom Noonan, Mädchen Amick, Robert John Burke, and Rent‘s Anthony Rapp among their ranks. It allows the show added time to tell its story without getting stale and each new villain that arrives raises the stakes and the fact that some of the people the audience thinks are good guys always carries with them that possibility of the double cross and cheats the audience just enough not to feel like a total conceit.
Professor Dolarhyde assured his pupils that his home tutoring would leave a lasting impression.
The show also manages to balance its characters with grace, keeping subplots involving Timothy Hutton (playing father of the kidnapped Conrad Cain) and his possible criminal endeavors, the supposed infidelity of his wife (Delany, aging well), lead G-Man Delroy Lindo (as cinematically named Latimer King) and his impending retirement and possible embezzling, and the ongoing issues of the kidnappers. It’s a really nice balance and the season really becomes engrossing halfway through as things really start to develop.
The star power of the show and its surprising reluctance to get too "soap opera" in its material. There certainly are moments which wind up overcooked but it’s never enough to make one reach for the remote in ways that 24 or CSI can.
It’s a nice show and though the last three episodes tie things together too tightly, too quickly, and with too much forced action, it’s a winner of a show. One that died too soon. If it’d been a FX show, it’d have had the extra flexibility it needed to really deliver that knockout punch. As it stands, it’s still a nice bit of fun.
Things that really worked:
- Sisto as a tough guy.
- Vast network of villains.
- Timothy Hutton as a victim with shades of gray.
- Dough Hutchison’s interrogation scene.
- Tom Noonan’s interrogation scene.
- The possibility of Mykelti Williamson as a vigilante.
- Robert John Burke as a cold-blooded kidnapper.
- The lack of episode recaps before every installment.
Things that really didn’t:
- The fact Mykelti Williamson as a vigilante never really comes to fruition.
- The fact that a few of the villains have a glaring weakness; they love their spouses too much.
- The corrupt FBI agent aspect. Lame.
- The way the possible corruptions of Hutton and Delany’s characters are handled.
- The bullshit ‘wearing a bullet proof vest’ conceit used twice.
- The underdeveloped relationship between Sisto and his hot assistant.
- A distinct lack of Brawley Nolte.
Some people have shit-eating grins. Carl had a rape-your-father smirk.
Aside from a minor featurette there are no special features to be seen and it’s just fine that way. Unless the studi is going to let the filmmakers piss and moan about the truncated life theit show had on television, there’s no point. That said, why the heck can’t a show like this exist as a straight to DVD entity? I’d be all for a second series if it boasted this quality.
"You keep that gypsy bitch away, you hear me?"
7.5 out of 10