Baptiste series 2 review | A triumphant return
Here in the UK, theatergoers have always had an affinity for French detectives, from Jules Maigret and Inspector Clouseau, to the more recent Assane Diop (who may not be an investigator, but exudes a major energy of Sherlock Holmes in Netflix’s Lupine). One of the best examples, however, has to be arguably Julien Baptiste – the private investigator of The Missing whose Gallic temper and stubborn commitment to solving crimes proved so popular that he was given his own spinoff series. .
After two years away from our screens, Tchéky Karyo is back as a grizzled detective in the highly anticipated second series of Baptiste. The BBC One crime drama made its grim and slow debut in 2019, with Julien traveling across the Netherlands in search of a seemingly missing sex worker. Now he’s trading Amsterdam’s red light district for the wooded mountains of Hungary for his next business.
Introducing a new cast of supporting characters, Baptiste kicks off the second series by delving directly into the life of Emma Chambers, the last Briton in need of the titular detective’s help. Played by wonderfully low-key Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve, Fleabag), we meet British Ambassador Emma Chambers as she is on vacation with her bird-keen husband (Stuart Campbell) and two teenage sons in the Hungarian mountains.
The quartet initially appears to be your typical and perfectly happy family unit, but cracks soon start to appear, with Emma and her husband arguing over their dinner workaholic tendencies, after Emma tells another guest that her son is. phone obsessed Will (Conrad Khan) isn’t just your usual antisocial teenager – he’s definitely been dumb for two years.
Waking up the next day to find her husband and children mysteriously missing from their hotel rooms, panic begins to set in. Emma struggles to make contact with her family, and the usually calm diplomat finally collapses when she realizes that Will’s only method of communication – his cell phone – has been left on his bedside table.
Enter Julien Baptiste – the man who makes it his mission to find the missing, although he is in a very different mental (and physical) state than we saw him last time. After learning he had a secret son (who later murdered his own mother) in the first series finale, Baptiste now stays in a dilapidated hotel room and ignores messages from his worried wife Celia (Anastasia Hille) , when he spots Emma’s case. in the news and offers its services free of charge. “I find people Ms. Chambers, I’ve been doing this all my life,” he explains before showing the actual agents assigned to the case in typical Baptiste fashion.
As demonstrated in the first series, Baptiste’s writers Jack and Harry Williams have an impressive knack for attracting audiences with intriguing but vague story setups. Teases of Emma Chambers’ previous family tragedy with unexplained dialogue like “she would have loved this” and a dry response of “you know why” when her husband points out that they haven’t been on vacation for three years, To Baptiste’s almost compulsive desire for distraction with work, the Creative Brothers have woven subtle details that will leave viewers desperate for answers within the first 15 minutes.
Series two takes the drama up a notch by switching between two different timelines: the start of Emma’s affair and 14 months after. While neither Emma nor Baptiste are in the best of places when they first meet, it is soon revealed that their life takes a much more abrupt turn over the next year, with a disheveled-looking Julien arrested for drunk behavior before being served with divorce papers. by his wife, and a skinny Emma seen using a wheelchair while continuing to search for her family on her own.
The show’s two timelines give the crime drama an exciting new face, allowing viewers to slowly piece together the gripping events of the case, while learning about the recent personal tragedies Baptiste and Emma suffered before the Chambers family disappeared. The dynamics of Karyo and Shaw as two individuals who distract from their intense emotional pain with constant work is nothing short of outstanding, with the couple’s chemistry and Shaw’s heartbreaking performance being the show’s highlights.
As for the stars who complete the cast, Line of Duty’s Ace Bhatti plays Emma’s protective colleague Nadeem, who initially resists Baptiste’s intervention, while Dorka Gryllus plays Zsofia Arslan, the Hungarian officer in charge. of the case, who tries to get rid of Baptiste at every available opportunity. Meanwhile, Rhashan Stone, Michelle Duncan, and Anita Adam Gabay play hotel guests and employees who, in typical murder mystery fashion, are incredibly uncooperative and agitated when questioned by Baptiste.
Backed by a solid cast, compelling setup, and various twists throughout, Baptiste’s second outing doesn’t disappoint. Indeed, it doesn’t take a detective to figure out that the second series is definitely worth watching.
Baptiste Series 2 airs on BBC One Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. TTake a look at the rest of our drama coverage or check out our TV guide to find out what’s on TV this week.