Birthdays will never be the same. Not for 10-year-old Anthony Sullivan (Michael Riendeau) and his family, anyhow. That’s the day the child goes inexplicably missing, in the new six-part miniseries The Disappearance (Sunday at 9 p.m., ET on CTV), kicking off one of fall’s most gripping new high-stakes dramas.
The Canadian series, which was shot in Montreal last fall, follows the Sullivan family as they grapple with the disappearance of their son, grandson and nephew. As they discover clues to his potential whereabouts along the way, deep family secrets are revealed episode by episode, redefining the meaning of binge-worthy TV.
If you’ve been looking to add another great crime series to your docket, here’s why you’ll be completely obsessed with The Disappearance too.
The stakes are high
Okay so the stakes are usually high in crime series — there’s a need to catch a criminal or solve a case, after all. But because this show revolves around a 10-year-old boy the stakes feel even higher. Whenever a premise like this involves a child (or puppies) our hearts ache even more for a happy ending; we can’t help it. And because (not-really-a-spoiler alert), by the end of the first episode we have no clue whether Anthony is dead or alive, the search feels extremely pressing. We can’t help but become invested in whether or not they find him, which means we’re completely hooked.
There’s lots of underlying family drama
Sure, at the outset it looks as though the series is about finding Anthony, but in the pilot alone we’re introduced to rich backstories involving Anthony’s grandfather Henry Sullivan (Peter Coyote), his separated parents Helen (Camille Sullivan) and Luke (Aden Young), and his wild-child aunt Catherine (Joanne Kelly). They each seem to have something to hide, and something tells us it won’t be long before we find out what.
Everyone is a suspect
It seems like anyone — and we’re talking anyone — in Anthony’s town could be a suspect in his disappearance, given that the day before he goes missing he presents a cultural project in school that consists of photos, bills and maps of the entire town and its residents. The project causes quite the stir and forces the school to call Anthony’s parents, after which the matter seems to be put to bed. Except that it’s quite possible Anthony captured something he shouldn’t have, and someone was possibly desperate to keep that secret quiet.
It’s got a famous Canadian director
You may not have heard the name Peter Stebbings before, but the Canadian is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after TV directors around. He’s been in front of the camera for years, appearing on shows like The Borgias, Bates Motel and Crossbones, but back in 2012 he decided to give behind-the-scenes work a shot too. Since then he’s helmed the camera for episodes of Orphan Black, Saving Hope, Killjoys, Wynonna Earp and more. Stebbings directed all six episodes of The Disappearance, giving it a dark and twisty tone that feels urgent and moody, really helping us to get into the spirit of the thing.
There will be answers
Remember when we were all obsessed with The Killing, and then at the end of the first season we had no idea who the actual killer was? Yeah, that will not be the case in this series, which is a six-in and out kind of deal. By the end of the series we will have a total understanding of what happened and why, and will be left feeling satisfied in every way. In a world where shows can sometimes drag on a little too long, it’s nice to see a Canadian series embracing the British format and giving us a true standalone offering that feels moving and meaningful.
Oh, and did we mention we’re completely obsessed?