As card-carrying members of the WGBH Drama Club, we have to admit: we are low-key obsessed with MASTERPIECE’s 2020 lineup. Okay, that claim may not come as a surprise (after all, we do work in the same building) but the new series that we’re seeing lined up for this year look truly amazing. So, with this wealth of compelling drama, what's our pick for the spring? That would be Baptiste, beginning April 12 at 10pm on WGBH 2.
You might recognize the name; the series follows the eponymous Detective Julien Baptiste (played by the multi-talented Tchéky Karyo) whom audiences first met as part of the 2016 ensemble hit,The Missing. This spin-off follows Baptiste from France, picking up with him two years after the events of The Missing.
The last time fans of The Missing saw Baptiste, he was being prepared for surgery on a life-threatening brain tumor. Now fully healed, the detective and his wife, Celia (Anastasia Hille), are on a trip to visit their new grandson. However, the couple's vacation has barely begun when an ex-girlfriend comes calling on Baptiste — not for a romantic liaison, but rather to seek out his sleuthing prowess.
Piers Wegner, controller of BBC, has said that Baptiste “…will allow us to discover more about Julien than ever before as he is parachuted into the centre of a shocking and wide-ranging crime story.”
And the BBC isn’t the only group delighted with Baptiste. Reviewers in the UK are favorably comparing the show to the acclaimed Poirot, Inspector Lewis, and Vera.
While the series is penned by the same writers as The Missing (Harry and Jack Williams), their script and the actors who portray the Baptistes are the only elements the two shows have in common. While The Missing took place over several years, the Baptiste timeline is significantly faster, unfolding over just a few days. And while The Missing takes place in France, Baptiste has moved all of the action to Amsterdam.
Also, new faces have joined the cast, including Tom Hollander (The Night Manager, Pride and Prejudice, Gosford Park) as Edward Stratton, Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) as Genevieve, and Clare Calbraith (Downton Abbey, Homefires) as Clare.
Baptiste premieres on April 12th at 10pm on WGBH 2. We don’t know about you, but we can hardly wait!