When it comes to BBC dramas, there’s a certain inconsistency with them that seems to be an unfortunate trend. From Killing Eve through to Bodyguard, a lot of the dramas this channel puts out seem to start strongly then peter out toward an underwhelming finale. Looking to buck that trend is Baptiste, acting as a spin-off from The Missing, with a stand-alone adventure featuring the French detective from thast show.
The story here sees Julien Baptiste called out of retirement to help a man named Edward Stratton find his daughter Hannah. As Baptiste becomes wrapped up in the case, it’s revealed that Hannah is linked to a sex trafficker called Constantin and Stratton isn’t who he says he is. Caught in the middle is Baptiste who finds his family in danger as Constantin and the Romanian trafficking gang close in. As the stakes are raised and Baptiste races to solve the case, involving finding Hannah and a bag full of money, this all builds to a climactic ending where most of the plot points are resolved.
Despite a slightly slow start, Baptiste does well to maintain consistency throughout its six episodes – something the studio have really struggled to achieve as of late. With a flurry of late drama, plenty of twists along the way and decent pacing throughout, Baptiste does really well to buck the trend and deliver a consistent slice of enjoyable crime drama. While there are better options out there, Baptiste does enough to make it a solid option going forward, one that actually works better as a binge-watch than one episode at a time, especially given the fast pacing accompanying this one.
It helps too that Baptiste can be watched as a stand-alone piece, with no prior knowledge of The Missing needed to grasp the overarching story. The series certainly holds its own and the acting is generally good throughout, despite some melodramatic beats that feel a little superficial. Although Julien Baptiste doesn’t quite have the charisma to carry the show himself, there’s enough flair from the supporting cast to avoid this stifling the story.
Despite a slow start, Baptiste certainly grows into its story and is one worth persevering with through some of the slower segments. The second and third episodes in particular are culprits of this but thankfully the series manages to regroup late on, delivering a highly enjoyable flurry of episodes to finish the season off with a bang. It’s not the best drama out there but it is one of the better ones released this year, making it well worth a watch.
Verdict - 7.5/10