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October 9, 2015

Kidnapped: Pilot (series premiere)

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 20th 2006 10:15PM
Kidnapped cast
If there's one thing you need to know about Kidnapped, it's this: nothing is as it seems. All we know after the opening episode is over is that Leopold Cain (Will Denton), the erudite son of wealthy Manhattan couple Conrad and Ellie Cain (Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany), has been kidnapped. We don't know why, and we don't know by whom. We also know that Cain has hired private investigator Knapp (Jeremy Sisto), who has a shady past but knows how to get people back to their families. His partner in investigation is Turner (Carmen Ejogo). We also know that Special Agent Lattimer King (Delroy Lindo) has been dragged into the case via his associtation with a bodyguard named Virgil (Mykelti Williamson). He and Knapp know each other, and they both know that they'll have to work together, whether they like it or not.

Everything else? It's completely up in the air. But that's what makes this show interesting.

I've pretty much tapped the well dry when it comes to information on this series. I've visited the set, and I've talked to the cast twice and executive producer Jason Smilovic once. Including the premiere screening, I've seen the pilot three times. I know more about this show than any other new program in the schedule that isn't called Studio 60.

And, you know what? I'm still interested. I'm still interested in finding out how this kidnapping plot plays out over the year, and who's involved in what part of the scheme. I want to know what's in Conrad's past that's making him trust more in Knapp than in the feds. And I want to know why King gets dragged into the case via Virgil; their relationship isn't fully explained by the end of this episode.

The one thing that struck me, even when I saw the rough-cut pilot back in June, was the overall quality of the show. From the actors (Delany, Sisto, Hutton, Lindo) to the way the show was filmed, lit, and edited, all the way down to the choice of music, it seemed like Kidnapped had a very movie-like feel. The right mood is struck between the tension the Cains feel about having their son missing and the rivalry between the feds and a maverick like Knapp. It draws you in and makes you want to see more.

Not that the show doesn't have some issues. Right now, Delany doesn't have much to do besides cry for her missing son. There are some allusions to an influential father and an affair, but we don't hear much about them. Sometimes the music overwhelms the dialogue, and given the show's twists and turns, might mean missing something critical. There are some leaps of faith involved; in the second episode, for example, some unrealistic manipulation of a cell-phone video helps out both Knapp and the feds.

Oh, and it's amazing to me how much of the cryptic talk between Knapp and his people and King and his people take place over cell phones. I can't imagine that a cell is the most secure way to go, know what I mean?

Thankfully, the onion gets peeled relatively quickly, unlike other serialized dramas; by episode two, some questions are answered (while others come up, but still...). We have a slightly better idea of why Cain might have been targeted, even if we don't quite know what he does for a living.

If this show wasn't going against The Nine, which I have to admit was my favorite pilot of the season, I'd be hooked. I'm going to tape the third episode and beyond, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to stick with Kidnapped, despite everything I said above. Even with VCRs and TiVos, keeping track of two serialized dramas in the same timeslot is going to be hard for most viewers, just because of the emotional investment you need to make in these types of shows. The Kidnapped folks are on the right track, though; it may just end up being the unforunate victim of a bad timeslot.

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does ne1 know the french song that they play at the beginning of the episode....please help me out..nice beats....please please if ne1 knows....plz do let me know.....thnax a lot...

September 27 2006 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dagmar Easley

I loved the show. Does anybody know what the regular timeslot will be?

September 27 2006 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Sisto, love Lindo, loved the look and feel of the show. I, too, have no idea how they'll carry this out over an entire season (or two!), but I'm ready to go along for the ride. So far, I've been pretty pleased with my new series choices: Kidnapped, Studio 60, Smith. The only real crapper I picked was Jericho.

September 21 2006 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Liked sisto, liked the editing, and felt it'll have a hard time maintaining the initial momentum. I have the sneaking feeling it's gonna slow down like Lost and become a show that covers the history of the characters and crap, rather than moving forward.

As far as series TV, it's not even close to Veronica Mars levels but it is a bit darker than the empty Sesame Street crap like CSI. Law and Order and Bones killer of the week plotting.

It'll probably go down as some in here have already said it's too dark or too fast. WTF? Fast? Good lord.

September 21 2006 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is just the movie "Ransom" with Mel Gibson and Delroy Lindo(playing the same character by the way) stretched out into a series...go back and watch the movie you'll see same plot lines and happenings as the pilot

September 21 2006 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i watched it once, and i'm done. i have enough shows to keep up with. and this one didn't compel me to come back. it moved too fast too, very unnatural.

September 21 2006 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone else think Virgil (Mykelti Williamson's) character is somehow involved in the kidnap plot?

September 21 2006 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sisto and his tactics make the show, I liked it.

September 21 2006 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoyed this pilot, especially considering the high production values and great cast. And yet I have no real interest in ever watching it again. I guess I finally got bored with all the shows about vast conspiracies, squabbling law enforcers and hunting down missing/kidnapped/escaped people (i.e., "Standoff," "Vanished," "Without a Trace," "Prison Break," "24," etc.). So while I hope they find that kid -- assuming, of course, the show lasts long enough -- I won't be around to see it.

September 21 2006 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought we did know why he was kidnapped - they want $20 million! Or did I miss something?

September 21 2006 at 4:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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