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April 23, 2014

The Locator: A Father's Amends, a Daughter's Last Hope (season premiere)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 14th 2009 5:01PM
The Locator, Troy DunnThe Locator is not a show I would have found on my own. I rarely bother to see what's going on on the WE network, because... well, let's face it, it's not marketed to me. Even in the world of cable networks, WE is still a pretty small fish trying to make their mark. It's something my wife stumbled upon during one of her random TV watching days, and I'm really glad she did.

The Locator is a show about hope and second chances. Troy Dunn, who built a business around reuniting disconnected people, does just that. The stories focus on lost sons, daughters, mothers and fathers looking for loved ones. Through a network of agents, Troy finds them and stages a surprise reunion for the cameras.

It may sound a little hokey, and at times it is, but nothing takes away from the genuine moments of human interaction that the show is all about. The Locator came back for a second season, featuring two stories of daughters and fathers separated.

I think what this show explores is something that everyone can relate to in one capacity or another. We've all had someone disappear from our lives, or at least know someone who's been through that. And while everyone responds differently to this crisis, there comes a time when you're at least curious about what's gone missing.

This particular episode resonated strongly with me because I've had two fathers vanish from my life. My own father was too young and stupid to handle the responsibility of two boys, so he took off at age 20 when I was about one-and-a-half. My mother remarried and with her new husband brought us my sister. But this one ultimately walked away as well, though he didn't go until he'd virtually destroyed everything with alcoholism and abuse.

So I recognized a lot of the anger that daughter Rebekah was feeling when her father, clean and sober from his own addictions, sought her out after 15 years. My sister still struggles with anger over how her father broke her heart, and my brother and I, who lost our own father so very young, wished that hers would have left much sooner before she could fall in love with him.

Yet, Rebekah remembers nothing of her father, but still holds so much resentment. All she knows are the stories her mother has told, which is probably where a lot of that anger comes from. A lot of the rest is because she's 18 and not yet emotionally mature enough to be able to handle the incredibly tough task of forgiveness. She's admitted that his betrayal and abandonment has impacted every relationship she's had, and I feel the same can be said for my sister and probably so many other women.

Hell, the double abandonment my brother and I experienced shapes every day the kinds of husbands and fathers we strive hard to be. We've talked about whether or not we'd want to track him down to let him know he has grandkids, maybe find out if we have any brothers and sisters, but it's always an unresolved conversation.

The second story Troy tackled in this premiere, was that of Cindy, a terminally ill woman who hasn't seen her father in nearly two decades. Now, she has a family of her own and desperately wants to reconnect with him. It was heartening to see that he'd been seeking her out as well, and their reunion was much warmer than Rebekah's with her father.

Like Cindy, we did reunite briefly with our father in our early teens when he suddenly called out of nowhere wanting to get to know us. There was one trip to Florida to meet him and a few more calls, but then he vanished again. Relationships can be strange, but relationships with family, no matter how they turn out, impact so much of who we are.

In a sea of exploitative or pointless reality entertainment, The Locator is a shining light of positivity that deserves to be found. Absence is hard, but sometimes forgiveness and understanding are far more challenging. Troy Dunn at least gives people the opportunity to see that path and choose whether or not to take it. It's painful to watch at times, but it's always a powerful journey.

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Joyce N.

I'd write to this show if I were you, Jen.

September 15 2009 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jen

This is similar to a Japanese show with a similar premise, which sadly went off the air this spring after about a decade. We were in line for my husband's father to be found (he left when my husband was 5) but it went off the air before that.

September 15 2009 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

I LOVE this show. Watched it last season, too, and it can bring you to tears at times and give you joy. The stories touch your heart. I hope that Rebekah will, in time, learn to forgive her dad and maybe time will heal her wounds. I grew up without my dad and found out that he died in 1975. I still think, if only, and I'm 62. Wish someone like Troy Dunn had been around way back when for me.

Everyone should try to catch this program.

September 14 2009 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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