Baptiste is a baptism into the the world of sex trafficking and Romanian gangsters. After starring for two seasons in Missing, retired French police detective Julien Baptiste spins off into his own six-part masterful Masterpiece series. The Amsterdam police persuade Baptiste to assist them looking for a missing sex worker. He ruefully acknowkledges “I have become famous because I found a missing few. But, there is an ocean of forgotten.”
Brilliantly written and set in the gorgeous capital of the Netherlands, Baptiste keeps you guessing. Each episode begins with a new character, the audience soon aware that he/she will play an integral part. Each major character has depth, as their lives slowly peel away before us. The Romanians are particularly ruthless, as you might expect. “Everyone cares about something; everyone has something to lose.” Baptiste is somewhat a quirky leading man, but don’t let that sway you. I give the series 4.0 Gavels and it receives an 83% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a solid 7.2/10 IMDb score.
Edward Stratton tells Commissioner Martha Horchner that his niece, Natalie Rose, is missing. Recovering from a brain tumor, Julien Baptiste reluctantly agrees to help. Both a sex worker and an addict, Natalie is allegedly indebted to the Romanian drug boss, Dragomir Zelincu. Yet, no one has seen him for years. The Brigada Serbilu is well known for making girls disappear. Against all odds, Baptiste finds Natalie only to have everything he knows turned upside down. And, that is just the beginning.
Acting in such films as Bad Boys, Kiss of the Dragon, The Patriot, and Goldeneye, you will likely know Tcheky Karyo‘s face and voice, if not his name. Julien Baptiste “never walks away from anything. It is his most irritating and most brilliant trait.” More recognizable is Tom Hollander, here as Edward Stratton. Among many others, you’ve seen him in Tulip Fever, A Private War, Doctor Thorne, and The Night Manager. Jessica Raine, of Garrow’s Law and Line of Duty, appears as Genevieve Taylor, the Europol agent in charge of taking down the Brigada Serbilu.
So many secrets are revealed, one empathizes with Greg who says with a wry smile, “my capacity for believing things I didn’t think possible has recently expanded.” Still, for all the violence, Baptiste ultimately provides a measure of hope. “You never get over it, you just learn to live with the pain.” With that pain comes “new life.”
Indie London writes “Baptiste remains grimly compulsive viewing – driven by an intelligent and twisting script, as well as a trio of excellent performances.” Even more glowing, The New Statesman says “I leapt from my seat like an electric eel, and once my heart had stopped hammering, found myself suddenly and quite unexpectedly in eager anticipation of part two.” While I wouldn’t go that far, I will say Baptiste is excellent TV. In sum, get yourself anointed.