Saturday, July 07, 2007

TV on DVD: Kidnapped

• One of the unfortunate casualties of the TV season gets life on DVD.

Genres: Drama, brilliant but canceled
DVD released: April 24, 2007
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, Timothy Hutton, Dana Delany, Will Denton, Delroy Lindo, Doug Hutchison, Carmen Ejogo, Michael Mosley, Linus Roache, Otto Sanchez
Verdict: &&&&1/2

Kidnapped was, hands down, my favorite new show of the 2006-07 season, and, in just 13 episodes, became one of my favorite TV viewing experiences ever. It was a victim of unfortunate timing, coming in the post-Lost glut of serials that, in hindsight, have been declared too demanding of viewers (Studio 60, The Nine, etc.). That's a shame — heaven forbid that we ask viewers to have an attention span. Down-and-out NBC, suffering from an itchy trigger finger, axed the show after three episodes, banished it to Saturday night and ceased airing it altogether after five shows. Fortunately for fans, the show does completely wrap up the main plot in its 13 episodes (with the door cleverly left open for more, despite the cancellation), which have miraculously been released on DVD. Kidnapping is not even a theme that particularly interests me, but I was instantly drawn into this complex drama, which feels more like a long, intricately crafted feature film than a network television show. The kidnapping victim is 15-year-old Leopold Cain (Will Denton), son of wealthy businessman Conrad Cain (Timothy Hutton). The family hires Knapp (Jeremy Sisto), a renegade former FBI agent who specializes in the return of kidnapped children by working outside the law. The bad guys are a teasing enigma who kill their own minions who carried out the crime; especially effective are the cold assassin The Accountant (James Urbaniak) and the smooth-talking Schroeder (Doug Hutchison, who played Eugene Tooms in The X-Files). Just about everyone in Kidnapped has a secret or dark side casting doubt on his or her motives, and these are sprinkled throughout, keeping the viewer guessing as to what's a red herring. There's arguably just a tad of meandering between the first half dozen episodes and the final three, in which a motive the viewer doesn't see coming, yet makes perfect sense, is revealed with nail-biting brilliance. Some of the best scenes take place in Mexico, where a conflicted pair of overseers keep Leopold Cain handcuffed to a bed and struggle to keep their secret. Aiding the smart writing is an impeccable cast from top to bottom, with the likes of Dana Delaney as the mom, Ellie Cain; Delroy Lindo as Latimer King, the FBI agent who puts retirement on hold to take the case; and Carmen Ejogo as Turner, Knapp's wily assistant. It does nothing for my faith in television that a show this good cannot succeed. // DVD notes // The show looks and sounds smashing on DVD. A featurette, "Ransom Notes," offers brief cast interviews and details the meaning behind the names of characters.

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