The Missing season 1 ending explained – Is Ollie dead or alive?

By Feron Jayawardene — ON Apr 25, 2022
The missing S1
Emily (Frances O’Connor) and Tony (James Nesbitt) | Starz

When it comes to crime drama, the BBC does not disappoint. Viewers were left both baffled and emotional after watching the final episode of The Missing. After following the grief of Tony (James Nesbitt) and Emily (Frances O’Connor) who lost their only child Ollie, the viewers were given some closure for a brief moment. But it was again taken away after a cliff-hanger ending. So, is Ollie dead, or alive?

Caution: Major spoilers ahead.

Also note: The story is set in two timelines; one is 2006 where Ollie disappears and the other in present-day 2014.

Ollie goes missing during a family holiday

During a family vacation in France, Ollie and his father Tony goes to watch a football match and Ollie goes missing. Veteran detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) is called onto the scene by then detective Georges Deloix (Eric Godon) to lead the investigation.

The scene cuts to 2014, where a distraught Tony is still looking for his son. Jack sees a recent photo on social media with a child wearing the same scarf that Ollie wore in the same town where he disappeared. Tony meets with Julien to canvas local shops for details about the scarf and they find a house with a drawing made by Ollie in the basement. The police won’t officially open the investigation, but Tony and Julien start working in secret.

Meanwhile, in 2006, the police suspect a child sex offender called Vincent Bourg to be the prime suspect of the case, but he later gets bailed out by Ian Garett, a wealthy businessman in the area. Garett also offers a big reward for anyone with information about Ollie to gain Tony’s trust, but Tony suspects something between Garett and Vincent.

Tony later beats up Vincent and questions him, revealing that Garett is also involved in abusing children. Tony sneaks inside Garett’s yacht and uncovers dozens of child abuse tapes. He threatens Garett and later Kills him after making sure that they didn’t use Ollie.

The reopened investigation finds unseen footage of Ollie’s disappearance

After the investigation is reopened, the police uncover new footage from the opposite house that Ollie was taken to. The footage reveals that Ollie was alive and looking through the window before a man arrives and grabs Ollie.

The plot in 2006 takes an unexpected turn when an undercover detective named Antoine contacts Julien with information on a ‘package’ moving through the criminal underground. Antoine is killed just when Julien goes to meet him setting off a car chase between him and the killer, but the killer gets away.

In the present day, Julien and Tony meet with Rini Dalca who was a drug addict that turned her life around into a teacher. She also happens to be Antoine’s girlfriend and had a connection to trafficker Karl Sieg, who was seen around the vicinity of the house Ollie was kidnapped.

They track Karl who asks for a hefty bribe for information. He reveals that a police officer had collected some evidence, but Julien says the evidence wasn’t submitted to the investigation and the police officer was Khalid Ziane.

Khalid Ziane reveals what happened to the missing piece of evidence

In 2006, a reporter called Malik Suri tracks Ziane’s past criminal records and blackmails him into becoming a source. He later threatened to expose him, sending anonymous details to Julien, which caused Ziane to break Julien’s leg, ending up in prison. Malik also speaks with Vincent and gets to know about Garett’s murder.

Meanwhile, Mark Walsh, the English detective assigned to this case and Emily’s present fiancée tracks a lab report submitted by Malik during the time of Ollie’s disappearance, meaning it was the stolen piece of evidence. Mark blackmails Malik and makes him reveal the missing piece of evidence in exchange for a life without prison.

What happened to Ollie?

Malik gives up the evidence and Tony identifies it as a sobriety coin of Alain, the housekeeper of the hotel where the family stayed in 2006. They confront Alain who is now in hospital.

Alain reveals that Oliver had followed a fox into the road the night he disappeared. Alain had hit him and believing he was dead, called his brother Georges, the detective turned mayor. Georges had called a Romanian hitman to dispose the body, but Oliver was alive at the time. Still, the Romanian proceeds to kill Oliver because the child had seen his face. Georges hasn’t revealed the place Ollie was buried to Alain.

Julien, along with the police confronts Georges, and he kills himself before giving any information. Vincent Bourg also commits suicide after his hormone replacement therapy doesn’t go as planned. Alain dies with his wife at his side who doesn’t know anything about his involvement. Emily marries Mark and Tony still don’t want to believe his son is dead.

The first season ends with Tony combing through Russia still searching for Ollie. He knocks on a door and a teenager appears. Tony thinks that the teenager is his missing son before the police take him away.

Although the ending is open to interpretation, it is very safe to assume that Ollie is dead. The last scene depicts Tony’s inability to come to terms with his son’s death.

The series went through many twists and turns to reveal the truth. Although the ending of the plot itself can be seen as a failure, the series as a whole opens the door to a timely discussion about acceptance and moving on. Everyone in the season, except Tony finds their way of moving on and accepting what happened. Something Tony never can come to terms with.