ABC’s Resurrection Builds Tension With Solid Mystery
ABC has decided to hold off until midseason for Resurrection, one of its more intriguing dramas of the upcoming season. Previously titled The Return, the series stars Omar Epps (House) as a U.S. agent faced with an entire town of improbable cases.
When an 8-year-old boy wakes up in the middle of a rice field in China with nothing but the clothes on his back, the Immigration and Customs Department steps in. As the agent normally in charge of these transports has enough sense to go home on the weekends, Martin Bellamy (Epps) takes the case.
After a quick rundown, Martin learns he’s got nothing to go on. The kid possesses no ID or passport and has no known guardians. He also failed to match a description for any recent missing persons cases. All Bellamy knows is the boy’s name – Jacob (Landon Giminez) – which is scribbled in pen on his t-shirt tag. With so little information and nowhere to take him, the next move legally is to drop him off with Health and Human Services.
While stopped to get some food in their stomachs, Jacob wrenches in a surprising bit of information about the case. Despite all the departments digging, Jacob does have a home: Arcadia, Missouri. While Arcadia’s Sheriff claims there’s no missing child by that name, Bellamy makes the swift decision to take Jacob to Arcadia to try and find his family. When they arrive at the place Jacob claims is his home, a gentleman who looks as if his children could be adults answers the door.
The man’s name is Harold (Kurtwood Smith, That 70s Show) and he is missing no child. Instead we learn his son drowned 32 years ago, along with aunt, in the river behind their home. After hearing this Bellamy agrees he’s made a mistake, until Harold gets a good look at the kid. The 8-year-old has an alarming resemblance to his dead son. Harold’s wife Lucille (Frances Fisher, Titanic) is just as stunned, but far more eager to understand how the son she buried is standing right in front of her.
Jacob’s presence creates tension between locals, family and friends, as each person tries to figure out how this stranger knows things he couldn’t if he wasn’t Jacob. Harold’s brother, Sheriff Garland (Matt Craven, Crimson Tide) thinks the agent is holding back information. Harold’s niece and a local doctor, Gail (Devin Kelley, The Chicago Code), provides a thorough examination of the boy at the hospital, confirming after a brief, unsettling moment that he’s not a zombie. She even took the time to determine if someone coached him about the day of her own mother’s death. Still, amongst the many questioning, there are believers including Jacob’s mother, Lucille.
As Jacob starts to reveal more and more about the day of his death, it becomes harder to ignore what he’s claiming. Jacob not only describes in specific detail his drowning, but unknowingly uncovers an affair his aunt was having. Whether the boy will stay with Harold and Lucille is momentarily in question, but that will change once Bellamy uncovers another who has returned. Jacob’s reappearance tries both the logic and faith of the town as they all attempt to unravel the possibility of actual life after death.
Resurrection’s mystery resembles the slow build of Lost. The small town is as good a setting as any, but doesn’t provide an entirely original take on mysteries like this. What does have a fresher vibe is the premise; people dead for decades are popping up in rice fields and backyard sheds looking exactly how they did the day they died. It can feel a bit disorienting as you watch, but feels entirely intentional. The show watches like both you and the characters are trying to grasp what’s happening in near real time.
Like a solid drama the writing plays to the actors strengths. Omar Epps leads a strong cast sure to have you invested in their characters’ storylines. Resurrection is lacking on the action end, however, so expect more sentimental than heart pounding. Even without that aspect built in, the series presents viewers eager for a strong mystery plot with some food for thought.
Resurrection also stars Sam Hazeldine (The Raven) as Abel, Samaire Armstrong (Entourage) as Elaine, Nicholas Gonzalez (Off the Map) as Connor, and Mark Hildreth (Dragon Ball Z) as Tom. The series is executive produced by Aaron Zelman, JoAnn Alfano, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, and Jon Liebman. It’s written by Aaron Zelman (Damages, The Killing) and directed by Charles McDougall. Expect Resurrection to premiere as part of ABC’s 2014 midseason.