Baptiste star Tchéky Karyo on why he was thrilled to return as the dogged detective in a spin-off from The Missing
After relentlessly trying to track down lost loved ones in two acclaimed series of The Missing, determined French detective Julien Baptiste, played by Tchéky Karyo, is back in BBC1’s thrilling new six-part spin-off Baptiste.
The Missing ended with the sleuth undergoing surgery for a brain tumour. But Baptiste, which also stars Tom Hollander and Jessica Raine, finds him recovering in Amsterdam where his former girlfriend Martha (Barbara Sarafian), the city’s police chief, asks him to help look for a missing sex worker.
Here, Tchéky Karyo reveals all to TV Times about The Missing spin-off Baptiste…
TV Times: Did you expect Baptiste to come back?
Tchéky Karyo: “I was like the audience when we saw him having surgery and there was the mystery of, ‘Is he dying?’ But Jack and Harry didn’t want to say goodbye to that character because he still has skeletons in his closet and things left to be solved so now we have a spin-off and follow the story through his eyes. I’ve been stretched but I’m proud of it.”
TVT: Baptiste doesn’t have different timelines like The Missing, but are there similarities?
TK: “It cuts to the chase more but there’s still the DNA of The Missing. There are flashbacks and some flabbergasting twists so it keeps the trepidation the audience had watching The Missing. There’s a lot of mystery that’ll be unveiled. You’re concerned from the first line.”
TVT: What does he make of the case?
TK: “He doesn’t want to go for it, he’s recovering, happy to be alive and wants to dedicate himself to his family. But he needs to be on deck and he becomes obsessed with the case because his family comes into danger. There’s an urgency and he’s threatened too.”
TVT: What’s Baptiste’s relationship like with Martha?
TK: “It’s interesting. I was surprised. I thought about why they aren’t still together. At work, she knows he’s skilled and they’ve a good understanding. But their relationship becomes complicated because of shadows I can’t reveal…”
TVT: Why have audiences taken to Baptiste as a character?
TK: “For me it’s a gift that I’m French but this has connected with the British audience. They always ask me, ‘How’s the limp?!’ [Baptiste’s injury from series one of The Missing] I feel like Britain has given me a big embrace and I’m glad to give hugs back! Baptiste has wisdom, you can rely on him and he gives you hope. He’s an example for me, but he’s a better man than I am!”
Baptiste begins on Sunday 17 February at 9pm on BBC1.