Stana Katic Is Terrific in Amazon Prime’s Absentia

FBI agent Emily Byrne (Stana Katic) was tracking a possible serial killer when she disappeared. After six years, she’s believed to be dead. The bureau mourns the loss of a brave agent who left behind a husband, FBI agent Nick Durand (Patrick Heusinger), their son, Flynn, Emily’s father, Warren (Paul Freeman), and her brother, Jack (Neil Jackson). After a year, Nick marries Alice, who Flynn now regards as his mother.

In the middle of the night, Nick gets a phone call from Conrad Harlow (Richard Blake), the serial killer now in prison for Emily’s murder. He tells Nick that Emily is alive and where to find her. Quickly pulling together an FBI team, they find Emily in a large tank nearly filled with water. With minutes to spare, they free her. The euphoria over Emily’s rescue soon morphs into allegations that she was involved in her disappearance, actually working with Harlow to kill others. Nick’s life is thrown into turmoil, with Alice questioning his love and Flynn reluctant to accept Emily as his mother. Jack has lost his medical license and is fighting to stay sober, blaming Emily for his downward slide. Only Warren remains faithful to his daughter, believing in her innocence.

After Harlow is released from prison, he’s found stabbed to death in his apartment. Emily is the prime suspect. Not trusting anyone from the bureau to help her prove her innocence, she goes on the run. Initially she keeps in touch with Nick, but when he joins forces with a Boston Police Detective to bring her in and charge her with a crime, she cuts off her ex-husband, too. Emily tries to keep one step ahead of everyone as the puzzle to figure out who is framing her and why becomes a seemingly impossible task.

Katic, who starred with Nathan Fillion in ABC’s Castle, gets the opportunity to spread her acting wings in this taut drama. She portrays Emily as the tough FBI agent she once was, but also as a woman haunted by the years of torture she endured, suffering flashbacks and blackouts. Just the sign of a fish tank is enough to send her reeling.

The supporting cast is good, with Neil Jackson, as her brother, the standout. And don’t miss Freeman, who fans of Indiana Jones will remember as Belloq, the French archeologist who joined forces with the Nazis to nearly outsmart Indiana in the search for the lost religious artifact. 

Amazon Prime has renewed Absentia for another season. We can’t wait.

Top: Neil Jackson as Jack Byrne, Stana Katic as Emily Byrne

About Charlene Giannetti (890 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her new book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "19 Daniel Highway," focusing on the opioid crisis that will be filmed in October, 2018, in New Jersey. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.