Unconvincing. The love may have been unconditional, but the casting was unoriginal, the detail was unbelievable, and the end result was unsatisfying.
The basic idea was fine. A couple suffered the horror of having their four-year-old son abducted and eventually presumed dead, only to find that he was alive, and the kidnapper wanted them to commit crimes in exchange for his life. Even the twist – that the abductor was the wife’s son, born when she was 14 and given up to a life of abuse in children’s homes – was a believable addition to the story. So what went wrong?
Basically, the way the idea was fleshed out and put into practice. Having Robson Green and Sarah Parish as the couple didn’t help, since they’re currently together every week as a pair of hotshot lawyers in BBC1’s Trust, and Green isn’t exactly known for acting his way out of audience familiarity. Tired dialogue and two-dimensional police officers weren’t much assistance either.
The real problem, however, was the sheer non-credibility of the details. Needless to say, the couple meekly obeyed when the kidnapper told them not to involve the police and took sole responsibility for saving their child from the clutches of a psychopath. That may, however, have been sensible. Despite being a loner who lived in a derelict hotel, he was able to monitor every last move, conversation and phone call they made, even when they were in separate buildings.
Mind you, life was made easier for him by the fact that, despite having been separated from home and parents for weeks on end, his toddler captive seemed completely undisturbed, contentedly riding his trike around the dank dungeon corridors, senses dulled only by the odd swig of Calpol. In the end, when a detective found the couple next to the newly-dead kidnapper and a literally smoking gun, she did what any highly-trained officer would do – let them go, back to a world where, presumably, neither police, neighbours nor media would ask any awkward questions about the sudden return of their child.