Tuesday, October 3, 2023

REVIEW: 'Found' - Gabi Relies on Her Traumatic Past to Rescue Missing People Society Overlooks in 'Pilot'

NBC's Found - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Crisis management specialist Gabi Mosley and her team find missing persons the authorities are unable or unwilling to locate. The search for a missing 14-year-old in foster care becomes more complicated than the team initially suspected.

"Pilot" was written by Nkechi Okoro Carroll and directed by DeMane Davis

Over twenty years ago, Gabi was abducted by Sir. She escaped after he took another young girl, Bella. He expected them to obey a certain script to maintain some freedom within his cabin. They couldn't abide. They fought back and earned their freedom. The police didn't find them. They doubt law enforcement should promise to capture the man who did this to them. The experience was much more brutal on Gabi as she was captive longer. However, it's obvious this trauma has a lasting impact on all involved. Lives were shaped because of this heinous monstrosity that exists in this world. Even as an adult, Gabi is still fighting to have a voice. She does so both for herself and the other missing people often overlooked in society. She has a purpose. She has devoted her life to it. And yet, so much was still shaped by that experience in her childhood. Her innocence was taken. She fought to reclaim her power.

Gabi has formed a crisis management team that works to find missing people. The entire world knows the face of the missing daughter of a sitting U.S. Senator. However, no one recognizes the name or picture of a missing child of color who disappeared weeks earlier. Gabi embraces whatever tactics are necessary to bring these missing people home to those who love them. People comment on the laws she breaks in order to obtain this justice. She never deals with any consequences because of the horrifying nature of the crimes she pursues. Law enforcement labels her a vigilante. She produces results. Her passion inspires others into action. She hopes others are as committed to search for these missing people as she is. She doesn't want anyone to suffer the same tragic fate she did. However, there are too many stories. She can't save everyone. One life is enough. The firm celebrates the people found even while knowing not every story can end that way.

Moreover, the people Gabi has hired are all suffering with their own unique pain. Gabi paid for Lacey to go to law school to open a world of possibilities for her. She didn't want her to join this practice. Lacey was motivated to become a lawyer because that's what Gabi needs in order to continue advocating for these victims. Lacey's identity has changed over the years. She is Bella. Gabi always has a close connection with her. They suffer together because of the trauma done to them by Sir. They reach out before either of them spends too much time in a dark headspace. They pull each other out of danger. The depths of their minds can be just as torturous as the inhumanity inflicted by Sir. They were brought together under extreme circumstances. They thrive because of each other now as well. Of course, their baggage now includes Lacey placing many locks on her door while Gabi actually has Sir chained up in her basement.

Sir is just another resource Gabi aims to exploit in order to excel at her job. Whenever she needs some insight on how a criminal who took someone would act, she asks for his advice. She's not looking to reform him. She doesn't celebrate his presence. She provides for him. She asks for cooperation. He's not the reason for her success. She uses her voice for good. Her story is meaningful. The world may not know what happened to the man who took her. She has control over the story. She has reframed it to make herself seem powerful. The tables have now turned. It also reveals the darkness that resides within her too. She doesn't let people get close enough to her to see the trauma she still carries. Some understand it better than others. She maintains a strict schedule to care for Sir. That doesn't disrupt her life. She justifies it in countless ways. This is simply what she needs to do. This is the only way to feel safe. She found him when others couldn't. And now, she extends that forward to others who need her help.

Gabi's team each have unique backgrounds that make them uniquely skilled for this job. She also seeks out broken people who are closely attached to such loss and despair. Margaret is waiting for her son to one day be found or come home to her. She's incredibly observant. She's honed those skills since that loss. She doesn't want to give up hope. Meanwhile, Zeke is afraid of ever leaving his home. This particular job may not inspire him to overcome his agoraphobia one day. In fact, it may only forever highlight the despairs of the outside world. He has the money and influence to make all of this possible. He's broken in ways that don't compromise his ability to do the job. However, he needs someone to extend a hand in compassion. Gabi has essentially assigned that task to Dhan. The former military officer sees no connection between them. It's obvious to others. It's a somewhat forced dynamic right away. However, the show creates plenty of dimension by adding these colors to the supporting ensemble. It ensures a cohesive tone and thematic approach instead of being defined by one story. Gabi has the personal motivation that creates an overarching narrative. She's not the only person who has dealt with this kind of pain.

That can never be lost even though the public unfortunately prioritizes some cases over others. The media declares who's a good enough victim to display their picture. Gabi doesn't want anyone to go unnoticed. Everyone has someone who loves them and will notice when something bad has happened. It shouldn't require the presence of a Senator to matter. The cases are connected though. Gabi saved Bella twenty years ago. Their presence together inspired action. The younger girl needed to be protected from the worst horrors. All these years later, that same narrative still applies. The parallels are obvious. They are heartwarming too because they highlight the ways in which humanity strives to be good and nurturing of one another. Every life is worth valuing and protecting. The rescue of the Senator's daughter wasn't the end of the story. More lives had to be found. The criminal needed to be arrested and held accountable. Families are reunited. That's the best outcome. A hard life ahead still awaits them as Gabi's team personifies. That's just one aspect of their lives. More complexity is sure to follow in a show that already operates with so much competence in itself.