The 20 Best Scripted TV Shows about Missing Persons

Here’s a list of the best missing persons TV shows that are full of character-driven storytelling, dark secrets, and unexpected twists When it comes to the terrifying idea of missing persons, TV creators have long captured audiences with intricate narratives that unravel the mysteries surrounding their disappearances.

These gripping tales not only offer suspenseful entertainment but also delve into the profound emotional impact on those left behind.

Viewers are invited to piece together clues, sift through red herrings, and experience the rollercoaster of hope and despair that accompanies each revelation.

With character-driven storytelling and unexpected twists, these shows explore not only the search for the absent but also the web of relationships and secrets that often come to light.

So, arm yourself with popcorn and your most intriguing conspiracy theories as we prepare to delve into the TV series that keeps us on the edge of our seats, exclaiming, “I knew it!” when the missing person is finally found.

Without a Trace, CBS (2002 – 2009)

This TV drama chronicles the inner workings of the FBI’s Missing Persons Unit as they solve cases of disappearances.

Led by Agent Jack Malone, the team employs meticulous investigative techniques to unravel the intricate puzzle of each missing person’s life.

But it’s not all about solving mysteries; this show tugs at your heartstrings as you see the devastating impact on families left hanging in the balance.


From heart-wrenching interviews to the tense race against time, Without a Trace takes you on a wild ride that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat.

With a perfect blend of mystery and empathy, it’s a binge-worthy series that seriously makes you think about the stories behind every missing-person poster you’ve ever seen.

Alert: Missing Persons Unit, Fox (2023 – present)

Get ready for an intense and compelling journey as Nikki Batista joins the Philadelphia Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit, a team that dives headfirst into cases of missing persons that even the sharpest minds have trouble with.

As she gets to know the team, which includes her ex-husband Jason, they help bring home loved ones and reunite families.

However, Nikki and Jason have a personal stake in the story as they are simultaneously looking for their missing son, giving them a deeply involved motivation.

You’ll be on the edge of your seat as they connect the dots, sift through evidence, and race against time to bring people back home.

Gone, TF1 (2017 – 2018)

Immerse yourself in the intense world of Gone, a TV show that revolves around the high-stakes realm of missing person investigations.

Following the life of Kit Kick Lannigan, a survivor of a high-profile abduction, the show traces her transformation from a victim to a fierce investigator.

As part of a special task force, Kick joins forces with a seasoned FBI agent to crack open baffling cases of disappearances.

Each episode takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride as Kick and her team dig deep into the complexities of each case, revealing secrets, chasing leads, and unearthing unexpected connections.

1-800-Missing, Lifetime (2003 – 2006)

1-800-Missing, based on the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU novels by Meg Cabot, follows the life of Jess Mastriani, a university student who unexpectedly develops the ability to receive visions about missing persons after being struck by lightning.

As Jess grapples with her newfound gift, she becomes entangled in a web of intrigue, working alongside law enforcement agencies to solve perplexing cases.

Each episode presents a unique missing persons puzzle, propelling Jess and her team into a race against time to piece together the clues and find the truth.

The show masterfully blends thrilling plotlines with Jess’s personal struggles as she navigates the emotional toll of her visions and the challenges of balancing her everyday life with her extraordinary abilities.

The Missing, BBC One (2014 – 2016)

Prepare for an emotional and riveting journey through The Missing, a show that unfolds in a gripping narrative that follows a distraught father’s relentless pursuit of answers after his young son suddenly disappears during a vacation.

Set against the backdrop of a small town in France, the show offers a plot-driven experience that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

Each episode peels back layers of mystery, revealing fragments of the truth as timelines weave together and secrets are exposed.

For fans of plot-rich dramas, this is a must-watch. It delivers a blend of mystery and heart, shedding light on the complexities of loss, the persistence of hope, and the relentless pursuit of closure in the face of the unknown.

The Disappearance, CTV (2017)

The Disappearance follows the heart-wrenching journey of a family grappling with the disappearance of 10-year-old Anthony Sullivan during his birthday treasure hunt.

The show takes viewers on a quest for truth. Spanning eight episodes, the series meticulously constructs its narrative as each installment reveals new layers of the mystery, unveiling clues that challenge assumptions and ignite curiosity.

As the story unfolds, the tension intensifies, inviting viewers to piece together the puzzle alongside the characters.

With its intricately crafted plot, the show is emotionally raw, captivating viewers by striking a balance between suspenseful storytelling and insightfully deep character development.

Chasing Shadows, ITV (2014)

This British TV show revolves around the investigations of a quirky but brilliant detective and her partner as they delve into missing persons cases.

The show primarily focuses on the professional and personal dynamics between the two main characters as they work together to solve a variety of mysteries.

Meet Detective Sargeant Sean Stone, who possesses an uncanny ability to decipher patterns and make connections that elude others.

Stone’s partner, Ruth Hattersley, is a skilled analyst who provides a more practical and grounded perspective to their investigations.

Each episode features a different missing persons case that requires Stone and Hattersley to uncover hidden connections and decode cryptic clues.

Missing, Starz (2012)

Follow the gripping story of Becca Winstone, a former CIA agent who takes matters into her own hands when her son disappears while studying abroad in Europe.

Driven by determination and fueled by her espionage background, Becca embarks on a relentless search for her son across various countries.

With every step, she unearths a complex web of international conspiracies, espionage, and intrigue.

Throughout the series, Becca’s determination and resourcefulness create a captivating mix of intrigue and emotional depth, making Missing a compelling watch for those who enjoy plot-driven dramas with a touch of espionage and heart-pounding suspense.

Missing Persons, ABC (1993)

This crime drama focuses on the investigations carried out by a special unit dedicated to solving missing persons cases in Chicago.

The show follows the team’s efforts as they search for answers and strive to bring closure to the families of those who have vanished.

The plot revolves around the daily challenges faced by the Missing Persons Unit as they navigate a city full of mysteries.

Led by the tenacious and experienced Detective Sergeant Al Rossi, the team tackles a wide range of cases involving disappearances, runaways, and unidentified bodies.

They use their skills to piece together the details surrounding each disappearance, following leads and clues that often lead to unexpected twists.

Baptiste, BBC One (2019 – 2021)

Serving as a spin-off from The Missing mentioned above, Baptiste centers around the character Julien Baptiste, a retired detective who becomes embroiled in new and complex cases.

The narrative follows his journey as he navigates the complexities of each investigation, often involving missing persons, murder, and hidden truths.

Throughout the series, Baptiste uses his skills as a seasoned investigator to navigate the intricate details of each case, untangling webs of deception and pursuing leads to find missing persons and bring criminals to justice.

Each case adds a new layer to the overarching plot, revealing connections and mysteries that challenge Baptiste’s understanding of the world around him.

Found, NBC (2023 – present)

A newer addition to the small screen, Found sheds light on a chilling statistic: each year, over 600,000 people are reported missing in the U.S., with a significant portion being individuals of color, often overlooked by the system.

The show’s protagonist is Gabi Mosely, a former missing person herself who now specializes in PR and leads a crisis management team dedicated to locating these missing individuals.

However, unbeknownst to everyone, Mosely harbors a dark secret of her own.

Found is an enthralling premise for true-crime fans and boasts an impressive ensemble cast, making it a show to keep an eye on.

The Gone, Sky Atlantic (2023 – present)

The Gone follows Detective Sergeant Diana Huia, who is reluctantly placed in the spotlight as the lead investigator in the small New Zealand town of Mt. Affinity.

Despite her reservations, she takes charge of the mysterious case involving the sudden disappearance of Irish visitors Sinead Martin and Ronan Garvey.

Their vanishing act leaves the community unsettled, especially given the town’s history of the mountain murders that scarred its past.

Diana delves into the investigation, unraveling the unsettling circumstances surrounding the couple’s disappearance.

In her pursuit of truth, she uncovers potential connections to an Irish criminal cartel, complicating matters further.

Desaparecidos, Amazon Prime Video (2020)

This Italian TV series delves into the world of missing persons investigations.

The show follows a team of investigators led by Detective Walter Serrano as they work tirelessly to solve cases of people who have mysteriously disappeared.

Set in the city of Turin, the series portrays the complexities and challenges faced by the investigators as they navigate the intricate web of each case.

The heart of Desaparecidos lies in its plot-driven narrative, where each episode focuses on unraveling the mysteries behind missing persons.

As the team delves into the lives and histories of those who’ve vanished, they uncover hidden secrets, unexpected connections, and personal struggles that often shed light on the cases.

A Confession, ITV (2019)

In this gripping drama, we delve into the real-life investigation surrounding the disappearance of Sian O’Callaghan, a 22-year-old woman from Swindon, England.

The show follows Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher as he becomes embroiled in the case and makes a difficult decision that will have far-reaching consequences.

A Confession centers on Fulcher’s relentless pursuit of the truth, which leads him to break the rules and arrest a prime suspect, Christopher Halliwell.

However, the evidence obtained through Fulcher’s unconventional methods is inadmissible in court, prompting a moral and ethical dilemma.

As Fulcher grapples with the consequences of his actions, the investigation takes unexpected turns, revealing the dark secrets of the perpetrator and the lengths Fulcher is willing to go to find justice.

Eden, Spectrum Originals (2021)

Set against the backdrop of stunning Australian beaches and lush forests, Eden unravels a gripping mystery that challenges the picturesque facade of a small beach community.

The series follows the events leading up to and following a young woman’s disappearance, with secrets and darkness lurking beneath the surface.

As friends reunite, tensions rise, culminating in a party altercation that leads to one of them vanishing.

The authorities suspect foul play, unraveling a multigenerational saga of love, lust, shattered dreams, and power struggles.

Each episode presents a different character’s perspective, peeling back the layers of the community’s long-buried secrets.

Amber, RTE One (2014)

This gripping drama revolves around the enigmatic disappearance of a teenage girl named Amber Bailey.

The series unfolds as Amber vanishes without a trace, leaving her family and community in turmoil.

Through a series of interconnected events, secrets are unveiled, and the search for Amber uncovers the complexities of relationships, hidden truths, and the impact of her absence on those left behind.

The show masterfully weaves suspense and drama as it delves into the emotional turmoil and relentless search efforts that follow Amber’s disappearance.

Bellevue, CBC Television (2017)

Follow Detective Annie Ryder as she becomes obsessed with solving the case of a transgender teenager who goes missing.

As Annie delves deeper into the investigation, she uncovers a web of secrets and dark connections within the town, including her own past.

The search for the missing teenager unravels the town’s underbelly, exposing tensions, hidden motives, and long-buried truths.

As Annie struggles to solve the case while confronting her own demons, the series immerses audiences in a compelling narrative that challenges perceptions and keeps them guessing until the very end.

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, BBC One (1996 – 1998)

Meet Hetty Wainthropp, a determined and unconventional older woman who becomes a private investigator later in life.

The show combines mystery, humor, and a touch of drama as Hetty uses her wit, resourcefulness, and keen observation skills to solve various cases.

Set in Lancashire, England, the series focuses on Hetty’s transition from a housewife to a sleuth, often involving her supportive husband, Robert, and young assistant Geoffrey Shawcross.

Each episode presents a different case, ranging from missing persons to fraud and theft, showcasing Hetty’s determination to seek justice and help those in need.

Missing: The Other Side, OCN (2020)

This South Korean drama revolves around a mysterious village called Duon, where the living and the dead coexist in an eerie harmony.

Detective Kim Wook stumbles upon Duon while investigating a missing person case.

As he delves deeper, he discovers that the village is inhabited by both living people and spirits who are unable to move on.

These lingering spirits harbor unresolved emotions and unfinished business that tie them to the mortal realm.

Here, Kim Wook joins forces with a team of individuals with special abilities, each possessing their own connection to the supernatural.

Together, they work to uncover the truth behind the disappearances and help the spirits find closure, allowing them to cross over to the afterlife.

Top of the Lake Season 1, BBC Two (2013)

Lastly, we head to a small New Zealand town shrouded in secrets, where the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl named Tui leaves the inhabitants reeling.

Detective Robin Griffin returns to her hometown to visit her dying mother, only to find herself drawn into the investigation of Tui’s vanishing.

As Robin digs deeper into the case, she uncovers a complex web of personal and societal issues, including abuse, crime, and disturbing family dynamics.

Her relentless pursuit of the truth leads to intense confrontations and unexpected revelations that shed light on the town’s dark underbelly.

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