Missing: Dead or Alive? Season 1 Review – a below average entry in the true crime genre

By Marc Miller
Published: May 10, 2023 (Last updated: March 11, 2024)
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Missing: Dead or Alive? Season 1 Review
Missing: Dead or Alive? Season 1 (Credit - Netflix)


Missing: Dead or Alive? brings nothing new or interesting to the true crime docuseries genre.

There are so many true crime series streaming right now. It’s hard to determine which are worth watching and which are worth skipping. The key is to find a series that harmoniously blends the technical aspects of the cases with human interest stories ranging from the victims to those investigating the crimes. Another Netflix entry into the genre is Missing: Dead or Alive?, which overanalyzes the investigation team members to the point of watering down the product.

Missing: Dead or Alive? Season 1 Review

Carolina. The series’ strength is the wide range of cases that vary significantly in terms of their results. There are 250 missing persons in “The Palmetto  State,” which is low compared to other states such as California (3,213), Texas (2,299), Florida (1,650), Alaska (1,218), and New York (1,064). But where the state lacks in numbers it seems to excel in exciting and acute cases.

The squad immediately investigates a case of a missing older adult woman, and they think her ex-military son has something to do with it. Another case involves a father looking for his missing pre-teen daughter, who has disappeared with his ex-wife. A lotto winner has wandered out without a trace.

Finally, a foster child goes missing, and the fear is she has been sold into sex trafficking.

Missing: Dead or Alive? is produced by Stuart Froude and Graeme McAulay and directed by Alex Irvine-Cox. The series is hyper-focused on one investigator, Vicki Raines, who wears her feelings on her sleeve to the point where she and some of her fellow squad members seem to be showing off or mugging for the camera.

Raines takes the job so personally that she considers transferring if she finds a missing person deceased. When a case takes a turn, most would not expect her actions at the end of the first episode to appear rehearsed when finding an essential piece of crucial evidence and when rejoicing on the phone with her fellow missing-person investigator.

The episodes are also oddly constructed, with some ending a few moments into the next and the minutes of each varying wildly in length. The first episode is the best, with a shocking reveal that surprised me, but the rest of the series pales in comparison.

Far too much time is focused on the investigators than the subjects and their families. When the docuseries focuses on the subjects and their families, the show finds its footing.

Is Missing: Dead or Alive? Worth Watching?

The series is an average to below-average series for the streaming giant. Any true crime junkie, myself included, will have trouble getting through this. This is simply another retread entry in the genre. The series brings nothing new or interesting to the true crime docuseries genre.

Is Netflix’s Missing: Dead or Alive Real or Fake?

The true crime series is real, but it seems that the production team is so keen to make this more unique than other shows that there are points where it feels staged or scripted. It is an odd feeling to watch and hard to describe. If you are interested in this subject matter, you can check it out for yourself and then let us know what you think.

The fly-on-the-wall nature of the show threw me, but as I watched, I often felt that we were watching a hybrid of true crime and lousy drama.

We could argue that there are a lot of scenes within the series that seem scripted. Perhaps a scene hasn’t worked, and the director had prepared something more appropriate for the characters to say in a re-shoot. This is hypothetical, though, I have no real insight into the show’s production, and there may be a lot of unscripted natural reactions, but I get the feeling a lot of the show was also scripted.

While the subject matters are so sad, I understand how some people could watch this show and think it is fake. The easy access that the camera crew seems to have with the interactions that occur, including different angles within a scene, is sometimes jarring.

The line delivery sometimes comes across as overly dramatic or poorly delivered, and the music is intrusive too. I suppose when The Office first aired in the UK with Ricky Gervais, there were many, many people and critics that thought it was real and a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

What did you think of the Netflix’s Missing: Dead or Alive? Season 1? Comment below.


Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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