REVIEW: 'Alert: Missing Persons Unit'

Dania Ramirez and Scott Caan in Alert: Missing Persons Unit
(Image credit: Fox)

Alert: Missing Persons Unit, a procedural drama set in Philadelphia, has Scott Caan as Jason and Dania Ramirez as Nikki, officers in the Missing Persons Unit (MPU) who used to be married.

The pilot begins with Jason as a soldier in Afghanistan, working to save a girl seated atop a terrorist’s bomb that is set to blow. It is while he is overseas that Jason and Nikki’s son Keith is abducted.

Upon returning home, Jason goes into private security while Nikki becomes head of the MPU. Their marriage, under the strain of their missing son, deteriorates.

The pilot, titled “Chloe”, sees Jason help Nikki track down a girl, who terrorists have abducted as revenge for her father’s work with the CIA. The girl is located fairly early in the episode, and Nikki brings her home, but doesn’t quite get Chloe over the threshold.

Jason and Nikki also get a call about what it will take to return their teen son to the couple. Nikki is dismissive of it, but Jason remains hopeful.

Is Alert entertaining? Yes. It doesn’t totally break new ground amid the many law enforcement procedurals, but does allow more character development than one typically sees in cop dramas. The chemistry and history between Jason and Nikki, including their lively banter, gives Alert an extra layer of texture. And Nikki is a badass cop who brings some acrobatics to the job, evident in her harrowing leap off a hotel’s upper floor landing and into a pool to corral an escaping heel. 

“We’re not gonna make it down on time,” her partner said seconds before her vault.

“Not using the stairs,” replied Nikki.

Caan, meanwhile, is a known entity in a cop role who wears the role comfortably.

Each episode will likely offer a unique missing persons case, while the story of just what happened to son Keith will be ongoing.

Graham Verchere plays Keith. Ryan Broussard portrays Nikki’s love interest Mike, a member of the MPU. Adeola Role plays Kemi, whose shaman background provides a multifaceted approach to pinpointing bad guys.

The show comes from John Eisendrath and Jamie Foxx.

Alert: Missing Persons Unit premieres on Fox January 8. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.