This Thursday, September 17, Peacock will launch its latest original series, the suspense drama Departure. The series just finished up airing on Universal TV in the UK last month, but makes its way to U.S. audiences tomorrow. (Canadian viewers can find the series on Global later this year.)
When British Global Air Flight 716 mysteriously vanishes over the Atlantic during its voyage from New York to London, Transport Safety and Investigations Bureau (TSIB) head Howard Lawson (Christopher Plummer, Knives Out) calls in the brilliant investigator Kendra Malley (Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife) to lead the investigation. Kendra had taken a personal leave of absence after her husband died in a car accident, and is still struggling to come to terms with the traumatic incident. However, she may be the best hope of figuring out what happened. With potential survivors only having about 4 hours before hypothermia sets in, and the plane’s black boxes potentially disappearing forever into the depths of the ocean, there’s no time to waste.
Kendra’s team includes former Scotland Yard detective Dominic Hayes (Kris Holden-Reid, Umbrella Academy, The Expanse), marine meteorologist Nadia Jolie (Tamara Duarte, Wynonna Earp, Longmire), and longtime friends/colleagues Theo Bilodeau (Mark Rendall, Versailles) and Levi Holl (Peter Mensah, Midnight, Texas). As the team conducts its investigation, they often find the powers that be suspiciously steering things in specific directions—a suicidal captain, a terrorist on board, etc. Kendra suspects someone may be trying to cover up what truly happened on that flight. Could it be BGA CEO Dougray Scott (Batwoman), or maybe the airplane manufacturer, both of whom stand to lose a lot of money if their companies are found liable?
As the investigation broadens, so does the conspiracy surrounding the events on the flight and a possible cover-up, and joining the investigative team is MI-5 agent Janet Freeh (Claire Forlani, Meet Joe Black). The only person who may be able to explain what truly happened on that flight is its sole survivor, Madelyn Strong (Rebecca Liddiard, Frankie Drake Mysteries). It is through her memories and flashbacks that Kendra (and the viewer) slowly learns how events played out aboard the plane. However, someone is eager to keep Madelyn silent and prevent her from telling her story.
The series has an excellent cast, and while I found the premise of the show to be very interesting, the execution is a bit clunky. The series gets a little too ambitious at times, trying to add in layer after layer of conspiracy, causing it to come off a little too ridiculous and unbelievable at times. For example, two additional characters not mentioned above: first, there’s billionaire Russian businessman Pavel Bartok (Sasha Roiz, Suits, Grimm), whose company Kendra had investigated 5 years earlier; and second, there’s Kendra’s rebellious hacker son, AJ (Alexandre Bourgeois), who still has not gotten over his father’s death and holds a grudge against Bartok for tearing his family apart, and as a result he gets mixed up in this militant group trying to take down Bartok down. While their storylines do eventually intersect with the investigation, they do so in a somewhat ridiculous and unbelievable ways.
At launch, all 6 42-minute episodes of the first season will be available to watch for Peacock Premium subscribers, while those with the basic free tier should be able to at least check out the first episode. The first season does build to a solid conclusion, but also sets things up for a potential second season.