NBC's 'Found' Is the Best Network Drama You're Not Watching (2024)

The Big Picture

  • NBC's Found combines real social commentary with action and drama, delivering a network drama that truly addresses important issues.
  • The show's cast, from the main characters to one-episode actors, provides gripping performances that humanize communities facing discrimination.
  • Found delivers both complex representations and thrilling storylines, keeping audiences engaged while giving underserved communities a platform.

Television dramas are their own class at this point, each one drawing from similar tropes — but, if successful, also proving that the genre is as successful now as it was decades ago. While there are several innovative concepts in the many dramas currently airing, too often they falter in an area that would truly allow them to excel. From Grey's Anatomy to , it's unfortunate how many of these shows use social issues or unique struggles as token episodes for their season, rather than give these issues the ample time they need to be properly discussed.

This is what makes NBC's Found such an exceptional example of a network television drama; the show combines real social commentary with the usual action and drama that people who love this kind of program will revel in. These showcases of real-world issues are carried through by the beautiful performances of not only the main cast but also one-off characters, individuals you don't see beyond one episode but whose complexity and earnestness leave you more informed about the issues they represent. Add to this an inventive and deeply alluring premise, and you have something hard to come by: a network drama that is truly made for its audience.

NBC's 'Found' Is the Best Network Drama You're Not Watching (1)
Found (2023)

TV-14

Drama

Each year, over 600,000 people are reported missing in the U.S., but not all cases receive the proper attention. Gabi Mosely and her crisis management team make sure there is always someone looking out for the forgotten missing people.

'Found' Saves the Communities That Society Forgets

In a televised world filled with angsty police, melodramatic firemen, and surprisingly sexual doctors, Found's premise immediately sets it apart by following a group of people who recognize that the rules established by society aren't ones that truly serve all. While other shows may have moments of characters shirking rules to do good, the series' main character Gabi Mosely (Shanola Hampton) is someone who has seen firsthand how little governmental systems care for marginalized people like her. She carries herself with a striking aura befitting a TV drama lead and uses her place as one of the country's leading recovery specialists (a private investigator specializing in finding missing people) to vocalize a truth that many watching the show already know: the law, and by extension the media, just don't care as much about certain missing people as they do others.

Each episode spotlights a different community facing this struggle (ranging from indigenous women to unhoused populations) and while the show does at times fall into histrionics typical of the genre, the real-world facts being broadcast are rooted in the unfortunate truths that ground the show's conceit. This can make certain episodes a devastating watch, seeing issues that many in reality have faced portrayed. While other shows may do this to the issues' detriment by using social problems as set dressing rather than addressing how integrally wrong their existence is, Found gives each the care they deserve.

One example of this plays out in an episode where the core team helps a sex worker struggling due to a stalker, whose threats against her are growing more and more dangerous. This terrified young woman is treated kindly, her line of work is respected, and the only criticism against her is spouted from a character the audience knows is unequivocally a bad person. This may sound basic, but sadly, sex workers are often discounted both by society and the law — making it that much harder for them to receive the life-saving help they need in the real world. This isn't the only time that Found respectfully explores a lifestyle or community that faces unjust cruelty, and by integrating this into pulse-pounding plots fans of TV dramas come for, it shows just how possible it is to address and solve the problems this show exists to highlight.

'Found' Has a Complex and Thrilling Cast of Characters

NBC's 'Found' Is the Best Network Drama You're Not Watching (2)

While Hampton's performance as Gabi Mosely is exemplary, one of Found's major draws is that she is only one of the many sophisticated performances the show is lucky to have. TV dramas are often built around their central team, a group of do-gooders whose sense of justice unites them while still causing enough conflict to keep things interesting. Each character has come to Mosely & Associates for a reason, all suffering from a past trauma that has granted them a personal understanding of how to save others. Other shows often use their characters' personal issues as opportunities for more drama, playing up what begins as real afflictions ordinary people face into fantastical examples of instability that cast an unfortunate (and usually damaging) perception of these problems in reality.

Found avoids this pitfall with versatile writing that gives these issues the complexities they deserve while resisting the urge to turn them into caricatures; while every person's experience with mental health varies, all are sensibly shown and don't play up the worst parts of their psyche for good television. Whether it be Zeke's (Arlen Escarpeta) agoraphobia and how he maneuvers his day-to-day, Lacey's (Gabrielle Walsh) PTSD that she struggles with but does not let define her, or Dhan's (Karan Oberoi) anxiety and how hard it can be to practice coping strategies no matter how badly she wants to, the series communicates each subject in a nuanced way that humanizes the people and their conditions.

While the core cast is what makes any television drama, Found excels by having a rotating set of one-episode characters who still manage to make their mark.As with most procedurals, the series typically follows a different case in each episode, with our core team being introduced to those who need their assistance and untangling a messy web of mystery before ultimately finding that episode's missing person. Not only does this further the representation by featuring a wide array of people from different identities and backgrounds, but it also delivers many tear-jerking performances that make the show as a whole resonate with the audience watching.

Found's ability to provide true humanity is largely owed to the many actors whose performances not only discuss important topics but deliver on the real-life anguish experienced by these communities facing this discrimination. The plots of each episode are wildly different from one another but are united in two aspects: each one features Mosely & Associates doing everything they can to find the missing person, and having a real feeling of urgency embedded in them to remind viewers just how devastatingly real the events are. The talent of the show's many performers creates a well-rounded product that ensures that no matter what episode someone tunes into, they'll know to expect something astounding.

Above All, 'Found' Delivers on the Drama

Beyond the complex representations that set Found apart from similar shows, it doesn't amplify this message at the expense of actual drama. It manages to juggle giving a platform to underserved communities while delivering thrilling storylines unlike any others currently on television. Gabi's origin sees the woman being kidnapped years before our story begins by the malicious Sir (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), a villain that differs greatly from the archetype of evil men that so many shows like this draw from. He is a truly modern monster, someone who abducts women for the sake of having a sounding board for his pretentious ideas and judgmental views. The scenes flashing back to Gabi's imprisonment are quietly deranged as the man plies the young woman with philosophy quotes, soliloquies on the dismal state of the modern world, and most of all, assurances that what he's doing is what's best for her. In the ultimate form of gaslighting, he tells Gabi constantly how his kidnapping was all an attempt to foster the brilliance he sees within her; this makes the young woman's eventual escape from the man by beating him over the head and running from the cabin he'd held her in all the more satisfying.

This backstory is particularly harrowing and justifies Gabi's mindset throughout the entire series: nobody in power looked for her, so she knows she can't leave it up to them to look for anyone else. This creates a compelling character whose story for the season will most likely be juggling the stress of searching for lost individuals while fearing the return of Sir, who many people in the pilot reiterate has not been found. This first episode sets up a plot that is intriguing and effective, full of predictable (but not bad) shocks down the line — making it even more jaw-dropping when it ends with the discovery that Gabi is keeping Sir locked up in her basem*nt, a play on Silence of the Lambs which draws out the tenuous relationship between the captor and captured across an entire season.

Gabi consults with Sir on her cases to gain insight from a kidnapper's mind and learns through the process just how deranged his 'love' for her has always been. It creates a dynamic that is exciting to watch yet eerily frightening as you see not only Sir attempt to manipulate the woman even through his chains, but also Gabi having to work hard not to become a cruel warden like he was to her. All of this is done with the utmost secrecy, as Gabi recognizes how much this discovery would discredit not only her but her entire team's work, creating a tension that fills every interaction between the two. This, paired with the mysteries that occupy each episode, creates a drama that simultaneously unnerves and excites all who watch in the best possible way.

Found is one of many TV dramas currently airing in a saturated market that makes it hard for a new show to stand out from already-established properties. With multiple series that have thrived for more than a decade on the theatrics of medical centers or police precincts, it can be difficult for audiences to dedicate their time to a novel new idea that proclaims itself as different from the shows they've spent years loving. Yet while it can be difficult to stray from comfort shows, giving Found a chance means experiencing an evolution of the genre that improves it for the better. This show combines the best parts of other popular dramas and creates an experience that, above all else, is extremely enjoyable to watch. With its amazing cast, ingenious stories, and electrifying plot, Found has already set itself up as the network drama to watch not only this season but, hopefully, many more to come.

Found is available to stream on Peaco*ck in the U.S.

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NBC's 'Found' Is the Best Network Drama You're Not Watching (2024)
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