1-800-Missing

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1-800-Missing (2003-2006) is a crime drama centered on Jessica Mastriani (Caterina Scorsone), who acquires psychic abilities after being hit by lightning. She uses the clues from her psychic visions to help the FBI locate missing persons. At first, Jess is unable to control her psychic abilities, and the dreams she gets after seeing pictures of missing persons are full of symbolism and often difficult to interpret. She becomes better able to control and understand her visions as the series goes on.

After the first season, the show was retooled, which included replacing the supporting characters, making the dynamic more ensemble-based, replacing the theme tune with something more upbeat, and changing the title to just Missing.[1]

The cast included Gloria Reuben as Jess' partner FBI Agent Brooke Haslett, Justina Machado as FBI Agent Sunny Estrada, and Dean McDermott as Assistant Director Alan Coyle in the first season, then Vivica A. Fox as Jess' partner FBI Agent Nicole Scott, Mark Consuelos as FBI Agent Antonio Cortez, and Justin Louis as Assistant Director John Pollock in the second and third seasons.

Altogether, the show lasted three seasons on Lifetime in the U.S. (airing on A and later W Network in Canada). So far, only the second season has been released on DVD.

1-800-Missing is based on the YA novel series 1-800-WHERE-R-U by Meg Cabot, but shares few similarities beyond the basic premise. This is Lampshaded in the later books, where the TV show exists in-universe and many characters watch it, but talk about how it has no basis in Jess' real experiences.


Tropes used in 1-800-Missing include:
  • Artifact Title: The title of the book series, 1-800-WHERE-R-U, refers to a missing persons hotline that plays an important role in the story. The "1-800" in the series title is an artifact to connect it to the book series, but does not describe anything in the TV show itself. (This was probably a contributing factor to the title change.)
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jess and Jack Burgess.
  • By-The-Book Cop: Jess, once she becomes an agent. This is mostly because, as a rookie, she's still learning the ropes and is nervous about getting things wrong, in contrast to Nicole's more experienced abilities in how to size up a situation and figure out when breaking or bending the rules is a more efficient or effective way of getting things done.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: Brooke does this in "Basic Training" to get the attention of someone about to shoot Jess.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Jess Mastriani acquired Psychic Powers after being hit by lightning.
  • Mail Order Bride: The plot of "Ties That Bind" deals with a mail order bride who leaves the man she was supposed to marry and to be with someone else, then goes missing.
  • Odd Couple: Jess and Nicole.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Jess gets this regarding her mother's boyfriend in "Ties That Bind."
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: In "Lost Sister," Jess and Jack are undercover trying to sell counterfeit designer bags. In order to make sure their product is high-quality, they use actual designer bags. The man they're trying to bust complains that the stitching is wrong and the straps are too narrow. (It's possible that he doesn't actually see anything wrong with them, however, and is just inventing flaws to bargain them down to a lower price.)
  • Replaced the Theme Tune
  • Retool: See the show description above.
  • Undercover As Lovers: In "Lost Sister," Jess and Jack go undercover as a pair of married swingers, much to Jess' chagrin.
  • Wait Here: In the first episode, Brooke tells Jess to wait in the car while she checks out the scene. Jess doesn't.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jess gets called out on this in the first episode by a missing girl she finds, who it turns out ran away with her father because her mother died and she didn't think her father could legally get custody.
  1. Not to be confused with the non-fiction series Missing, which profiles actual missing persons cases, or the 2009 BBC crime drama Missing.