26 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: T.J. Scott, SBS On Demand.

Creaters Vince Shiao and Malcolm MacRury have delivered an engaging six-part thriller about an investigation into a doomed international flight. It’s a high-energy series of intrigue, following the mystery of Flight 716 – a passenger plane that vanishes over the Atlantic Ocean.

Departure starts with a flight from New York to London going horribly wrong. Our launch into the story is through an anxious Brit named Madelyn (Rebecca Liddiard), who is one of several passengers and airline employees we scarcely meet.

Following the mysterious crash, brilliant aviation investigator Kendra Malley, played by Emmy Award-winner Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife, Bend It Like Beckham), is called in to lead the investigation. Recently widowed, Malley is unsure about whether she’s up to the task as she has been out of the game dealing with ongoing trauma from the accident that killed her husband a year earlier.

She is called-on especially by her former boss and mentor Howard Lawson, played by Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer (All The Money In The World, Cyrano, Beginners). Lawson is a big player at the Transportation Safety and Investigations Bureau (TSIB).

Kris Holden-Ried (Underworld: Awakening, Young Ivanhoe) portrays former cop Dominic Hayes, now a TSIB investigator. He’s briefly frustrated because he was supposed to be in charge of this incident.

Kendra and her team race to pinpoint the missing aircraft and locate possible survivors, as the world watches developments. They must work their way through a host of suspects and motives, from pilot suicide and terrorism, to politically motivated murder and systems failure to determine what really happened to Flight 716 – and to stop it from happening again.

One intriguing aspect relates to Kendra’s sulkish son AJ (Alexandre Bourgeois) and his link to the conspiracy.

Reflective of plotlines in 24, the main characters are strong as Panjabi and Holden-Ried communicate a similar mindset of tough resolve. A pleasure to watch is the late Plummer with his efficiently standardised percipience.

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