Vanished is an American serial drama television series produced by 20th Century Fox. The series premiered on August 21, 2006 on Fox and its last episode aired on November 10, 2006. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the series begins with the sudden disappearance of the wife of a Georgia senator, which is quickly revealed to be part of a wider conspiracy. The family of the missing woman, a pair of FBI agents, a journalist and her lover/cameraman, are all drawn into an evolving mystery with political and religious undertones. The show was created by CSI writer Josh Berman, and executive produced by Mimi Leder, who's additionally directed the show, and Paul Redford.
On October 26, 2006, USA Today reported that the planned 22-episode series was ordered to be wrapped up after the thirteenth episode. The storey arc of finding Sara Collins was to be concluded, with the mystery of a larger conspiracy left dangling in the event the series was extended. On November 16, 2006, Fox confirmed that the show would end after a final episode in December.
On December 8, 2006, the final episode of Vanished appeared online. The production team was told a few months before the show was taken off the air to at least reveal Sara's fate by the thirteenth episode, but none of the additional plotlines were resolved.
According to E! Online's Kristin dos Santos report on July 23, 2007, Vanished's mystery could have been resolved throughout the third season of Bones. Notwithstanding the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike shortened the season and the conclusion has never been developed.
Sara Collins vanishes from a dinner held in her honor. She was a teacher, and wife to Senator Jeffrey Collins. She had previously told her husband that she had a secret, but disappeared before she could reveal it to him.
The investigation into her kidnapping starts to probe secrets from the main characters. While Senator Collins is clean and desperately wants his wife returned, even payment of the ransoms demanded won't get her back. He paid both $5,000,000 in cash (plus public humiliation), then voted to confirm a Supreme Court nominee he hated, because he knew the nominee seduced under-aged girls.
What he didn't know was that one of them was his daughter, Marcy, who might (or might not) have been pregnant by him. Marcy's secret was that she had been having an affair with the judge. She cut it off after being caught by Sara, but was later raped by him. Marcy believes she was poisoned to induce a miscarriage at the end of the series. The justice in question is compromised later, overruling the conviction of a Dead Sea scholar sentenced to death for murdering his wife, thus leading to the translations the conspiracy wanted.
Senator Collins' son, Max, had gotten into trouble over underage drinking. Sara urged Jeffrey to put him in a rehab facility. There, Max expressed a hatred for his stepmother, which was used against her by the conspiracy (his counsellor was Quinn, who was a conspiracy member). The facility was one Sara had been checked into by her parents, and she escaped from, preventing a brainwashing. It was suggested that Sara was the only person who ever escaped the facility without brainwashing, and it might have been a factor in her kidnapping.
Senator Collins' ex-wife had confronted Sara over the birth of her child, who was being raised by her parents as a sister, instead of a granddaughter. She worked her way back into Jeffrey Collins's life via her children. She was dead broke and took a bribe from Collins' chief of staff (to help her daughter bail her boyfriend out of jail), but notwithstanding her hatred of Sara, never revealed the truth.
Sara went through torture and manipulation when she was in captivity. She was fed certain information, and was played with good-cop/bad-cop. The conspiracy fed her half-truths and statements taken out of context to make her believe that Jeffrey Collins took her kidnapping as opportunity to advance his career. Circumstance and the lies led her to flee to the one place she felt anonymous - the same place she fled the rehab facility once before, a small seaside town in Massachusetts, Gloucester, where she met a man on a fishing boat, who fathered her child.
FBI Agent Graham Kelton solved a large number of aspects of the kidnapping, and even managed to contact the mysterious person leaving St. Nathan prayer cards. He found out that the person wanted the conspiracy undone more than Sara's rescue. He eventually solved the real ransom demand of the conspiracy, but after stopping the vote with a bioterrorist attack simulation, was shot and killed by one of the co-conspirators, before he can give any details.
FBI Agent Lucas takes over, and tracks down more leads, leading to a raid on a conspiracy site where dead sea scrolls were being photographed. Notwithstanding while he gets quite close to Sara a few times after she escapes, he's unable to unravel the false trail Sara left behind her as she escaped to her safe place with Peter Manning.
Ben Wilson, the boyfriend of Marcy Collins, was released on bond from Marcy, who believed his story. He still believed he was the father of Marcy's unborn child, and notwithstanding his innocence over prior events, was enraged by the rape of Marcy. He murdered her attacker in the end. If he got away with it is unresolved at the series end.
Peter Manning is a man searching for the love of his life, who one day vanished from Massachusetts, where he worked on a fishing boat. He sees her again as the wife of Jeffrey Collins. He still loves her, but his lead is classified as low priority. He embarks on a mission to find her. He finds his child, but can't find a way to make things right. He gives up in the end, and returns to his boat to find that Sara is there. It's the place she ran to before; where she can be anonymous and find love.
Judy Nash has faith in her storey about Peter Manning fathering a child with Sara, but is cut off as she doesn't have the proof. While Peter got her proof that he was the father, there's no proof about the mother. Without Sara, there's no story.
The series ends with Jeffrey Collins in a family dinner with his ex-wife and his two children. Sara Collins, meanwhile, appears in the final scene aboard Peter Manning's boat. She says "I didn't know where else to go", and begins to explain about why she disappeared twelve years ago, and how she never wanted to go. Peter interrupts her, and says, "none of that matters now. You're home", and they embrace. The news shows no hope for the Dead Sea scholar, who the justice who Collins confirmed as part of the ransom being scheduled for execution (Collins compromised another justice). The Dead Sea Scrolls won't be interpreted (the main motivation of the conspiracy, who was after his release; they had kidnapped his wife as well). The FBI is left with no leads.
Vanished was the first project to emerge from a four-year creative deal between Josh Berman and 20th Century Fox. In January 2006, the studio ordered the production of the pilot and two additional scripts. It was announced that Gale Harold would star.
In April 2006, Vanished became one of two shows to get the early pickup by Fox. The network picked the show up for 12 additional episodes. It was then announced that the show would premiere following Prison Break, in the time slot 24 occupies from January to May.
Shortly thereafter, it was announced that John Allen Nelson would star opposite Harold. On June 19, 2006, it was learned that Penelope Ann Miller would guest star in six episodes and have the option of fitting a regular. It was then announced that Josh Hopkins would guest on several episodes and that Eddie Cibrian would additionally join the cast.
Gale Harold departed the series after the eighth episode after his character was killed off by the show's producers. Eddie Cibrian was named the lead actor of the series beginning with the ninth episode.
On November 15, 2006 Fox announced they were pulling the show for the rest of sweeps but that it would return on December 1, 2006. On November 16, 2006, Fox said that the show wouldn't return to television and the remaining four episodes would be available online only, with one new show added every Friday and the series finale added December 8, 2006. Originally, the online episodes were only watchable by Windows users visiting Fox's website. Fox has after put the entire series of Vanished online on Hulu.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production|
|1||"Pilot"||Mimi Leder||Josh Berman||August 21, 2006||1AMB79|
|Senator Jeffrey Collins and his wife Sara are happy and in love. Sara is being honoured for her work with Children First, and has a surprise to tell her husband. When Sara suddenly disappears, Senator Collins and Graham Kelton from the FBI start the investigation to find her.|
|2||"The Tunnel"||Mimi Leder||Carla Kettner||August 28, 2006||1AMB01|
|A call comes into the FBI hotline from a man claiming to know Sara as Nicky Johnson several years ago. Also Senator Collins ex-wife Jessica is being looked at as a suspect in the disappearance. An underground tunnel is found and Agent Kelton gets another secret message about St. Nathan and the numbers 9:29.|
|3||"Drop"||Stephen Cragg||Paul Redford & Sharon Lee Watson||September 4, 2006||1AMB02|
|While wearing a wire and being watched by the FBI, the Senator attempts to make a ransom drop in Atlanta. He enters an exterior glass elevator on the instructions of the kidnappers, and he receives a secret communication from them. The elevator suddenly falls, and Judy Nash's news team catches his falling elevator on tape.|
|4||"Before the Flood"||Frederick King Keller||J. R. Orci||September 11, 2006||1AMB03|
|The FBI brings in Ben for questioning. We learn why Marcy and Sara had a falling out, and Judy Nash heads to Gloucester to find out who Sara really is. To her surprise, all the evidence of her time in Gloucester has been systematically erased.|
|5||"The Feed"||Helen Shaver||Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie||September 18, 2006||1AMB04|
|Ben's contact, Quinn, is being questioned. A search on her laptop reveals a live feed of Sarah in a cell at an unknown location. The team works to find the cell's location before the kidnappers realised that the feed has been hacked. Quinn manages to get a cryptic message to her partners in a Masonic code.|
|6||"Black Box"||Dwight H. Little||Chris Black||September 25, 2006||1AMB05|
|After reporter Judy Nash is scooped by a competitor she arranges a meeting with Kelton so they can work together. Jessica urges her ex-husband to take an appointment with the supreme court. Mei, Kelton and Tyner continue to work on leads that change the investigation.|
|7||"Resurrection"||Mimi Leder||Carla Kettner||October 2, 2006||1AMB06|
|Senator Collins gets a few disturbing news as he makes plans to go back to Washington to vote for Judge Rainer's appointment to the Supreme Court.|
|8||"Aftermath"||Bryan Spicer||Carla Kettner||November 3, 2006||1AMB07|
|Daniel Lucas joins the FBI investigation team to find Sarah Collins. The kidnappers make their demands clear to Senator Collins.|
|9||"The New World"||Jesús Salvador Treviño||Melinda Hsu||November 10, 2006||1AMB08|
|Lucas and Mei follow a lead from Morrell's mobile phone to a warehouse where they make a puzzling discovery. Meanwhile, the kidnappers try to manipulate Sarah into believing that Senator Collins isn't looking for her.|
|10||"The Cell"||Bobby Roth||J. R. Orci||November 17, 2006†||1AMB09|
|Senator Collins' stress level reaches new heights as he struggles to cope with Sara's disappearance and life without her. Meanwhile, Agents Lucas and Mei visit a death row inmate linked to the conspiracy and fight back when the FBI offices are infiltrated.|
|11||"The Proffer"||Nelson McCormick||Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie||November 24, 2006†||1AMB10|
|Agents Lucas, Mei and Tyner get ready for Sara's return after the demands are met. A tip with information about Kelton changes the direction of the investigation again.|
|12||"The Velocity of Sara"||Mimi Leder||Carla Kettner||December 1, 2006†||1AMB11|
|Sara manages to free herself, but a tracking device hinders her escape and the Sheriff's station is targeted. As the situation worsens, Sara makes a desperate call home. Meanwhile, Max reveals key information about his stint at rehab.|
|13||"Warm Springs"||Steve Shill||Carla Kettner||December 8, 2006†||1AMB12|
|As remaining clues come together when Agent Lucas intensely interrogates a Collins family member and Sara's phone call home pinpoints a new location, the unexpected happens and the mystery behind Sara and her location are revealed.|
- † These episodes were shown on Vanished's MySpace page.
Cast and characters
- Gale Harold as Graham Kelton
- Eddie Cibrian as Daniel Lucas
- John Allen Nelson as Jeffrey Collins
- Joanne Kelly as Sara Collins
- Rebecca Gayheart as Judy Nash
- Margarita Levieva as Marcy Collins
- John Patrick Amedori as Max Collins
- Chris Egan as Ben Wilson
- Robert Hoffman as Adam Putnam
- Ming-Na Wen as Lin Mei
- Bianca Kajlich as Quinn Keeler
- Gary Werntz as Edward Morell
- Esai Morales as Michael Tyner
- Christopher Neame as Claude Alexander
- Christopher Cousins as Wallace Rainer
- Brian Elliott as DC Field Agent
- Josh Hopkins as Peter Manning
- David Berman as Edward Dockery
- Leslie Odom Jr. as Malik Christo
- Joseph C. Phillips as J.T. Morse
- Michael Harney as Robert Rubia
- Brandon Quinn as Mark Valera
- Randy Oglesby as Mr. Jerome
- Robin Pearson Rose as Mrs. Jerome
- Penelope Ann Miller as Jessica Nevins
- Michael O'Keefe as Bob Nagel
- Juliette Goglia as Becca Jerome
- Arie Verveen as Aaron Hensliegh
- Tom Schmid as Crane
Ratings history and reaction
Despite earning mixed reviews, Vanished had a strong series premiere. Many Prison Break fans kept the channel on Fox to see the new thriller. When the second episode premiered, overall audience share declined compared to the first week. Notwithstanding the show actually increased its share of the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic.
However, in later weeks the ratings started to show a continued decline due to the strong performance of NBC's new series, Heroes, and returning shows featured in CBS's Monday-night comedy lineup. Although Fox continued to air the series in the U.S., the Global Television network in Canada cancelled the series after airing only five episodes.
Following a three-week hiatus due to the Major League Baseball playoffs, Fox moved Vanished to the Friday Night Death Slot, where only two further episodes were broadcast. The first of these nominally starred Gale Harold, who had been dramatically killed off on episode 7, following weeks of rumours and a storm of viewer protest on various websites. Though Harold appeared as a corpse for a few seconds, this was actually the first episode to feature the show's new leading man Eddie Cibrian. The ratings had plummeted, slicing viewership in half and dropping Vanished to last place in its time slot. The following week the show did even worse, earning only 0.9% of the most desirable 18-to-49-year-old demographic.
On November 15, 2006 Fox announced it was pulling the show for the rest of the November sweeps. The next day, Fox hadn't yet officially cancelled the series, but announced that the final four unaired episodes would be made available in the U.S. only on the show's official MySpace, according to Fox's website.
In Australia, the first two episodes aired back to back and rated 1.1 million mainland capital city viewers, making it the winner of its time-slot and the eighth most watched programme for the night. The third episode's ratings dropped slightly to 998,000 viewers, but retained eighth position for the night. By the fourth episode, ratings dropped again to 809,000 viewers and dropped to fifteenth position for the night. The final episode of Vanished, which screened on March 5, 2007, got 278,000 viewers.
In the United Kingdom, all the Vanished episodes aired on Channel Five in a late-night Sunday slot, averaging roughly 500,000 viewers per episode.
Fox On Demand is a service that has made Fox TV shows, such as Vanished and Prison Break, available for free from their main website and a large number of additional locally owned Fox affiliates. Viewing is restricted to users in the United States after ex-U.S. agreements to air Vanished locally guarantee exclusivity of use in those countries.
Vanished is additionally currently available on Hulu.