I may be a damn fine reviewer but I’m not a police procedural expert, however, I feel well equipped enough to say Finding Carter isn’t a realistic representation of what would occur if a missing girl was discovered, thirteen years after her kidnap.
After being picked up by the police with all her mates for trespassing on a fairground, Carter watches her pals go home while she waits for her mother to collect her from custody. Problem is, she’s been identified as a missing person and the police are waiting for child protective services.
In this show, protective services protect the child by dropping a massive bombshell: Your mom, isn’t your mom. She robbed you. And by the way, your real folks are here and they’re taking you home.
She even pleads that she isn’t ready. But any delay would slow the show, and we couldn’t have that.
Her real mom is Hurley’s girlfriend from Lost. She was more believable in that show as the crazy-turned-sensible-chaperone to the big guy. Here she plays the bad mom to Carter’s lovable thief mom. But even her rendition as a cop is more realistic than how the show pops Carter into a brand new family and within a day is perfectly comfortable.
She enjoys immediate immersion into the family dynamic and appears in no way phased by the 100% change to her situation. One character even says, “Wow! You must be majorly freaked out.” Yeah, she should be but if she was, it’d get in the way of taking her newly discovered sister to a party. So she goes to the party – without a care in the world.
If the show was carrying a deeper hidden message about the adaptability of children, and how Carter is the product of her experiences, including those that have been supressed and known only by the subconscious mind, this sequence would be a powerful metaphor. But this is MTV produced for a teen audience, rather than examine human factors, it’s more important to throw in some love interests.
There is a moment Carter tells the new mean Mom she is loveless and hasn’t displayed any affection to her family. New brother explains she is like this because of Carter’s kidnap. Rather than be touching, it’s MTV’s way of reminding us, Carter was kidnapped, the unfortunate family has suffered ever since.
Unnecessary twist alert! New Mom was having an affair with a cop she was using to follow Carter. She was going to leave her husband but can’t now. Oh, let that resentment build. Layered, MTV. Layered. Just so happens Carter’s latest love interest is the son of said cop.
The Mom that raised Carter, Lori Stevens, risks capture to arrive at Carter’s new (and deliberate) place of work just to see her. And also to dangle the there’s-more-to-this-than-you-realise carrot.
Whether that is enough to pull you back for more will depend on how much you have bought into the mess so far. I’m tempted because sometimes, when things are so bad and ludicrous, it almost makes them good.