By all accounts, Paul Winstone was dead. A car bomb in Vienna blew him to smithereens in the premiere of “Missing” (Thursdays, 8/7c), and he was to be relegated to that horrible character purgatory known as, “only seen in flashbacks.” But in last week’s episode of the ABC thriller, Paul made a surprise reappearance – very much intact. Of course, Sean Bean, who plays the ex (or possibly current) spook, knew it all along. “It’s quite a relief,” Bean says of not having to keep Paul’s continued existence under wraps anymore. “I’m happy to be able to tell people I’m still alive,” he jokes.
The last we saw of Paul, he was jumping off a cliff to avoid a confrontation with Becca (Ashley Judd), his understandably shocked wife. Assuming he survived the leap (spoiler: he did), what exactly is he up to? Has he been turned by The Enemy? And how will his return affect Becca and her mission to find their kidnapped son Michael (Nick Eversman)? In an interview with Xfinity TV, Bean answered those questions and more.
Watch: Paul’s Not Dead!
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So I guess we can assume Paul is a good swimmer?
That’s right! I think he must have sussed it out before he jumped in, so he probably knew where to dive. At least I’m back, by the way.
You’ve obviously known! You didn’t think you’d just be in the pilot and that’s it.
[Laughs] No, no. If that were the case I don’t think I’d have done it. I’d go, “Well, this is a bit of a small part, now isn’t it?” I thought the story was so dynamic and complex and exciting. I’ve always been aware of that and that’s why I wanted to be a part of it.
What kind of chaos does Paul’s return cause for Becca?
I suppose it’s sort of…Everything goes off kilter. She thought she was going in one direction and she knew what she had to do. But with Paul returning, that kind of messed her up — it disturbed her. She had to rethink what she was doing, and think, Where has he been? Why hasn’t he gotten in contact? Here you’ve got two people who love each other but there’s been such a chasm of ten years between them and things have changed.
By Martin’s [Keith Carradine] telling, we’re meant to believe that Paul is corrupt. Is he legitimately crooked?
Legitimately crooked? Yeah, probably! There is more than meets the eye with him. It’s kind of a complex story…Characters are not all they seem to be. That really reveals itself over the course of the next few episodes. There are issues with Paul, that he had to compromise and that’s why Becca’s been dropped because of the secrecy and the nature of his job with the CIA. And there’s a guilt that he didn’t put his wife and his child first. He’s got mental conflicts that he’s trying to come to terms with. He can’t reveal much to Becca because there’s still something going on involving other characters like Martin – especially Martin.
Something ongoing that Martin knows more about than Becca? He’s a shady guy.
Yeah, you know Martin is a man that’s been with us for a long time. As a family, Becca and I trust him. He’s a father figure. It’s interesting to see how his behavior becomes…Well, that’s part of the job — you can’t trust him and yet you’ve gotta trust someone. It’s who you trust.
Last week, we saw Paul lurking in the background of a recent photo with Michael. Has he been creeping around keeping tabs on his family for the last ten years and they’ve just not known it?
Yeah. He’s a father, and while he may not have actually been in contact with his family, he’s always been aware of his wife and child’s movements. As he says in one of the episodes [coming up], “I’ve been watching. I’ve kept an eye out for you.” And it’s quite moving in terms of this situation. He loves them, but he can’t come back yet because of the secrecy and the complicated nature of this job. It’s quite an emotional situation because he can’t fully embrace them, until finally he does because he can’t bear it any longer.
Will Becca be forced to reunite with Paul to find Michael?
He joins forces with Becca to try and get their kid back like any parent [because] it’s a very worrying, disturbing situation. They have to work together and he has to say, “We have to trust each other.” She has to in some sense because he’s the kind of the guy who can lead her to Michael. That’s why it’s difficult for him to return because he feels guilty for maybe letting them down in the past, and it wasn’t intentional, and he’s carrying that around and the guilt of Michael being missing. There’s certainly something going on in connection to that [with Paul] which will be revealed later.
Preview Thursday’s Episode of “Missing”:
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“Missing” airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.