Missing: Dead or Alive? review: A mixed bag of diverse true crime cases

Netflix’s true crime docuseries, Missing: Dead or Alive? follows Missing Persons Investigators as they run against time to track down and often save people from terrible outcomes.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers


Members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit in Columbia, South Carolina run against the clock to track down missing persons and if possible, save them before a tragedy befalls upon them.

The first case sees the police search the home of missing person Lorraine M. Garcia, finding details that seem concerning. As the investigations move forward, Lorraine’s ex-military son Tony is encircled as the prime suspect, but another piece of evidence leads them to a totally different conclusion.

The second case concerns 10-year-old Amirah Watson, who has been reported missing along with her mother amid a custody battle. Investigator JP Smith takes the lead and digs into the relatives of the mother who’s gone off-grid with the daughter.

The third case follows the investigators looking into the missing of David Taylor, who disappeared under most suspicious circumstances. As the investigations move forward, the investigators and the family of the missing person are all in for a tragic discovery.

The final case concerns teenage Sierra Stevens, whose disappearance after a movie night has the police concerned if she has fallen prey to sex trafficking, or worse, but as the investigations unravel the case further, a more positive conclusion gives everyone involved a breath of relief.


One of the clear standouts of Missing: Dead or Alive? is the range of different cases that it explores, which helps lend a variety to the docuseries.

The conclusions to each case are also different from each other and that also keeps things rather interesting, managing to surprise once or twice.

As is the case with most true crime offerings, real-life cases are shown with an unnecessary creative choice of dramatization and kitschy renditions of real events. Fortunately, that’s not the case here and the Netflix docuseries keeps things straightforward for the most part.


The way the stories are structured is a bit weird where each episode ends on a cliffhanger, and the conclusion arrives at the start of the subsequent episode.

Sometimes the focus shifts to the investigators and that’s where the show tends to lose its footing, while it can explore even more facets of the lives of all those who surround the victim.

Despite the intrigue and the dread that the cases inspire, the way the docuseries tells these stories is very drab and uninspired.


Though covering a diverse set of missing cases, Netflix’s docuseries Missing: Dead or Alive? is a bit of a letdown of a true crime project, with its content presented in a rather stale and uninspired manner, not to mention a biting lack of originality.

Missing: Dead or Alive?
Missing: Dead or Alive? review: A mixed bag of diverse true crime cases 1

Director: Alexander Irvine-Cox

Date Created: 2023-05-10 12:30

Editor's Rating:

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