Be thankful that this BBC co-production takes its sweet time exploring the story of a blonde young mother (Christine Tremarco) and her two small mixed-race children who disappear from a roadside in the suburbs outside London. The police investigation squad (Hugh Bonneville, Janet McTeer, Michelle Bonnard) seems as much invested in the care and feeding of the media as in finding the victims or a perp; the media frenzy that erupts results in behaviors as unprincipled and excessive as anything in the coverage of Britney or O.J. The family dynamic involves not only grandfathers (Edward Woodward), fathers (Patrick Malahide), first husbands, and truculent teenage girls, but also a police liaison and a total stranger with inappropriate feelings. And there are red herrings aplenty, as well as the ever-popular “race angle.” Not only is everybody guilty of something, but every deed is suspicious. In other words, with a calculation of word and image that’s almost elegant, Five Days gives us sociology and anthropology instead of shock and awe.
Premieres October 2, 8 p.m.