Atticus Cody (James Coburn) is a Colorado rancher whose well-ordered life is turned upside down when he receives a phone call saying his estranged son has died under mysterious circumstances in a remote part of Mexico. Cody dedicates his life to learning the truth about the death (and possible murder) of his son.
The Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 204th presentation focuses on the strained relationship between a no-nonsense rancher and his artist son. Hounded by blame and guilt over the accentual death of Atticus’ wife years before, the two men had never been able to connect or completely forgive each other. But when Atticus learns of his son’s tragic death, he is filled with remorse and suspicions. He has many questions concerning the death. For one thing, is it really Scott who has been killed? First airs on CBS, 2/6/00, Sunday, 9-11pm ET/PT.
James Coburn, interviewed on the film’s set in Santa Barbara, California, says Missing Pieces is really about the relationship between a father and a son, “and about the gulf that exists between them.” It shows how easy it is to put off dealing with family problems until one day, when you find it’s too late. All too often people are left with remorse and the condemnation, “If only they knew how much I love them.” The film engagingly focuses on themes of forgiveness and healing relationships. But this is only part of the production. The nagging questions and the veiled details that arise with the father’s inquiries, cause us to wonder if his son is really dead. After he discovers that some of the things he has been told are downright lies, a very determined Atticus begins to investigate Scott’s life and the mysterious surroundings of that tragic night. Up to Hallmark’s usual standard of quality, “Missing Pieces” deals with emotions and reconciliation, but it also supplies an intriguing mystery, as well.