Eric Premiere Recap: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Son Goes Missing in Netflix Mystery — Grade It!

In Netflix’s new limited series Eric, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Vincent, the creator of a Sesame Street-like kids’ TV show in 1980s New York City. But alas, there are no sunny days ahead for Vincent.

Thursday’s premiere begins with a distraught Vincent speaking at a press conference, begging his missing son to come home. We then jump back 48 hours, where Vincent’s nine-year-old son Edgar (Ivan Howe) is coloring backstage while Vincent shoots an episode of his puppet-heavy kids’ show Good Day Sunshine. It’s not so happy off-camera, though: Vincent’s co-worker warns him that ratings have been slipping, and they need to introduce a beatboxing puppet to appeal to the “cool kids.” A surly Vincent calls that “a crock of s–t,” and we can see he’s so prickly, the other puppeteers go out of their way to avoid him.

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After work, Vincent walks Edgar home through city streets filled with grit and grime. (Vincent stops on the way to buy more wine, too.) At home, things aren’t much cheerier: Vincent’s wife Cassie (Gaby Hoffmann) calls him a grump and notices he’s drinking already, and when the kid Edgar tries to suggest a new puppet for the show — a big blue monster named Eric — Vincent just berates him for not pitching his idea better. That night, Edgar can hear his parents loudly fighting from his bedroom, and the next morning, Cassie asks Vincent to take Edgar to school, but Vincent says the kid is old enough to walk on his own, so Edgar leaves for school by himself while they argue… and we see a garbage truck driver take note of him walking.

Eric Netflix Premiere Edgar
Eric Netflix Premiere Edgar

Vincent heads to a taping of his show, and he’s so flustered by the presence of a City Hall bigwig in the audience, he ignores repeated phone messages from his wife. During the taping, Vincent goes off-script and has his puppet make a joke about the city’s skyrocketing crime rate, leading the director to call cut and get Vincent off the stage. Then when Vincent meets the bigwig and his family, he’s rude and abrasive. His co-worker mutters: “Great time for you to go nuts again, Vinnie.” Then he finally gets back home, and Cassie is frantic: Edgar never made it to school, she tells him.

They talk with NYPD detective Michael (McKinley Belcher III), who specializes in missing-persons cases. He notices a broken wine glass on the floor from the fight they had the night before, and he also notes that Vincent’s father is a wealthy and renowned real estate mogul. (Vincent doesn’t have a great relationship with his dad, though.) He asks about the path Edgar walks to school, and he seems to have some suspicions about Vincent — which we can’t blame him for, since Vincent is acting awfully jittery and suspicious. TV news vans start to swarm outside, and Michael stops on his way out to talk with the building’s super, who says Edgar “was a good kid.” Hmmm… now why would he say “was“?

Eric Netflix Premiere Michael
Eric Netflix Premiere Michael

Michael goes back to the police station and lays out a plan to scour the path Edgar walked to school. It includes a seedy nightclub called The Lux, and Michael heads there to investigate — and it seems he’s a regular there, actually. He encounters a shady associate named Gator before heading into the bathroom, where he witnesses a guy getting beat up by a couple of toughs collecting money. Michael tries to arrest the toughs, but they’re actually undercover vice cops. (Oops.) We learn Michael was wearing a wire, and he keeps a desk drawer full of taped recordings. We also learn that Michael is gay, with a partner at home ailing in bed, apparently from AIDS. His boss tells him to stay away from The Lux, but Michael insists Gator is up to something. Then the garbage truck driver that spotted Edgar drops by to talk to him…

Vincent and Cassie’s marriage is more strained than ever, with her bluntly telling him: “You should’ve walked him to school.” Vincent wanders the streets swigging vodka, and he tears up watching kids at Edgar’s school play outside. When he stumbles home drunk, Cassie tells him the cops found something. The garbage truck driver brought in a Good Day Sunshine T-shirt — the same kind Edgar was wearing — with blood on it. Michael pushes the parents to “remain hopeful,” but hope is fading fast. Cassie tells Vincent, “I need some space from you,” and she storms off.

Vincent drinks at home alone, looking through his son’s drawings of the big blue puppet Eric. He does some drawings of Eric himself, and he’s in such a frenzy that he ignores a phone call from Cassie. She’s staying with a friend… and we also see she reunites with a male acquaintance named Sebastian, planting a big kiss on him. Michael listens back to his tape from The Lux and notices Gator talking about some “near ten-year-old bourbon” he just acquired. He also hears a child’s voice in the club’s kitchen. Is the club a front for child trafficking? The vice cop he tangled with at the club leaves a bar sloshed — and is killed when a car hits him and keeps driving. The next morning, a hung-over Vincent feels himself being kicked awake by… the big blue monster Eric. The monster gruffly tells him, “Let’s go find your f–king kid,” as we see Edgar’s coat lying in the street.

What happened to Edgar? And will you keep watching to find out? Give the Eric premiere a grade in our poll, and then hit the comments to share your thoughts.

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