- Complete Monster: The evil Native American "witch" Pesh-Chidin, aka El Brujo ("The Sorcerer"), is a sadistic murderer who leads a group of killers through the territories where he ritualistically murders those he encounters and kidnaps attractive young ladies to sell into sex slavery in Mexico. Chidin has the women mistreated, his only concern being he fears seven is an "unlucky number, " making him opt to capture an eighth girl before they go to Mexico when one dies. When he learns a girl has killed herself thanks to the aid of Lily, Chidin restrains himself from beating her only because he won't gain money for a swollen face, but forces sand into her mouth while snarling "this is what the rest of your life will taste like." Chidin murders a photographer via a powder that makes him bleed out through his ears, eyes, nose and mouth, slaughters his Mexican partners when they anger him and finally simply attempts to murder the heroes. A vicious, brutal monster feared even by other Native tribes, Chidin is a loathed figure to all who know him.
- Retroactive Recognition: Elisabeth Moss as the abducted mother.
- What an Idiot!: Lily somehow gets it into her head that the strange Indian man holding up her mother's necklace must have done something bad to her and decides screaming her head off at him (and thus alerting her kidnappers) is a good idea and rids the girls of any chance of being rescued they might've had.
The TV Series
- Broken Base: Some viewers were not happy with the ending of the first series, mostly because of just how damn depressing it was, especially as the final scene itself is what really cinches it as a Downer Ending. By contrast, the second series, whilst far from Happily Ever After, has a more uplifting ending.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Julien Baptiste is one of the standout characters of the show. Tchéky Karyo's performance is one of the things most commonly praised about the series and he's popular with many viewers for being a badass, yet vulnerable detective and Cool Old Guy, who manages to be emotionally complex whilst avoiding being a cliched, overly-dysfunctional cop. This was the basis for the creation of Baptiste.
- It Was His Sled: Let's face it, did anyone really believe the girl who came home to the Websters was actually Alice?
- Nightmare Fuel: Good god, where to begin? The very premise alone is every parent's worst nightmare come true.
- Tear Jerker:
- Emily and Tony finding out their son is dead and how he died, after spending years searching for him and even being given hope he might be alive. James Nesbit and Frances O'Connor really give it their all in that scene and are heartbreakingly believable as grief-stricken parents.
- The last scene of Series 1, where it's revealed Tony is still searching for Oliver, refusing to accept that's gone because they Never Found the Body.
- At her wedding to Mark, Emily looks up whilst giving her speech and sees Oliver smiling at her. She gives a tearful, heartwrenching smile in return especially as this is after she found out he's most likely dead, possibly implying this is his spirit come to visit her.
- In the finale of the second series, Sam being taken past his daughter on a stretcher after being shot. Even though he's in agony and needs immediate attention, all he cares about is seeing his daughter. The look of absolute relief on his face when he realises that not only is Alice alive after all but is safe at last is very poignant. Especially when it's later revealed he died of his wounds. It's incredibly bittersweet, that he died knowing he'd found Alice at last, after suffering so much over her abduction.
- The Woobie:
- The families of the missing children. They go through absolute hell, practically tearing themselves apart psychologically trying to find their lost children, not knowing what happened to them, fearing the worst, finding out horrible things were done to them etc.
- Sophie and Alice. Both girls were abducted, held prisoner for years, brainwashed, abused and repeatedly raped by a psychopath. Sophie is so traumatised, she can barely cope with living like a normal person again, believes her kidnapper loves her and goes back to him after being released and, when he's arrested and her daughter is taken from her, briefly considers suicide. Although she is rescued in the end, it's obvious she's never going to be able to fully get over what was done to her. Meanwhile, Alice sees her father again for the first time in years...as he's being rushed away to hospital after being shot by her captor whilst trying to find her. He dies of his wounds, meaning that this was both the first time Alice had seen her father in a long time and the last time she ever saw him in her life.
- Vincent Broug. It's a credit to his actor and the writers that he manages to come across as one despite being a paedophile. He is utterly disgusted and filled with self-loathing by this, has no real friends, tries his hardest to avoid acting on his impulses and eventually starts a treatment that suppresses them, giving him hope that he can live a relatively normal life. Unfortunately, he has a bad reaction to the treatment and is doesn't work as well as hoped. Finally, believing there is no cure, he loses hope of ever being normal and kills himself.