Did MTV's Finding Carter Capture You?

Finding Carter Premiere Recap

What if your family wasn’t your family?

While we all might wish that at some point when relatives are driving us nuts, in MTV’s new series Finding Carter, it becomes a nightmare reality when the titular heroine discovers her “mom” kidnapped her. Now, she’s forced to live with her “real” family — but you don’t have to, so will you stick with them?

RELATED Finding Carter Stars Preview ‘Intense,’ ‘Fun’ New MTV Kidnapping Drama

Before you chime in with your thoughts on Tuesday’s premiere, a recap of just the pilot (MTV also aired Episode 2 tonight): Carter (played by Kathryn Prescott of Reign and the UK’s Skins) and her mom Lori (Rescue Me‘s Milena Govich) are Gilmore Girl-esque BFFs, but Lorelai didn’t snatch her daughter at age three from another family. The truth comes out after Carter, née Linden, gets picked up by the cops for teenage tomfoolery and Lori never comes to get her from the police station. The teen is in shock and given almost no time to process the information before her real, crying parents show up to take her home.

Finding Carter Premiere RecapNow, having Wesley Alexis Denisof (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) as your father might not seem so bad, but his David is hiding something: He’s looking at foreclosure unless he seizes the opportunity to write a follow-up to his bestseller Losing Linden. His pushy literary agent even has a title: Finding Carter. However, those secrets are nothing compared to those of his detective wife, Elizabeth (Lost‘s Cynthia Watros), who’s having an affair with a colleague, and is intent on bringing Lori to justice, much to Carter’s dismay.

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Carter also discovers she has a straight-laced twin sister, Taylor (Contagion‘s Anna Jacoby-Heron) — naturally, the girl is into her male best friend, but he’s entranced by the free-spirited Carter — and a younger brother named Grant (Zac Pullam), aka the self-proclaimed Replacement Child.” While Carter was having a great life, Taylor never did anything fun “because I lived in constant fear of the terrible thing that happened to my sister — except it didn’t,” she says before promptly getting drunk at a party.

Elizabeth blames Carter’s “bad habits” for Taylor’s inebriated state, causing her lost daughter to unleash her true feelings: “You’re stiff. You’re humorless. You’re a control freak. You operate from this place of fear. My mom used to tell me every day that she loved me, and I haven’t heard you say it once, not to any member of your family.”

Things get worse when Carter stages a very public display of her whereabouts so Lori can find her. Lori does show up incognito, but (conveniently) doesn’t have time to explain anything before Elizabeth arrives to arrest her and she has to bail. “She’s my mother, and you’ve taken me away from her. Want to find my abductor? It’s you,” Carter tells Elizabeth.

The pilot strikes a nice mixture between an ABC Family drama — down to the “new kind of family” feel and the presence of The Fosters‘ Alex Saxon as Carter’s ex Max — and a Lifetime movie. Prescott, who was terrific as Skins‘ Emily, is equally winning here, and it’s always nice to have Denisof on TV. The only element that doesn’t quite gel is the character of Elizabeth. I never bought into her secret pain that left her dead inside, so she just comes off like the cold bad guy that Carter sees her as.

What did you think of Finding Carter? Grade the premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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72 Comments
  1. ladyluck527 says:

    I enjoyed it a lot. Especially the lead and her mom Lori.

  2. Mick says:

    Kathryn Prescott made me forget she is British and the cast is pretty good. The casting director deserves a bonus. I am watching the second episode now.

  3. Bryce says:

    It was just as good as I hoped it would be. I don’t like the Gabe guy and the mom escaping from the yogurt shop was a little hokey, but the parents are great and I’m super in love with the lead, she’s great so far! I hope this series starts developing in all the right ways. The second episode was a lot of fun with setting up the mom, I honestly expected a lot of “carter gets drunk and mom is mad” for half the series, but it took a much more fun, original turn.

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  5. Ian says:

    I’m properly sucked in.

    I think I went in expecting Emmy worthy writing and direction from the tone of the trailers and how dramatic they were, but once I got over all of that, I realized it’s in the house of MTV’s other dramedies (Awkward and Faking It) except it’s a lot more serious.

    I’ve loved Kathryn Prescott since Skins and the castings really good on this show.

    And oooooh, just seen the trailer for the rest of the season. So good.

  6. Cira verzura says:

    Very interesting show it is based on a possible true story played and written awesomely …..characters are amazing and Carter plays the typical rebellious teenager but does have a heart she is between the love of the person that abducted her and between her real family…. Though situation when your life takes Rapidly a sudden change ….

    • Robby Horine says:

      HEART? Really? If Carter has a heart it’s made of coal! She’s every witchy teenage girl to the second order of magnitude (that’s a lot).

      If she were my kid, she would either get a beating or throw her ungrateful @$$ out of my house and leave her to rot in hades!

      Hopefully the parents will wise up, realize the girl is the spawn of Satan and do both.

      • Robby Horine says:

        And I hope Elizabeth takes out the kidnapper. Permanently.

        This show say being a criminal is cool.

        • Bryce says:

          Did you watch the show at all? It’s less black-and-white than that FOR CARTER, not for you or her biological family or anyone else. The show isn’t pro-kidnapping children, bruh.

      • chrisabeth says:

        Wow, the girl is going through having her life turned upside down and is acting out and your answer is beat her or throw her out to rot. Nice.

        • S. says:

          Because she’s acting like a spoiled brat. Her life is upside down, yes, but she seems more interested in making her family pay for her pain than dealing with it. She finds she has a sister and a brother but rather hang out with new friends instead of them. She complains about her biological mother spying on her while keeping a go-bag in her closet. She gets mad at her biological mother for lying to her and has no problem with the giant lie that has been told to her for years. She schemes, she pouts, she whines, and she makes absolutely no attempt to even attempt get to know her new family.
          I’d rather watch The Face on the Milk Carton again. At least Kelly Martin in actually pleasant.

          • James says:

            Should the fact that finding out that your whole life was a lie be not enough reason for her to act out.

          • I completely agree with your synopsis. She is upset that her biological mom lied to her but not upset that her kidnapper lied to her. It makes no sense. I wouldn’t hate my mom that kidnapped me if she has given me a good life but I would not be very happy with her either. I wouldnt really want to see her in jail since she seemed to have live a happy life with her kidnapper but I definitely would want to get to know my real family. And her poor little brother. SMH… Nothing is as it seems but at the same time. Lets face it. This girl is going overboard on teen agnst and its just way too much for me. I will not be watching it but then again this is in on MTV which is aimed towards teenagers who can understand this type of behavior better.

        • Ciera says:

          Ok but think anout her mom hasnt been able to find her shes been worried sick and i know carter has been through incredibly much but thats kidnapper was never her mom no matter how she was treated or not carter was manipulated so when she actually meets her family she gets her sister drunk causes hell steals her moms car instead of trying to work things out with her she acts like a bitchy ungrateful slut. Yeah.nice.

      • Jodi says:

        I so agree with you!

  7. Mystick says:

    The only thing that would impress me involving MTV is if they actually played music again.

    • Arie says:

      Get over it. They highly promote artists whose music appears on their shows. Your complaint is tired and old. Think of something else to bitch about.

      • Hannah says:

        Funny thing is, if MTV started playing more videos, the same people would probably whine about how the music played sucked. It’s 2014, make a youtube playlist of your favorite vids, find some cool music blogs, whatever.

    • emily says:

      personally i have no interest in watching music on television. i can just do that on my computer. more music shows would help mtv live up to its name sure. but its not really needed.

    • Tee says:

      I really miss seeing music videos on MTV and VH1…and MTV’s shows like “Making the Video,” and VH1′s “Behind the Music.”

    • Leah says:

      Funny thing is, MTV DOES play music. You just have to watch it at the right time. Today they had music videos playing. So don’t comment unless you know

      • Tee says:

        Wow, testy. Didn’t realize I had to have my finger on the pulse of the TV schedule to be able to be nostalgic.

      • Frank Mintz says:

        Yeah, they do play music…between 3 and 5 AM. Is that your “right time”? In the words of Sweet brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

  8. Jennifer says:

    The casting is really good. Prescott is great at playing the bad girl with her pain also showing through so easily. My DVR is going to be busy this year! #FindingCarter is a solid winner.

  9. Tanairy says:

    I absolutely LOVED it, it was refreshing and it was as good as i thought it would be. I really hope they continue it!

  10. Chrystal mccarrick says:

    I loved it and can’t wait untell next tuesday

  11. Alex says:

    It was ok. A little too clichè with the Carter being a rude, rebellious hipster teen. I think it would have been more original and interesting if Carter was a genuinely good kid, a nice kid and the real mom was a horrible person. I think that story line is better. I was excited about this show but I have a feeling it’s gonna be the same ol same ol, mom having an affair, dad has financial secrets/troubles, all the boys in school fall for the new girl. This show is turning into every bad teen movie from the last 20 years. Over it.

  12. Celeste says:

    A few points:
    1) Since the blonde is supposed to be Carter’s twin sister, couldn’t they have just gotten Kathryn Prescott’s real twin sister who’s also an actress to play her?
    2) At times the show jumps into Skins territory – the whole drug taking and stuff

  13. Lauren says:

    I really loved it. I don’t like Gabe at all, but other than that I’m really into it.

  14. Amanda says:

    Watched it and thought it was ok, however, I do NOT like that Carter! She’s overly bratty and mean, I get the whole rebelious Teen crap, but she’s over the top and not in the nice way. Also I don’t know how I feel about the fact that they’re promoting the kidnapper as the good parent and the people who suffered a 13 year loss as the bad people. Or the fact that no one has called Carter on her behavior, what’s the point of the therapist if she’s not going to provide therapy? Realistically, Carter would’ve been force to go to therapy before she would have even got placed with her bio family. And that prank at the mall wasn’t funny to say the least, all those brats should have been arrested! As a parent, I felt bad for Elizabeth in that moment, to feel like you almost lost your child again. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone and yet again, no one called Carter out for this behavior! I still don’t get why she’s so mad at the bio mom for lying, when the kidnapper lied to her her entire life (or at least the time she spent with her). Will I continue to watch, most likely, but I hope that gets a little better.

    • vance99 says:

      My thoughts exactly Amanda. Carter was acting if her bio family is terrible people and she is being imprisoned. The lack of empathy or understanding from Carter over the horror that her bio mother went through is disappointing for me to watch. Laughing at the prank and the sadness on the bio moms face. YOU were kidnapped and she seems to not care at all other than eh fact she can’t be with her kidnapper. Carter is obviously very smart yet can understand obviously tragic circumstances. Really hope we see that character evolve and question and be confused over this rather than a bratty rude and immature biotch

      • bj says:

        I agree with both of you. I don’t think I’m going to keep watching if we just get to see this obnoxious kid acting out week after week. Of course her kidnapper was a “great mom.” She let her run wild. She drank, partied, did drugs, and thought breaking the law was fun. Her attitude in the jail cell said it all.

        Now she’s back with her bio parents and she has no empathy at all for a woman who went through every parent’s worse nightmare, and whose whole life and personality has been shaped by that. I want someone to make her sit down and watch video footage of her kidnapping and it’s aftermath with her parents in tears and psychologically in shreds. Maybe that might change her attitude.

        As is, I won’t keep watching. I’ll check reviews to see if people say it changes. And i’ll hope she doesn’t drag her poor sister down the path she’s on.

    • johnhelvete says:

      The prank at the mall crossed the line and Carter is unlikeable at times, but she does not view Lori as the kidnapper, she views Lori as her mother period. Not giving Elizabeth a chance and taking delight in the prank at the mall was crappy, but Carter might have a valid point that Elizabeth almost seems more interested in catching Lori than developing a relationship with her. As for therapy, the therapist is allowing everyone to talk about their feelings and get things out in the open. The therapist cant force a person to change their behavior it is more about pointing out the reasons for the behavior and the person has to make the change themselves. Eventually Carter will have to deal with the fact that her “mom” kidnapped her especially if she is going to have a relationship with Elizabeth.

      • Amanda says:

        Nope, not buying it. Carter still should be upset with her KIDNAPPER for leaving her at the least and she isn’t. Not one time did she say that or the fact that she left her in jail. I think the writing is off on that point, and it need some tweeking. Elizabeth has every ounce of sympathy from me on trying to catch that KIDNAPPER! That’s what the show is lacking, the point of view from a parent! I couldn’t sleep one night until I knew that the person who took my baby (or teen) is behind bars or dead. I never said the therapist should “force” her to talk, but she should be providing guidance to heal the family, cause it’s evident that talking isn’t helping. She just sat there and did nothing, at the bare minimum, she should have dove deeper into the conversations and at least asking how that statement made them feel…SOMETHING!

        • cuius says:

          Suggest you read up on thew “Stockholm syndrome”. Given a kidnapping (assuming it was one!) at age 3; Carter’s reaction is realistic

          • Amanda says:

            I know what Stockholm Syndrome is and that’s something the therapist should have brought up, SOMETHING! Still doesn’t mean she should be allowed to run wild or to accept that Brat’s attitude!

          • johnhelvete says:

            How do you discipline a 16 year old when the parents are more concerned about losing her again? Carter has a backpack all ready to go. It is a TV show and they dont have time to show the entire hour long therapy session, assuming that family therapy remains part of the show, I would think the therapist will eventually steer things in a certain why by asking pertinent questions. I dont expect David and Elizabeth to acknowledge the kidnapper as her “mom” but while Carter has to try to understand where her parents are coming from and what they went thru for 13 years, it is a two way street, the parents have to at least understand where Carter is coming from as well. It is interesting that Carter does not feel abandoned by her “mom” taking off, but just because you dont not agree with a decision that the writers have made does not make the “writing off” IMO. Also not sure that Stockholm syndrome applies to this situation according to wikipedia, Stockholm syndrome usually involves ” “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” since there is no evidence at this point that Lori did any of those things to Carter.

  15. Mike Newman says:

    This story seems so very familiar…Oh year it happened to Carlina White. This is exactly the same movie, only Carlina has been replaced with Carter. I wonder if Carlina White and her family are receiving any royalties for the MTV movie about her life.

    • johnhelvete says:

      I actually watched the Carlina White movie and see no similarities besides a young female child being abducted and raised by the kidnapper.

  16. Nikki says:

    I was surprised how engrossed and entertained I was, by this show already. I went in not expecting much. Sure the trailers were interesting, but that can always be misleading- especially when it comes to pilots.

    However, I loved the two hour premiere. It had the proper blend of drama, mystery, humor, angst, etc. I think the acting was impeccable and I loved the way they’re already setting up for bigger things (Kidnapper-mom saying there’s more Carter needs to know, the Dad writing the book behind everyone’s back). I loved Grant, the younger brother, as well as Carter’s new high school friends and, even, Max, the stoner guy. LOL.

    I do not like the “real” mom. At all. She doesn’t seem to actually care that she found her daughter and the fact that she was cheating on her husband also put a sour taste in my mouth about her. Every time she went to speak, I would cringe because I knew whatever she said would be annoying. They’re making it look, as if, the kidnapper-mom did Carter a favor by kidnapping her.

    I do have to commend MTV for the sequence where Carter took the drug “Molly”- it was a drug that was scene on the news, in song lyrics, etc. for this past year, and MTV took that topical item and showed some of the dangers of it. Most shows, especially a network geared towards youth, don’t show the negatives where drugs are involved.

  17. Tee says:

    According to the headline of the newspaper shown at the beginning of the scene where she works at the frozen yogurt place, “Linden” is actually spelled LYNDON.

    • Lyndon Clay says:

      Thank you for pointing out the correct spelling. As a female with the name of Lyndon, I was really surprised to see a female TV character named Lyndon

  18. DavidSask says:

    Solid acting and show concept not been done before, this show is way above all other MTV content, am shocked!

  19. Leah says:

    This is my new favorite show. I can never get into shows anymore but this show has totally caught my attention. I rate this 5 out of 5 stars. I’m so surprised it’s on MTV because MTV usually has bad shows.. But woah. I stayed up late (I had to get up early) just to watch it. Woke up tired. Worth it! Best show eveeeeerrrr.

  20. S. says:

    I tried to like it, I did. I wanted to, and managed to make it through thirty minutes, but I think at thirty-five I’m just too old for this show because I didn’t find Carter charming or interesting. I kept wanting to smack her and tell her to grow up. I do get she’s going through things, but her mature response seems to be drink, do drugs, and make out with every breathing male within two feet of her.
    She gets mad at her biological mother for lying to her and yet constantly defends her abductor who lied to her for YEARs. If you played a drinking game and took a shot every time Carter says the word “hard” you’d be dead drunk within ten minutes. She’s constantly whining about how “hard” her new life is and seems completely oblivious to the feelings of those people around her.
    I like Alexis Denisof and Cynthia Watros and I am glad they’re on a new show. I wish them all the best, but this is one show I will absolutely skip.

    • Anna says:

      I am a teen but I totally agree. I really want to like this show, it has a great plotline but Carter is so unlikebale and rude. Theres a certain point that Carter’s rudeness can be justified and excused by her horrific experiences, and i think she crossed that line. Especially with the mall prank

      • I second and third your comment. You can almost understand but at a certain point it really is rude. What she did in the mall was unforgivable. Her character is just not likable. I am passing on watching this show.

  21. Dj says:

    The Face on The Milk Carton anyone?

    • blackhawksgal7 says:

      I totally agree this show is a rip off of “The Face On The Milk Carton” to a tee! I wonder if they’ll be sued for it.

  22. Alia jane says:

    Absolutely obsessed with this show …especially the fact that carter was my favorite character in skins uk

  23. soso says:

    Didn’t think I would enjoy this as much as I have. :) That food court prank was cruel (am I a horrible person for still finding it funny, though?) Looking forward to keeping up with this show. :D

  24. kelly says:

    I really wanted to like this show because Kathryn Prescott was my favorite character in Skins Uk. I don’t know why, but it seems like she has gotten worse at acting since Skins, because her acting felt emotionless. I stopped it after a half hour.

  25. Sounds like a winner, I’ll have to catch up…

  26. Lorena Limon says:

    I usually don’t write reviews , but I just had to for this show ! I absolutely can’t wait for the rest of the season ! the first two episodes were amazing , I couldnt help but cry !

  27. Tracy P says:

    Loved the show!
    When will the next episode air?

  28. CutieKatie says:

    What people need to realize instead of calling Carter a brat is, she found out her whole life is a lie and she doesn’t wanna believe it. She’s now living with strangers even though they’re her real family. She’s not gonna just get use to it that easily. I know if this happened to me, I would probably be acting the same way she is.

  29. I’m 32 and I love Carter. If I had a daughter that loyal and insightful I would count my blessings. Also, I doubt she’d be acting out like this if she was home with the women she THOUGHT was her mom. That new home is a stressor cooker, and the only ppl with a sense of humor are she and the little brother. Every time she cracks a joke in that house, all you can feel is tension. Brilliant idea, brilliant execution.

  30. Lisa Julia says:

    Loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Jodi says:

    I hate the character Carter soooo much. She is a selfish little bitch.

  32. Jodi says:

    I hate the lead character Carter. She is such a selfish brat!

  33. Jodi says:

    I don’t like the character Carter!

  34. Jen says:

    I give this show an F for fail! The main character Carter is a disrespectful, disiobident, Discraful , dope head! This show is crap and Carter (gag me) is a bad influence on every impressionable per-teen & teen who watches.

  35. mebane says:

    Finding Carter as a show is pretty good but there are some things with the show that are really annoying. Carter herself can be super annoying given the fact this kid is promoting hardcore drug use by taking Molly. The self centered attitude of Carter is completely off putting. Character flaws are ok but so far Carter has not showed any real redeeming qualities, no remorse for the torment she is putting her real family through, also calling the kidnapper her real mother is a complete slap in the family’s face not just the mother. As an unbiased viewer I hope they are setting up a dramatic moment where Carter realizes how awful her mother/kidnapper really is. There is room for growth with all the characters. The mother could be warmer sure, the sister could be more understanding, the dad could be less slimy. I will give this show a total of 6 episodes for character growth but if they do not redeem some these characters by this point I will stop watching. Oh and it is about time to make the CHILD ABDUCTER the real villain of the show!!!!

  36. blackhawksgal7 says:

    Carter is wayyy to rude to her real family and has no empathy for them! She’s old enough to know better, she is a very unlikable character! Such a *itch!