Saturday, April 25, 2009


Blog dormant go to Crime Scraps Review for all the old posts and lots of new material.

The second run of series one of the brilliant French TV series "Engrenages" Spiral has just finished on BBC. I don't usually watch repeats but this was worth spending the time to view it again bearing in mind that since it was on first time round we have had shown on the BBC the Kenneth Branagh Wallanders, a French Maigret, a Swedish Wallander and the Montalbano programs. Also that magnificent achievement The Wire, which those privileged with cable have already seen, is in the middle of its BBC terrestrial debut. 

How does Spiral compare? Very well, it is right up there with the best TV crime series.
What was the factor that made this series exceptional TV, and has me scouring the schedules for Spiral's second series? 

That special factor was the superb casting with actors who actually looked the part, unlike the cast of the British hospital series Holby City  who look like models who have never done a day's work anywhere near a busy hospital in their lives. 

The beautiful Caroline Proust [police capitaine Laure Berthe] looked suitably exhausted, dishevelled and incredibly dishy at the same time. While her colleague Gilou played by Thierry Godard was a brilliant portrayal of a tough cop whose career was about implode. 

Audrey Fleurot, another very attractive actress, played the enigmatic lawyer Josephine Karlsson, and Phillipe Duclos was the crusty difficult Judge Francois Roban. 
It was very interesting to see the French criminal justice system, which I still don't understand, in operation with the independent examining magistrates given their own mission to uncover the truth, and to discover evidence both incriminating and exonerating before the case comes to court.
In the main case in the series, the murder of a Romanian girl, the handsome Acting Chief Prosecutor Pierre Clement, played by Gregory Fitoussi, tries to protect his old school friend, the really smooth and nasty Benoit Faye [Guillaume Cramosian] from Judge Roban's enquiries. While Faye is under pressure from the even more disgustingly creepy government advisor Arnaud Laborde [Scali Delpeyrat] to keep him out of the investigation. 

I hope we get to see the second series of this sophisticated French thriller and that some of the same excellent cast feature in it. 


Blogger Bernadette said...

I have got series 2 of Sprial on the top of my DVD rental queue - I think the first disc will arrive in my letterbox this week and I can't wait :)

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, I thoroughly enjoyed this series (watched on DVD which I asked Santa for and which was duly delivered) - I loved the (apparent) realism, characters, etc, just as you write. However, i thought the last episode was a real let=down, it all just seemed to peter out. In particular, why the lawyer's assistant acted the way she did about the child (the child who had the ill mother) was incomprehensible to me - surely they should have provided some clue? I felt somewhat betrayed by the last episode, as if the film makers had got bored with the story and were throwing in as much as possible (eg the dead body in the field) to ensure they got a second series, without caring about the viewer's reaction to the previous various build-ups. But, that having been said, I thought it a fantastic series up to that point.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I too was a bit puzzled by the last episode but life is not always straightforward and I think the ending was a way to reflect this. Maybe I am being too kind to the writers but as you say it was fantastic up to the weird ending.

5:15 AM  

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