Friday, 27 November 2020

FALK - SEASON 1 (2018, DAS ERSTE)

[Favourite of the Month] Austrian actor Fritz Karl (Meiberger - Im Kopf des Täters, Inspektor Jury) stars as a flamboyant  but melancholic gastronome lawyer in Falk, a warm-hearted German legal dramedy set in Düsseldorf.
 
Falk ran for six 52-minute episodes during spring 2018 on pubcaster Das Erste and came back this week for a second six-episode season, more than two years after the first.
 
When the state Minister President receives compromising photos of him wearing women's lingerie, he turns to renowned law firm Offergeld & Partner for help. Its founder, Richard Offergeld, thinks he knows the right man for the job: Falk (1), an eccentric ex-collaborator who dresses like a dandy and has a flair for sensitive matters. The lawyer left his job to open a gourmet restaurant called Das Lokal until the establishment went bust and an unknown investor bought it.

Richard happens to be this investor. He offers Falk to give him back the restaurant if he helps the firm for a while. Sophie Offergeld, his daughter and successor, is less than thrilled by this return. Falk lives in a hotel room with a turtle named Gustav, which stays in the firm's fridge when he's at work. He frequently argues with Raimund, the chef of Das Lokal, and has regular appointments with Dr. Kranzow. Trulla, his nonconformist assistant, is also his best friend.

Based on an idea of Stefan Cantz & Jan Hinter (Tatort), Falk is produced by Bavaria Fiction for ARD. Peter Güde (Rentnercops: Jeder Tag zählt, Stromberg) wrote the six episodes of the first season, which are directed by Pia Strietman and Peter Stauch (Mord in bester Gesellschaft, Der letzte Bulle). Fritz Karl is fabulous as Falk alongside an excellent cast: Mira Bartuschek (Heiter bis Tödlich - Fuchs und Gans) as Sophie Offergeld, Alessija Lause (Trulla), Peter Prager (Nord bei Nordwest) as Richard Offergeld and Moritz Führmann (Bitz).

An important client wants his 42-year old son to move out of his home. A self-made millionnaire butcher who enjoys being naked in his secluded garden won't let his neighbour add a window to his house. Raimund complains that he's stalked by a former female schoolmate. The CEO of an airline company must respond to serious charges. Sophie's 18-year daughter Marie wants to give all of her inheritance money to her boyfriend, aged 40. Falk starts a romance with Sabine Schmidt, a woman full of surprises.

Der Fall Roberto Blanco, is the best episode of this very enjoyable season. Schlager legendary singer Roberto Blanco (played by himself) is appalled when he listens to an obscene cover of Ein bisschen Spass muss sein, his most famous hit, by an internet star called DJ Volbeck. The man is in fact a bank employee named Volker Becker and he wants to escape his everyday life. The dialogues are great and there's a superb rendition of Der Puppenspieler von Mexiko in a beautiful scene between Thomas Clemens, who plays Becker, and Roberto Blanco (2).

Curt Cress and Flo Leissle composed the very good soundtrack. The main title theme is called Anwalt A La Carte ("Lawyer A La Carte"). Also with Oliver Fleischer (Danni Lowinski) as Raimund, Marie-Lou Sellem (Sabine Schmidt), Sonja Baum (Dr. Kranzow), Sinje Irslinger (Marie), Claudio De Simone (Erno), Florian Heller (Young Falk), Martin Armknecht (Weigand) and Kristina Walter (Landlady). Hans Peter Hallwachs, Canadian-born actor Bill Mockridge (Lindenstraße) and Joyce Hilg are amongst the other guest stars. 
 
Produced by Bea Schmidt and Oliver Dieckman. Sascha Ommert and Mareike Lueg exec produce for WDR. Andreas Thürnagel is the unit production manager. Cinematography by Eeva Fleig (Episodes 1 and 2) and Florian Schilling (Episodes 3 to 6). Editing by Ollie Lanvermann (Episodes 1 and 2) and Laura Richter (Episodes 3 to 6). Costumes designed by Susa Sasserath. The first season of Falk was filmed between November 2016 and February 2017.
 
(1) No first name known. 
(2) This song, originally another hit of Roberto Blanco, is also the end title of this episode.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

PERFECT MURDERS (CRIMES PARFAITS) - COMMANDANT CLAIRE MORENO: MASTER DU CRIME/UN COEUR SOMBRE (FRANCE 3)

French pubcaster France 3's detective drama Crimes parfaits is a "semi-anthology" where a murderer known from the start thinks he/she has committed the perfect crime but a detective (different in every couple of episodes) proves him/her wrong. 

It's the concept of the inverted detective story, popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. Crimes parfaits is now available in the United States as Perfect Murders, thanks to SVOD service MHZ Choice.
 
With five sleuths rotating in 20+ 52-minute episodes since 2017, Crimes parfaits is part of France 3's very popular regional crime drama line-up. Even an erratic scheduling can't hurt the ratings of what is mostly a copycat factory of Capitaine Marleau, the biggest hit of the channel. With two noteworthy exceptions: Commander Renaud Delaunay, played by Antoine Duléry (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) and Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche (Philippe Caroit). But there's also, err... what's her name again? Ah, yes... Commandant Claire Moreno.

After Étoile filante and Le grand saut in 2019, Isabelle Otero returns as Police commander Moreno in two new episodes from GMT Productions. Between 2003 and 2010, the actress starred in Diane, femme flic (2003-2010), made by GMT for TF1. The same prodco was also behind another crime drama hit of the private channel: Julie Lescaut (1992-2014). In 2002, Isabel Otero took the lead role in the long-running France 2 series La Crim' (1999-2006). Hubert Roulleau (Les chatouilles, Mongeville et Magellan: Un amour de jeunesse) is back as Lieutenant Hubert de Montalembert. Arsène Jiroyan plays Léopold, the pathologist.
 
In Master du crime, criminology professor Lise Lenoir murders one of her students. Lise knows all the secrets of the criminal law and her solid gold alibi is none other than Claire Moreno, her best friend. Hubert calmed down since last year and he drives another vintage car. Claire's son still can't make up his mind about his future. Even Alexandra Vandernoot (Highlander: The series) as Lise Lenoir can't save this tedious catalog of clichés and bad dialogues. With Michel Biel (Mathis Paoli), Fabian Wolfrom (Cédric Marchand), Laura Mathieu (Marie Weber), etc. Written by Isabelle Polin and Frédéric J. Lozet.

The Seaquarium of Le Grau-du-Roi  is the sole interest of Un coeur sombre. The place is superbly highlighted in this episode where it's called "Niceaquarium". Anne Caillon (Demain nous appartient) plays Marie Michalik, a veterinarian who kills one of the cleaning men by hacking his pacemaker. Léopold has done his homeworks and Hubert's father worries about the social life of his son. Marie has an autistic daughter who's good at solving complex equations, which can be useful in case you need to hack something with your tablet. But the sharks look impressive.

Actor and scriptwriter Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, who wrote four episodes of Capitaine Marleau, penned this episode. It's almost a comfort that the female third detective of Crimes parfaits isn't a clone of the exuberant gendarme. Except that Claire Moreno is Marleau's polar opposite because personality is not her forte. Also with Clara Quilichini (Louise), Valéry Schatz (Manager), Yannik Mazzili (Marco Perez), etc. Emmanuel Rigaut (Tandem, Commissaire Magellan) helmed both Master du crime and Un coeur sombre. Produced by GMT Productions and France Télévisions

Co-produced with Be-Films and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge) and the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Filmed with the support of Département des Alpes-Maritimes. Frank Lebreton exec produces. Produced by Julien Dewolf and Myriam Gharbi-de Vasselot. Music by Maïdi Roth and Franck Pilant (1). Theme music of Crimes parfaits composed by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Cinematography by Olivier Guarguir. Editing by Stéphane Gaurier. Main title design by Laurent Brett for Brett & Cie (Cherif, Cassandre, Transporter - The Series). Distributed by France tv distribution.
 
(1) Their theme reminds of the first end title of the British TV series Hustle.
 
 
See also:
 
https://www.seaquarium.fr/?locale=en_EN (The Seaquarium of Le Grau-du-Roi)

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

PERFECT MURDERS (CRIMES PARFAITS) - COMMISSAIRE DIVISIONNAIRE DAMIEN ROCHE: LÉGITIME DÉFIANCE/UNE ÉTOILE EST MORTE (FRANCE 3)

French pubcaster France 3's detective drama Crimes parfaits is a "semi-anthology" where a murderer known from the start thinks he/she has committed the perfect crime but a detective (different in every couple of episodes) proves him/her wrong. 

It's the concept of the inverted detective story, popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. Five sleuths rotate in 20+ episodes since 2017 and Crimes parfaits is now available in the United States as Perfect Murders, thanks to SVOD service MHZ Choice.

The bottom line: Damien Roche, Renaissance man.
 
Philippe Caroit (R.I.S. Police scientifique, Les boeuf-carottes) is back as the falsely naive and slightly caustic Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche under the sun of the south of France. Garance Thenault returns as Lieutenant Gaëlle Mareski, a former soldier. In Légitime défiance, bestselling novelist Irène Delaune kills publisher Gérard Vannier in an apparent act of self-defence against an assault in front of a witness. Michel Laville, the renowned mathematician of Une étoile est morte, sends the young Delphine Leroy to death in a particularly sly way. The divisionnaire knows how to prepare a cappuccino. He's an expert in roses and speaks Italian. Roche even plays piano and he's good in mathematics.
 
Philippe Caroit delivers his customary brilliance in those episodes which remain pleasant enough despite a handful of bad dialogues, a couple of cliches and a format hampered by the 52-minute duration. Incidentally, the actor can really play piano and he speaks italian. As well as English, Spanish and even German (he's one of the regulars of Über die Grenze for Das Erste (1)). "Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche" would be a worthy successor to Commissaire Magellan, made by the same people from Jean Luc Azoulay's JLA Groupe. Written by Céline Guyot and Martin Guyot (Mongeville, Magellan, Femmes de loi). Directed by François Guérin.
 
Astrid Veillon (Tandem) as Irène Delaune, Laurence Bréheret (Françoise Louret) and Laurent Olmedo (R.I.S. Police scientifique) as Gérard Vannier are the guest stars of Légitime défiance. Guillaume Cramoisan (Michel Laville), Marie Barrouillet (Delphine Leroy), Thierry Desroses (Femmes de loi, P.J.) as Dr. Puel and Pascale Michaud (Viviane Leroy) are the guest stars of Une étoile est morte. In France, Thierry Desroses is well-known as a dubbing artist. He's the french voice of Samuel L. Jackson. Produced by Épisode Productions (JLA Groupe) with France Télévisions. Co-produced by BE-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge) with RTS Radio Télévision Suisse.

Bernard Paccalet exec produces. Produced by Richard Berkowitz. Romain Sussfeld is the production manager. Music composed and conducted by Frédéric Porte. Cinematography by Christophe Soffietti. Editing by Romain Namura. Theme music of Crimes parfaits by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Main title design by Laurent Brett for Brett & Cie (Cherif, Cassandre, Transporter - The Series). Distributed by France tv distribution. Philippe Caroit also stars in Meurtre à Cayenne (from the Murder in... collection), which will be shown on France 3 this saturday. His first novel, La malédiction de l'escargot (published by Anne Carrière Éditions), was released last week.
 
(1) Coming in the United States next month on MHZ Choice as Borderland.

Not yet aired by France 3.
 
 
See also: