France 3's detective drama Crimes parfaits is a 6 x 52-minute "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. The first season of this collection launched in December 2017 concludes with Episodes 5 and 6. Not yet aired by the channel, both are written by Céline Guyot & Martin Guyot (Mongeville et Magellan: Un amour de jeunesse) and directed by Lionel Chatton.
In Entre deux eaux, Fabrice Golot and his recently met younger girlfriend Laurence Prigent are invited for the weekend by Fabrice's best friend Adrien Evrard and his wife Camille. Adrien dies in an apparent accident during a boat ride. Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche suspects Laurence. The plot is hasty and its resolution tries hard to sound Christie-esque but Philippe Caroit (R.I.S. Police scientifique, Les boeuf-carottes) is brilliant as Roche. Falsely naive with a discrete dose of causticity, the detective is nobody's fool. His superior is wheelchair-bound procureure Gabrielle Rossi (Claire Borotra), with whom he shares romantic banters. Also starring Bruno Wolkowitch (Fabrice), Vanessa Demouy (Camille), Déborah Krey (Laurence), Frédéric Anscombre (Adrien), Jacques Bouanich (Patrick Travers) and Guillaume Denaiffe (Franck).
Haute tension is the second case of Damien Roche and it's undeniably the best. Building contractor Fabien Magrini went to prison because of the malpractices committed by architect Laurent Lombard. He gets revenge by killing Laurent with a small lamp and a remote-controlled miniature robot while his victim is in a spa. Lombard regularly "borrowed" a client's house under construction for some intimate meetings with his mistress Carole. Commissaire divisionnaire Roche "cherche la femme" before focusing on Fabien. He quickly finds the man rather sympathetic. Once again brilliant, Philippe Caroit faces the excellent Thomas Jouannet as the murderer in a confrontation which reminds of Columbo. Also with Xavier Lemaître (Laurent Lombard), Jérémie Covillault (Luc), Flavie Péan (Carole), Martine Fontaine (Evelyne), etc.
The banters between Damien and Gabrielle feel more natural than in the previous episode. The scene where Roche searches for the robot is very funny. Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche definitely deserves his own series. Produced by Episode Productions (JLA Groupe) with France Télévisions. Co-produced by BE-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge) with the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, TV5Monde and 13ème Rue (NBCUniversal). Bernard Paccalet exec produces. Produced by Richard Berkowitz. Laurent Paul is the production manager. Music composed and conducted by Frédéric Porte. Cinematography by Maurizio Tiella. Theme music of Crimes parfaits by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Filmed in Marseille, Martigues and St Chamas between November and December 2017.