Monday, 24 February 2020


France's favourite gendarme meets the mortician.

No matter that Capitaine Marleau was once a brilliant detective drama created by Série Noire author and crime fiction expert scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau for director/producer Josée Dayan. What the fans enjoy most is neither the plots nor the guest actors (even David Suchet or Isabelle Adjani). It's when Corinne Masiero, its star, delivers Marleau's one-liners and social commentaries.

With 7 to 8 million viewers, the series can afford everything. Like shoehorning the capitaine in an aborted film project of Dayan (Double Jeu) or in a novel of Marc Eisenchteter, the story editor of Capitaine Marleau since 2018 (Ne plus mourir, jamais). Corinne Masiero can afford a lot too. The actress is reputed to ad lib, to the point that she's also credited with the writers: "Avec la complicité de Corinne Masiero". Not sure that the scribes asked for it.

Capitaine Marleau has become a one-woman show full of easy jokes, meta-references, free antics and the political views of Corinne Masiero. They are well-known in France as she's very vocal about them. Pace è Salute, the irritating previous episode, caught almost 7 million viewers (31.4%!) so you'd think the forces behind France's most watched drama don't mind that it turned into stand-up comedy. Well, for Veuves mais pas trop it looks that they were a tad worried.

An anonymous tip brings Captain Marleau in the funeral parlor of Stanislas Turner after the disappearance of a dead body and an accusation of murder. The quite confused plot is less interesting than a curious case of countless cut clues. The editing seems to be used to restrict the effects of Corinne Masiero's freewheeling and in Veuves mais pas trop it shows right from the start. Anyway a couple of scenes cannot be saved.

Turner is played by Édouard Baer with a bit of Otis, his character in Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. Bruno Lochet (Le crime lui va si bien) plays Adjudant Michel Pichon. He's the second member of the Deschiens theater company to be a deputy of Marleau after Philippe Duquesne in Pace è Salute. Belgian actor and French television legend Jean-Claude Drouot makes a welcome return as the Falstaffian pathologist Leopold Salaun

With Anne Brochet (Martine Lemaître), Isabelle Candelier (Juliette Massoni)Maïra Schmitt (Ariane Turner), Nicolas Robin (Melchior Turner)Valentine Cadic (Virginie Lemaître)Olivier Broche (Dr. Morel), Noémie Lenoir (Marguerite Vitali), etc. Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac. Co-produced by Passionfilms and Bel Ombre Films with France Télévisions, Pictanovo and the support of Région Hauts-de-France.

With the participation of RTS - Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge). Olivier Schmitt is the production manager. Cinematography by Stefan Ivanov. Editing by Yves Langlois. Music composed by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Capitaine Marleau is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice under the title Captain Marleau. Written by Sylvain Saada with Corinne Masiero. Directed by Josée Dayan.

Veuves mais pas trop will premiere on France 3 on February 25th.

See also: (Pace è Salute) (Quelques maux d'amour) (Grand Huit)

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