Saturday, 14 December 2013


Avril has a walk on a cliff near the seaside when a man falls. Before dying he tells her: « Pourquoi pas Martin? » She finds the photograph of a beautiful woman near him and asks for help to Commissaire Laurence. Later someone tries to murder her.

« Toujours aussi aimable, Laurence. Hein?
- Toujours aussi pignouf, Avril. »

Pourquoi pas Martin? is the fourth episode of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie ("Agatha Christie's little murders") with the Laurence/Avril detective duo in the late 1950s north of France. It is adapted from Agatha Christie's Why Didn't They Ask Evans? by scriptwriter Sylvie Simon and directed by Marc Angelo. Samuel Labarthe, of the Comédie-Française, plays the cynical, uber elegant, and misogynist commissaire Swan Laurence. Broken hearts columnist and wannabe reporter Alice Avril is played by Blandine Bellavoir (Maison close).

« Tout le monde a envie de vous étrangler, n'en doutez pas. Seulement là quelqu'un l'a fait sans hésiter. »

There's now a TV set in Laurence's office and his secretary, Marlène (Élodie Frenck), is an avid viewer of Le petit train rebus interlude (« Oh zut! J'ai raté un wagon! »). The commissaire doesn't want to be disturbed during his picnic with a lady friend. Alice goes undercover, a little boy is threatened by a "goblin", danger's ahead and love is in the air... but not between our two sleuths. Pourquoi pas Martin? is overall a decent and fun episode of Les petits meurtres with the familiar cocktail of comedy and suspense, great dialogues, a little action, and Marlène even saves the day.

« Vous êtes une source intarissable d'emmerdements.
- Mais. J'ai rien fait.
- Une tête sans cervelle, un petit pois dans le crâne, un caillou dans le ciboulot. Un neurone et demi dans le carafon et encore je suis large. Une catastrophe ambulante. Mon pire cauchemar même éveillé. »

Samuel Labarthe delivers Laurence's deadpan one-liners (« Mais non, sa soeur. Personne n'a envie d'épouser une femme pareille. ») with this voice which makes George Clooney sound so cool when he dubs him in French. Blandine Bellavoir and Élodie Frenck are excellent. The guest cast is fine: Alix Poisson, Charlie Dupont, Didier Vinson, etc. Of course, the sets look lavish and the locations are gorgeous as always. Marc Angelo's direction often has the feel of a 1960s British TV series like The Avengers or The Saint.

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is produced by Escazal Films with the support of Pictanovo, Conseil Régional Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the participation of France Télévisions, TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Sophie Révil is the producer. The characters of Laurence and Avril were created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. The music is by film and TV composer Stéphane Moucha. France 2 will air Pourquoi pas Martin? on Friday, December 27.

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