Tuesday, 13 September 2016


[Spoiler-Free] Elsa Floriot, an au pair girl who takes care of the son of famous crime novelist Gilles Garin, is murdered during a big party at the author's manor.

Called on the scene, Capitaine Marleau of the Gendarmerie meets Garin, who offers to put his "science of crime" at her service.

As the capitaine explores the manor, the entourage of the novelist provides to her and Adjudant Tahar further suspects. Marc Durieux, an unsuccessful composer of "musique concrète", is Gilles Garin's brother-in-law. Cédric Aurier is the private tutor of Alex, Garin's 10-year old son, and he aspires to become a novelist. Judith Garin is Gilles's wife but also her publisher. Both live in the memory of a tragedy which happened four years ago and she's convinced that her husband had an affair with Elsa.

"The master of crime fiction" displays the same consummate art of smoke screens and red herrings he uses in his novels. Marleau isn't fooled, even when he brings her a suspect on a plate: Corinne Vidal, his ultimate fangirl, who thinks she's Gilles Garin's recurring heroine Blanche Saint-Léger! Helmed by series director and producer Josée Dayan, En trompe l'oeil is the brilliant fifth episode of France 3's definitely popular crime drama Capitaine Marleau (1). It's penned by Marc-Antoine Laurent and Jean-Marc Taba (both wrote Visa pour l'enfer, an episode of Blood on the Docks) with Série Noire author and scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau. Marpeau is the Capitaine Marleau series creator.

Corinne Masiero shines as Capitaine Marleau (no first-name), an offbeat cop between Columbo (2), Vera and French comedian Coluche, alongside movie and stage legend Pierre Arditi as Garin. Since 2011 he's Benjamin Lebel, the wine expert detective of Blood of the Vine (Le sang de la vigne), another of the numerous French hit crime dramas of France 3. Aure Atika (The Night Manager) plays Garin's wife Judith. The writers have fun with tropes of the mystery/crime genre in an atmosphere half-Agatha Christie, half-Chabrol. Of course, they deliver those great dialogues which contribute to the popularity of Marleau.

Josée Dayan always gets the best of her cast. Michel Fau (Marc) and Cyrille Eldin (Cédric) works again together after the play Fleur de cactus in 2015. Sophie Quinton is Corinne, the schizoid Nancy Drew. Adjudant Tahar is performed by Kader Boukhanef. In a nod to her role in Navarro (1989-2006), Catherine Allegret plays Fanny Brun, who owns a hotel restaurant (3). Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac for Passionfilms and Bel Ombre Films, with R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge), RTS Radio Télévision Suisse (which aired the episode this tuesday) and France TélévisionsMusic by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Filmed in April 2016, mainly in Tournan-en-Brie (Région Île-de-France). 

(1) 4.608.000 viewers (20%) for the fourth episode.
(2) An acknowledged source of inspiration of the character. There are regular references and nods to Columbo in Capitaine Marleau.
(3) French viewers will also recognize actor Nicolas Carpentier, well-known here for the Renault adverts.


[Update - September 16, 2016] France 3 has just axed Blood of the Vine (http://www.leparisien.fr/culture-loisirs/le-sang-de-la-vigne-va-tirer-sa-reverence-16-09-2016-6123989.php).

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