Monday, 27 March 2017


[Spoiler-Free] Amateur skydiver Alexandrine dies because of the sabotage of her parachute. Capitaine Marleau pitches her tent on an airfield to investigate amongst the members of the skydiving association Les Grandes Ailes.

Her main suspects are Carlos Dos Santos, instructor (and secret lover) of the young woman, Carlos's wife Clémence and Clara De Combelle... who's none other than Clémence's twin sister.

« Ecoutez j'suis pas Noam Chomsky d'accord mais des fois j'ai des éclairs d'intelligence. »

Starring the extraordinary Corinne Masiero in the title role, French crime drama Capitaine Marleau returned last tuesday on pubcaster France 3 with En trompe l'oeil. The brilliantly chabrolesque fifth episode, guest starring Pierre Arditi (Blood of the Vine) and Aure Atika (The Night Manager), caught 6.196.000 viewers (26.1%!) Tomorrow the channel will air the equally brilliant La Nuit de la Lune Rousse and on April 4 it will show À ciel ouvert, the third (and final) episode of this new batch. Swiss television aired those episodes ahead of French TV. À ciel ouvert is helmed by Capitaine Marleau director/producer Josée Dayan and written by Sonia Moyersoen (1).

Although the episode takes off slowly (no pun intended) and cannot reach the brilliance of its predecessors, it's enjoyable and pleasantly evokes Columbo, an acknowledged influence on the creative forces behind Marleau (« On joue à Columbo-les-Deux-Églises. ») The twin sisters Clémence and Clara, both played by Géraldine Pailhas, remind of the twins of Double Shock and Capitaine Marleau's plane scene with Carlos Dos Santos is like an hilarious version of Columbo's flight with Leslie Williams in Ransom for a Dead Man.

« On ne peut pas avoir le meurtre et l'argent du meurtre, hein madame? »

Marleau does a bit of social commentary, quotes singers Alain Bashung or François Valéry  and can't remember the name of the dog Barbare: she calls him Babar, Colargol and Scoubidou. There's a nice nod to French singer and actress Dani, one of the guest stars of this episode. The good surprise of À ciel ouvert is Julie Depardieu, who plays the improbable Brigadier Jeannette Poupeaux, Marleau's sidekick on the case. Her father Gérard Depardieu was the special guest star of Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir (2015), the series pilot.

Belgian actor and French television legend Jean-Claude Drouot returns as the Falstaffian pathologist Leopold Salaun. Also with Charles Berling (Carlos), Jacques Spiesser (France 3's Commissaire Magellan) as Thibault Le Preux and Mark Grosy (Ismael Diallo). Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac for Passionfilms and Bel Ombre Films, with the participation of RTS and France Télévisions. Music by Catherine Lara. Filmed between November and December 2016, mostly in Région Île-de-France. Created by Elsa Marpeau.

(1) Who is also the directrice de collection of Capitaine Marleau. (Interview with Sonia Moyersoen)

See also: (La Nuit de la Lune Rousse)
(En trompe l'oeil

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


And here we go for another post about Capitaine Marleau. But judging from the stats of our little blog yesterday (and today actually) no one will complain.  

France 3's crime drama is a favourite here since even before the French pubcaster aired the pilot. So we cannot resist to celebrate.

Capitaine Marleau returned yesterday on France 3 with En trompe l'oeil, guest starring Pierre Arditi (Blood of the Vine) and Aure Atika (The Night Manager). The brilliant fifth episode of the crime drama created by Elsa Marpeau and helmed by Josée Dayan was watched by 6.196.000 viewers (26.1%). It's another record for the series and it's the best ratings of the year for the channel so far.

Last september, Brouillard en Thalasso, the fourth episode, hit a rating record with 4.608.000 viewers (20%). The same month, a repeat of Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir, the pilot, caught 4.533.000 viewers (19.6%), more than for its first transmission in September 2015 (3.731.000 viewers/15.3%). Too bad Capitaine Marleau (no first name) is not candidate for the French presidential election because she would probably be elected.

Next week France 3 will air La Nuit de la Lune Rousse. You can find a review of this episode here:

See also:

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


[Spoiler-Free] [Revised May 30, 2017] 15 dead men are found frozen in a stolen bus on a country road of the north of France. The bodies were manicured, their hair done and they were elegantly dressed after their death. 

Those men all disappeared three years ago and all loved the same woman at some point. She vanished around the same period... until now. The second series of French crime drama Witnesses (Les Témoins) premiered this week.

Two years after the first series of Les Témoins, police detective Sandra Winckler (Marie Dompnier) and her colleague Justin (Jan Hammenecker) are back for another conundrum written by Hervé Hadmar (who also directs) and Marc Herpoux, the duo behind Signature, Pigalle, la nuit and Les Oubliées. Thierry Lhermitte, who brilliantly escaped the antics of the French Doc Martin with his role as the enigmatic Paul Maisonneuve in the first series, doesn't return. This year, Audrey Fleurot (A French Village, Spiral) co-stars alongside Marie Dompnier as the even more mysterious Catherine Keemer.

« Les enfants, aux yeux des folles mères,
Vont se briser la tête sur les pierres. »

Catherine, the common denominator between the 15 frozen victims in the bus, suddenly resurfaces in her car after three years. Totally amnesiac, she's found in the street asking "Il est où?" The case shares similarities with troubling events which occurred years ago. A furnished studio flat, a poem by Auguste Barbier (1805-1882), a woman in a psychiatric hospital since 1979, and a place called "La Colline du Diable" are amongst the first pieces of this promising jigsaw puzzle. Sandra Winckler has a problem with her elder daughter and she chooses to play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Catherine Keemer has her own child related issue. Like the tagline of this new series says: "Love is the greatest danger".

Aired between March and April 2015 on French pubcaster France 2, the first series of Les Témoins (6 X 52-minute) caught an average of 4.3m viewers. The creation of Hervé Hadmar and Marc Herpoux also raised a huge interest abroad with sales in several territories like Germany, Belgium, Norway, Australia, Poland or the United Kingdom, where Channel 4 aired it as Witnesses. France 2 commissioned a 8-episode second series. In between, Hadmar and Herpoux did the miniseries Beyond the Walls (Au-delà des murs) for Arte. Filming of Witnesses 2 took place between March and August 2016 during 96 days, in the Hauts-de-France region and at the Mont Saint-Michel

Marie Dompnier, who worked mainly on stage before Les Témoins and won a Golden Fipa award for the role of Sandra Winckler, expands her character with an infinite subtlety. Audrey Fleurot is (of course) excellent and the talented Belgian actor Jan Hammenecker gets more presence as the likeable Justin, a role he first played in Signature. Justin lives with Mélanie (returning actress Florence Bolufer) and he's joined by his teenage son Fabien (Gwendal Marimoutou), who lived with his mother in La Réunion until then. They celebrate Christmas in March and Justin has a funny scene with a fridge.

Judith Henry replaces Catherine Mouchet as Sandra and Justin's boss Maxine Dubreuil. Éric Winckler is now played by Guillaume Durieux (instead of Mehdi Nebbou). Also starring Steve Driesen as Olivier Keemer, Yannick Choirat (Geir Jansen), Anne Benoît (Christiane Varène), Dominique Bettenfeld (Martin Souriau), Séverine Vincent (Audrey Solange), Alexandre Carrière (Fred), British-Canadian actor Philip Desmeules as Antoine Barrier, Nina Simonpoli-Barthelemy (Chloé Winckler), Héloïse Dugas (Louise Keemer), Lila Gueneau Lefas (Léa Keemer), etc.

The writers definitely know how to build an effective and gripping mystery. Hervé Hadmar's always stylish direction is impressively atmospheric. The locations are incredible. There's a small (clever) change at the end of the title sequence, still accompanied by Tricky's haunting We don't die (2013). Witnesses is produced by Cinétévé with France Télévisions and Pictanovo (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie), with the support of Région Hauts-de-France and the participation of SBS-TV Australia.

Fabienne Servan-Schreiber and Jean-Pierre Fayer are the producers. Jean-Marc Abbou is the production manager. Music composed by Éric Demarsan. Jean-Max Bernard is the cinematographer. Distributed by Newen Distribution (Spiral). Koba Films will release the 3-disc DVD of this second series next month. 

See also: (Series 2 DVD Review) (Series 1 DVD Review)


[Spoiler-Free] A nightly intrusion against the construction of a golf course near an animal park ends up with the death of one of the protesters, but also of a security guard. Capitaine Marleau, of the Gendarmerie, investigates.

Jeanne Dewaere, the park manager, tries to help her young protégé Manon Bechet, involved in the tragic events. Things get complicated when the businessman behind the golf project is found dead in a rather embarrassing posture.

« Miroir, mon beau miroir. Quelle est la plus moche de toute la gendarmerie? » 

The hugely popular French crime drama Capitaine Marleau returns next tuesday on pubcaster France 3 with the brilliant fifth episode En trompe l'oeil, aired six months ago by RTS Un. Yesterday, the Swiss channel aired La Nuit de la Lune Rousse, the equally brilliant sixth Marleau, directed by Josée Dayan and written by actress, scriptwriter and novelist Sylvie Granotier with novelist/scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau (who's also the series creator) The amazing Corinne Masiero, revealed by Louise Wimmer in 2012, is magnificent as Capitaine Marleau (no first-name). With Dayan, Marpeau, producer Gaspard de Chavagnac and excellent writers, she has built France's equivalent of Columbo.

« Les couples en fusion c'est comme le jazz fusion. Ca me fait chier. »

After the chabrolesque En trompe l'oeil with Pierre Arditi (Blood of the Vine) in the Île-de-France region, the colourful and shrewd Marleau is in the beautiful Alsace again (« Moi j'aime bien l'Alsace, c'est pour ça que je reviens souvent. ») amongst old friends. Aymeric Demarigny plays Brigadier Brière for the third time, after Les mystères de la foi and Brouillard en Thalasso. Marius Colucci (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) is back as Oscar Langevin, the sympathetic pathologist and latinist of Le domaine des soeurs Meyer. Oscar teams up with Leopold Salaun, the Falstaffian pathologist of Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir (the series pilot) played by Belgian actor and French television legend Jean-Claude Drouot.

« Les liaisons dangereuses, ça entretient la passion. Comme disait Malkovich... ou Werther, je ne sais plus. »

Marleau delivers those great lines which contribute to her popularity, sing some Chantal Goya, crosses paths with G.I.G.N. and does her usual social commentary: there are references to Samsonite, Goodyear, Edward Snowden and high-risk loans. Sandrine Bonnaire guest stars as Jeanne Dewaere (hence a « Vous avez un petit côté débonnaire, vous. On vous l'a déjà dit? » ), a good-hearted woman who hides her past. The rest of the splendid cast includes Manuel Blanc (Alain Peras), Alain Fromager (Michel Chalard), Vincent Primault (Gabriel), Louison Bergman (Manon Bechet), Céline Samie of the Comédie-Française  (Emilie Guingand), etc.

Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac for Passionfilms and Gaspard & Co. Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Filmed between October and November 2016 in Alsace. The animal park is actually the parc animalier of Sainte-Croix. Produced with the support of Strasbourg Eurométropole and Région Grand-Est. In September 2016, the fourth episode of Capitaine Marleau caught 4.608.000 viewers (20%). One week later, a repeat of the pilot caught 4.533.000 viewers (19.6%).

See also:
(En trompe l'oeil)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


[Spoiler-Free] Il commissario Montalbano, the Italian detective drama launched in 1999 and starring Luca Zingaretti as the character created by author Andrea Camilleri, returned last monday on RAI 1 for a new series of two feature-length episodes.
Written by Francesco Bruni, Andrea Camilleri and Salvatore De Mola, Come voleva la prassi is based on the homonymous story from the collection Morte in mare aperto ed altre indagini del giovane Montalbano, but also on La revisione (from the collection Gli arancini di Montalbano) and Quello che contò Aulo Gellio (from the collection Un mese con Montalbano). Salvo Montalbano and Giuseppe Fazio (Peppino Mazzotta) investigate the murder of a young prostitute who died after an atrocious agony.

Perfectly directed by Alberto Sironi, this excellent episode is darker than last week's Un covo di vipere. Journalist Nicolò Zito, played by Roberto Nobile, and Salvo's Swedish friend Ingrid (Isabell Sollman) return. Montalbano meets a retired judge named Leonardo Attard (1) and goes to the discotheque. There's a strange hold-up in a small restaurant, Catarella (Angelo Russo) doesn't speak French, a powerful character likes Eyes Wide Shut too much, and the Cuffaro mafia family is back.

The rest of the cast includes Cesare Bocci (Mimì Augello), Nuccio Vassalo (Leonardo Attard), Giulio Corso (Davide Guarnotta), Marcello Perracchio (Dr. Pasquano), Lana Vlady (Maria Simonova), Viktoriya Pisotska (Olga), Sofia Pulvirenti (Graziella Persico), Mariella Lo Sardo (Prudenza), Massimo Spata (Micheletto), Giuseppe Schillaci (Salvatore Niscemi), Matteo Tanto (Milko Stanic), and Sonia Bergamasco as Livia. Inspector Montalbano is produced by Palomar and RAI Fiction.

Produced by Carlo Degli Esposti, founder and president of Palomar, and Nora Barbieri with Max Gusberti. Marco Camilli is the producer for Palomar and Erica Pellegrini produces for RAI. Music composed and conducted by Franco Piersanti. Songs by Olivia Sellerio. Franco Lecca is the cinematographer. Distributed by Rai Com. Il commissario Montalbano is aired in the UK by BBC Four as Inspector Montalbano and in France on France 3 as Commissaire Montalbano.

Yesterday, Come voleva la prassi has reached an historic high with 11.268.000 viewers (44.1%). Last week, Un cove di vipere caught 10.674.000 spettatori (40.8%).

(1) No relation... (The blog of Carlo Degli Esposti)

Last year's episodes:

Thursday, 2 March 2017


This little blog is still around (in spite of difficulties) and last month we had Montalbano, Maigret, Death in Paradise and the other Professor T. (no, not that one...) Even a delayed DVD review two delayed DVD reviews (The Time in Between, Palm trees in the snow), which managed to surface at last! 

Be assured that the other delayed DVD/Book reviews will follow. Palm trees in the snow is almost finished, by the way. Never give up, etc.

- Inspector Montalbano: Un covo di vipere (RAI 1):

- Palm trees in the snow (French Region 2 DVD):

- Death in Paradise - Series 6, Episodes 5 & 6 (BBC One):

- The Time in Between/El Tiempo entre Costuras (French Region 2 DVD):


- Maigret (French ratings):

- Death in Paradise (Toldja!):

- Palm trees in the snow/Black Forest Clinic (French Region 2 DVD):


- Professor T. (ZDF):