Wednesday, 13 September 2017


[Spoiler-Free] Patricia Nollet, the assistant of Haute Couture designer Édouard Paget, wakes up in an alley near the dead body of a a murdered man. She confesses the crime to Commissaire Laurence.

With this confession and a judicial record, this fragile woman is a (too) perfect suspect. Laurence investigates while Alice Avril gets a seamstress job at the Paget dress shop to find out the truth. Marlène considers a career change.

Penned by  Jennifer Have and Zina Modiano, writers of the interesting Le miroir se brisa (1), the very good Crimes Haute Couture is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel Third Girl. It's the first of the two episodes of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie's Criminal Games) directed by series newcomer Nicolas Picard-Dreyfuss (Candice Renoir, Nicolas Le Floch) between May and July 2017. Swiss TV channel RTS Un aired it yesterday ahead of French pubcaster France 2. The second one is Drame en trois actes, based on Three Act Tragedy.

Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) has a very special present for Marlène (Élodie Frenck) to celebrate the 5 years of their collaboration but the secretary expected more. As Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) involuntarily stirs up this frustration, Marlène rebels against her boss. She accepts to become a fashion model for Édouard Paget (his "muuuse"!) and quickly jeopardizes her friendship with Alice. A mysterious woman seen at the launch of Paget's first perfume is brutally murdered and Patricia Nollet is accused. 

Pathologist Timothée Glissant (Cyril Gueï) has his own idea about the case. Laurence is the subject of the unrequited attention from a young model.  Avril turns into the Rosa Luxemburg of the fashion industry. Why is Tricard (Dominique Thomas) so convinced of Patricia's innocence? Crimes Haute Couture patiently unfolds the plot in a style close to the Larosière-Lampion era until an hilarious incident involving Laurence and Bubulle, Marlène's goldfish. Then it's pure Laurence/Avril/Marlène, with some of the best dialogue lines in the history of Les petits Meurtres delivered by the main actors in top shape.

Dominique Thomas is given another particular occasion to showcase his talent after L'homme au complet marron (2). The production values look incredibly lavish under the astute direction of Nicolas Picard-Dreyfuss. The excellent guest cast includes Yannik Landrein (Édouard Paget), Camille Claris (Patricia Nollet), Raphaëline Goupilleau (Louise Charpentier), Charline Paul (Gigi), Clara Antoons (Françoise Vermeer) and Laurent Richard (Narcisse Vermeer). Émilie Wiest, who plays Julie Lemon, had another part in Un meurtre est-il facile?, a 2015 episode. Éric Beauchamp plays Agent Martin. Produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France. Produced with the participation of TV5 Monde

Sophie Révil is the producer. Laurent Chiomento exec produces. Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. Music composed by Stéphane Moucha. Bertrand Mouly is the cinematographer. Crimes Haute Couture is in competition at the La Rochelle Festival of TV fiction and will be shown by France 2 this Friday, followed on the same evening by a Behind-the-Scenes documentary  (3). The next brand new episode aired by the channel will be Le crime de Noël, a Christmas special. In the meantime there will be repeats. Drame en trois actes will surface in France on a later date. Agatha Christie's Criminal Games is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice.

(1) Aired after L'homme au complet marron on France 2.
(2) It's about time for an animated Dominique Thomas/Tricard in the title sequence.
(3) After a repeat of a Larosière-Lampion.

See also: (L'homme au complet marron) (Le miroir se brisa)

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