Friday, 8 December 2017


Al Dorsey is a private eye from Tahiti, where he thinks nothing serious ever happens. Until a priest  goes into his office.

The bottom line: Ted's Excellent Adventure.

« Al Dorsey, comme le musicien de jazz des années 50. Détective privé. »

Al Dorsey, détective privé is a 6 x 52-minute detective series from Polynésie française (French Polynesia) commissioned by the Outre-Mer 1ère French overseas public network. It is based on the first two Al Dorsey books written by lyricist and novelist Patrice Guirao: Crois-le! (2009) and Lyao-Ly (2011) (1). Alban Casterman plays Tahiti private investigator Al Dorsey, whose real name is Édouard Tudieu de la Valière. Always anxious, Al hates adventure and chose that job just because he found it "classe" when he watched movies of the 1950s. Anyway, the bumbling young man doesn't look like Humphrey Bogart. He drives a Renault 4L and he's frequently disturbed by his Vivaldi ringtone (Spring).

« Comment tu fais pour supporter ça?
-  Ben j'ai fait une école pour faire flic. Et toi t'as loué un local après avoir vu Dick Tracy. »

Desperately idle, Al Dorsey worries for the money he needs to marry his fiancee Lyao-Li (Chloé Folliot de Fierville). A shark ate her right forearm when she was 6 but she became a supermodel in demand. Dorsey's laid-back best friend Sandona "Sando" Philibert (Guillaume Ducreux) is a recently promoted commissaire de police who decided to convert to Judaism for his girlfriend of the moment. He likes to make stupid puns about the name "Al" (« Al... ouette, gentille alouette. ») Mamie Gyani (Dadou Paille) is Al's protective mother and an iconic figure of the island. "Doudou", as she calls her son, ignores most of her past. The building where Al Dorsey has his office belongs to the amazing Toti (Jean-Marc Leille), an old chinese self-made millionaire who lives as a tramp.

« Si tu les vendais tu serais le Chinois le plus riche de Tahiti.
- Je suis déjà... »

Al Dorsey, détective privé is produced by Big Band Story and Merapi Productions with Les Films du Pacifique. It was filmed in Tahiti and Moorea from June to August 2016 with the support of the Ministère de la Polynésie Française and the participation of France Télévisions. More than 200 persons from Polynesia worked in the cast and crew. Written by Sydélia Guirao & Nassim Ben Allal and directed by Thierry Bouteiller (RIS Police Scientifique), the first detective drama "made in Tahiti" aired on Polynésie 1ère each week from September to October 2017 and started in metropolitan France on December 5 on France Ô. Episodes 1 to 3 (each ends on a cliffhanger) are adapted from Crois-le!, the first Al Dorsey novel. Alas, France Ô showed them the same night.

Father Levret, a priest, asks Al Dorsey to find the owner of a briefcase he caught in the Tatakoto lagoon while fishing. Inside there's a draft notebook with "Help" written on the cover, a gold coin, a chain bracelet and a handkerchief. Al also discovers 5 million dollars hidden in the briefcase's false bottom! Later, Sando tells him a priest has been murdered. The office of the detective is robbed (« Oh, on dirait chez Toti. Copieur! »), his home is ransacked, one of his friends is assaulted and Lyao-Ly is in danger. Someone will stop at nothing to get the 5 millions back in this investigation with too many priests, some anarchists, gangsters, Bobby Ewing (well, not quite...) and an eye in a box.

« Bon, il arrête de jouer sur les mots Don Camillo! »

Past some minor defects (the inevitable split screens, surreal sequences), Al Dorsey, détective privé is a nice and fun pastiche/homage to the P.I. genre which gradually builds its own identity. A good cast gives life to the engaging characters created by Patrice Guirao (2). Hopefully there will be more of the local culture in the next three episodes. Produced by Thierry Bruant, Gilbert Di Nino, Benjamin Dupont-Jubien, Mehdi Sabbar, Clara Laplace and Frank Courvoisier. Hervé Boitelle exec produces. Olivia Delplace is the assistant director. Laurent Dhainaut is the cinematographer. Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean-Baptiste Dupont are the associate producers.

Song Terehe by Sabrina Laughlin. No composer is credited (unless we're mistaken) for the musical ambience between Trip hop, Jazz and the BBC series Hustle. Also starring Christophe Perrin (Lucien Levret), Christophe Cozet (Monseigneur Ibrahim Borenberg), Rarahu Raoulx (Julie), André Sablon (Secrétaire de l'évéché), Aito Pambrun (Vetea), Jean-Yves Jestin (Noël Levret), Gérald Mingo (Duchalier), Léonore Caneri (Toinette), Manuarii Bonnefin (Hiro), etc. French popular singer, navigator and traveler Antoine has a hilarious cameo in the second episode.

(1) Followed by Si tu nous regardes (2013) and Tu vois (to be released in January 2018).
(2) Toti is definitely our favourite.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) (Trailer) (The books)

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