Friday, 19 January 2018


Al Dorsey is a private eye from Tahiti who hates adventure and chose that job just because it looked "classe" when he watched movies of the 1950s.

This bumbling and anxious young man thinks that nothing serious ever happens on the island. Until a case of counterfeit money puts his fiancee in a terrible predicament.

The bottom line: Ted's Excellent Journey.

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. The detective and his cop best friend Commissaire Sandona "Sando" Philibert (Guillaume Ducreux), who's now Buddhist, go to the hospital. Al's fiancee Lyao-Li (Chloé Folliot de Fierville), wholly burnt by acid, is wrapped in bandages like a mummy. At the insistence of her mother, Al Dorsey consults Tamatua Orini, a Tahu'a (a Tahitian sorcerer).

The Tahu'a gives him a sample of a Ra'au, a traditional remedy which turns out to be very effective on what remains of Lyao-Li's right arm. But if Al wants more he'll have to bring the sorcerer two Tiki statuettes exposed at the Musée des Îles. In other words, he must commit a robbery in a museum whose curator is his own cousin. Worse, the security of the exhibition is provided by Sando himself. Besides, Mamie Gyani (Dadou Paille), Al Dorsey's mother, wants  "Doudou"  to help Jean Reaumard (Laurent Brissonaud). Jean, a TV show host from Paris, is looking for a man named Alexandre Leglise. Al Dorsey, détective privé is produced by Big Band Story and Merapi Productions with Les Films du Pacifique.

The series 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. It was shown in metropolitan France by France Ô on December 5 and December 12 as 2 X 3 52-minutes episodes. Episodes 4 to 6 are adapted from Lyao-Li, the second novel.

Hardened by circumstances, Al begins a journey into the mysteries of local traditions to save his girlfriend at the risk of betraying his cousin and Sando. During this adventure he learns a couple of things about himself and his father. Alban Casterman and Guillaume Ducreux expand their characters with talent. Al Dorsey becomes an unlikely knight and the commissaire appears to be wiser than he seems. Thankfully, the quest of our anti-hero is not deprived of the humour displayed in the previous episodes. Produced by Thierry Bruant, Gilbert Di Nino, Benjamin Dupont-Jubien, Mehdi Sabbar, Clara Laplace and Frank Courvoisier. Hervé Boitelle exec produces. Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean-Baptiste Dupont are the associate producers.

Olivia Delplace is the assistant director. Cinematography by Laurent Dhainaut.  No composer is credited (unless we're mistaken) for the musical ambience between Trip hop, Jazz and the BBC series Hustle. Also starring Ione Lenoir (Tamatua Orini), Mate Iaou (Gilles), Julien Gué (Paupol), Benoît Barbier (Docteur Durol), Laurent Jacques (Infirmier), Nicole Edmunds (Simone), Vaihina Tapare (Paula), etc. Yves Edouard Malakai (Maui et Coco) plays Oscar. A good cast gives life to the engaging characters created by Patrice Guirao (2) in an enjoyable Tahitian pastiche/homage to the P.I. genre which gradually builds its own identity.

(1) Followed by Si tu nous regardes (2013) and Tu vois (released this month).
(2) Toti is definitely our favourite.

Review of Episodes 1 to 3 here:

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

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