Saturday, 27 January 2018


[Spoiler-free review] Crime pays, crime sells. French television fiction is a huge police station, particularly on pubcaster France 3. After Meurtres à... (the answer of the channel to Germany's Tatort) or Crime à, the channel successfully launched a new collection called Crimes parfaits last december.

In this  6 x 52-minute  "semi-anthology", a murderer known from the start thinks he/she has committed the perfect crime but a detective (different in every couple of episodes) proves him/her wrong.  It's the concept of the inverted detective story, popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. 

France 3 happens to be the home of megahit Capitaine Marleau, starring Corinne Masiero as an offbeat, sharp-minded and quick-witted sleuth without a first name but with a chapka and a parka. Columbo is one of the acknowledged influences of the character. Coincidentally (or not), episodes 1 & 2 of Crimes parfaits were centered on a Marleau-esque police captain played by Isabelle Gélinas. 5.173.000 viewers (20%) (1) watched the two cases packed with cliches and terrible dialogues, even if the second episode managed to be a little better than the first.

Antoine Duléry, who played Commissaire Jean Larosière in Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie from 2009 to 2012, stars as Gendarmerie commander Renaud Delaunay in the pair of episodes to air next tuesday on France 3. The likeable Delaunay is claustrophobic and his third marriage is about to end. He rides an old Triumph motorbike and has just quit smoking. Laura Mizon, a clever (and irreverent) young lieutenant played by Élisa Ruschke, assists him. In Aux abois, written by Isabelle Polin & Frédéric J. Lozet, nurse Adèle Lacombes (Helena Noguerra) kills her stepfather with his own shotgun during a hunting party and makes the murder look like a suicide.

This episode is quite enjoyable despite of a handful of poor dialogue lines, thanks to the performances of Antoine Duléry and Helena Noguerra. Anyway, the best case of Delaunay is the remarkable Mise en scène (written by Stéphane Pannetier & Julien Vanlerenberghe). Samuel Labarthe, the successor of Duléry in Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie, guest stars as Philippe Sevran. Sevran, a longtime friend of commandant Delaunay, is a juge d'instruction (an investigating magistrate) who drowns his wife Louise in her bath. This murder is only one of the elements of a diabolical plan which tests the loyalty of the commander's colleagues.

Mise en scène is a stunningly brilliant confrontation between the both excellent Antoine Duléry and Samuel Labarthe. Far from the popular Commissaire Laurence of Les petits meurtres, Labarthe channels the most memorable murderers of Columbo. The sociopathic judge Sevran is the epitome of the powerful and rich ars*hole, the best guest villain of Crimes parfaits to date. Directed by Christophe Douchand, Aux abois and Mise en scène are produced by Ango Productions (Lagardère Studios) and France Télévisions, with Be-Films and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge). With the participation of RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) and TV5 Monde.  Produced by Ivan Sadik. Frank Lebreton exec produces.

Co-starring Pierre Laplace (Serge Barraud) and Gérard Loussine as pathologist Michel Bergeron. Filmed on location in Bretagne (Vannes and its region). Music composed and conducted by Vincent Stora. Theme of Crimes parfaits composed by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. The end title song of the two episodes, reminiscent of the atmosphere of the soundtrack of the German TV classic Schimanski, is called One last time. It is performed by Manu Lanvin, who composed it with Vincent Stora. The duo Renaud Delaunay/Laura Mizon deserves its own series. Philippe Caroit plays the detective in the next couple of episodes, filmed mostly in Marseille.


[Update - January 31] 

4.543.000 viewers (18.3%) watched the two cases of Commander Delaunay on France 3, which aired Mise en scène before Aux abois.

Review of Episodes 1 and 2 here:

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