Tuesday, 16 October 2018


France 3's detective "semi-anthology" Crimes parfaits returns with two new 52-minute episodes. A murderer known from the start thinks he/she has committed the perfect crime until 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. 

The crime dramas of France 3 are a fully-fledged genre, recognizable from the regional locations, some postcard drone shots and even actors jumping from one to another. The pubcaster's long string of hits includes collections like Meurtres à..., Crime à or Crimes parfaits (launched last year). And series such as Mongeville, Commissaire Magellan or the ratings juggernaut Capitaine Marleau. This pop culture phenomenon created by novelist and scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau stars 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), some distant cousins to the eccentric female sleuth regularly pop up on the channel. Elsa Marpeau herself wrote a pilot called Alexandra Ehle, with Julie Depardieu as a free-spirited and whimsical pathologist. Its success spawned a (not yet aired) series. Before that, the first two Crimes parfaits were centered on a Marleau-esque police captain played by Isabelle Gélinas. Their ratings prompted a return of the character in episodes 9 & 10. In the meantime, Marché de dupes and Bain de minuit (the 7th and 8th episodes) introduce Marleau's newest relative: Police captain Louise Bonne, played by actress and humorist Julie Ferrier.

In Marché de dupes, Mathieu Dubreuil, a dentist, throws his young female assistant from the last floor of the building where they both live. His wife Ève is convinced that Mathieu was in bed with her while he committed this cold-blooded murder and he managed to find an ideal suspect. Capitaine Bonne investigates with her deputy, protégé and cook Fatou (Wendy Nieto). Of course, Louise Bonne is a tad eccentric and has a wry (i.e. labored) sense of humour. Otherwise, she's separated from her architect husband and has a teenage daughter, Zoé (Juliette Petiot), who wants a tatoo. The episode is a catastrophic catalogue of clichés and Louise's reenactment of the crime is rather tedious.

Guest starring actor, director and ex-cop Olivier Marchal as Mathieu. Also with Noémie Kocher (Ève), Marlène Veyriras (Clémence), Alexiane Torres (Daniela), etc. Bain de minuit is much better, mainly because of guest star Sam Karmann's performance as Roland Barnier, the concierge of a luxury hotel. Roland murders Clarisse, a human resources coach, and frames the profit-minded young manager of the establishment. With Stéphanie Mathieu (Yolande), Guillaume Faure (Lambert), Julie Meunier (Clarisse), etc. Nelly Antignac plays La procureure in both episodes. Sophie de la Rochefoucauld is very funny as the ill-named Gracieuse, the pathologist.

Written by Marie-Anne Le Pezennec. Directed by Julien Zidi. Developed with Toma de Matteis. Produced by Caroline Lassa for Salsa Productions. Co-produced by France.tvstudio (formerly MFP) and France Télévisions with Be-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge). With the participation of TV5 Monde, 13ème Rue  (NBC Universal) and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Music composed and performed by Danish composer Flemming Nordkrog. Theme music of Crimes parfaits by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Filmed with the support of Département de la Charente-Maritime.

[Update - October 2, 2020] Crimes parfaits will be available at the end of this month in the United States on the SVOD service MHZ Choice as Perfect Murders.

Friday, 12 October 2018


Special thanks to Nicole Loutan.

It's a new world. With new enemies. And new threats. But you can still depend on one man woman.

The bottom line: You Know The Name. You Know The Number.

Written by new Doctor Who supremo Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch, Torchwood) and helmed by Jamie Childs, The Woman Who Fell to Earth takes place soon after the latest regeneration of the Doctor from a "white-haired Scotsman" (Peter Capaldi) to... Jodie Whittaker. The gender swap sparked a frantic debate when the casting of this talented English actress, who worked with Chibnall on Broadchurch, was announced. Even if fans were prepared to the idea with Missy (Michelle Gomez), the Mary Poppinesque regeneration of the Master previously played by John Simm.

Before that, The Doctor's Wife (Series 6, Episode 4) stated that Time Lords could change genders. The legendary Joanna Lumley was briefly the character in the non-canonical Doctor Who: The Curse of The Fatal Death (1999) for Comic Relief. Regardless of the heated comments about the gender question, the star of Doctor Who has never been a problem. The role of the Doctor is always cast with utmost care. Jodie Whittaker was great right from her short appearance at the end of Twice Upon a Time, the 2017 Christmas special. Unsurprisingly, The Woman Who Fell to Earth confirms that she was aptly chosen.

« Why are you calling me "madam"?
- Because you're a woman.
- Am I? Does it suit me? »

Weird events occur in Sheffield and its surroundings. Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), a young man who suffers from dyspraxia, involuntarily triggered them. Police officer Yasmin "Yaz" Khan (Mandip Gill), Ryan's gran Grace O'Brien (Sharon D. Clarke) and her second husband Graham (Bradley Walsh) are also involved. Torchwood being unavailable, the Doctor literally drops by to help against a cousin of the Predator named Tim Shaw... sorry, T'zim Sha. The Woman Who Fell to Earth is quite chatty (to fill 63 minutes) and very nocturnal but it's an enjoyable series premiere, reminiscent of the 1996 TV movie. Whatever Chris Chibnall's motives, the absence of intro is most regrettable. That's like no Gunbarrel in a James Bond.

Bradley Walsh is a fantastic addition to Doctor Who. What happens to one of the Doctor's new friends is unfortunate in many respects. The new version of the iconic theme by composer Segun Akinola is excellent. French pubcaster France 4 airs Series 11 on Thursdays with subtitles, only four days after BBC One. This tour de force is impressive, especially when you remember that French fans of the classic series weren't so lucky (1). Also starring Samuel Oatley (Tim Shaw), Jonny Dixon (Karl), Amit Shah (Rahul), etc. Produced by BBC Studios Cymru Wales. Nikki Wilson is the series producer. Matt Strevens and Chris Chibnall exec produce. French subtitles by Blandine Ménard (Game of Thrones) for Dubbing Brothers.

(1) See the very interesting article by Alain Carrazé in Doctor Who Magazine Special: The World of Doctor Who.

https://www.nouvelobs.com/rue89/rue89-nos-vies-connectees/20170731.OBS2783/game-of-thrones-blandine-a-vu-les-episodes-avant-vous.html (An interview of Blandine Ménard about Game of Thrones

See also: 


Tuesday, 9 October 2018


In which Marlène Leroy  (Élodie Frenck) feels bad and Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) goes nuts. Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) eats lobster and becomes a nurse.

Written by Sylvie Simon, Ding Dingue Dong is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel Evil Under The Sun. Marlène is severely depressed, much to the dismay of Commissaire Laurence. He's obliged to leave her with Alice as he's called urgently to the Clinique des Lilas, a mental clinic. Anatole Bouvier, a patient, has been found hanged in his room. Clarisse, wife of the clinic's owner Dr. Rodier, happens to have an affair with Swan.

The commissaire sends his faithful secretary to be treated at the establishment. Rodier introduces her to his colleagues: head nurse Dominique Lebrun, Dr. Nathan Steiner and his jealous wife Marie, a yoga teacher. Marlène also meets the other patients, including cocaine addict Felix Jacquel. Rodier's teenage daughter Adèle has some personal issues. Soon Laurence must investigate another death around the clinic but he has to cope with ex-police secretary Arlette Carmouille (Drame en trois actes), back in uniform! 

Dingue Dingue Dong reminds of both Jeux de glaces (the first Laurence/Avril/Marlène) and the Larosière/Lampion era. The return of "Cramouille", played by Marie Berto, and the unnecessary stay of Laurence at the Clinique des Lilas stretch the suspension of disbelief. Élodie Frenck steals the 90 minutes sans Marlène's makeup and accessories. The dialogues are great (of course) and there are some nods to previous episodes. The guest cast is excellent, particularly Berenice Baôo (very Morgan Fairchild) as Clarisse, Kevin Garnichat (Steiner) and Emmanuel Bordier (Felix).

With Dominique Thomas (Tricard) and Cyril Gueï (Tim Glissant). Also starring Arnaud Binard (Louis Rodier), Chloé Chaudoye (Marie Steiner), Maïra Schmitt (Adèle Rodier), Barbara Monin (Dominique Lebrun), Karim Rouabah (Anatole Bouvier), Philippe Capelle (Père André), Nicolette Picheral (Marguerite Michel), David-Alexandre Berthier (Philippe Angles), Serge Dubois (Man with the poodle) and Bubulle. Co-produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France. 

Produced with the participation of TV5 Monde, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. Télévision Belge. 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. Production designed by Moundji Couture. Costumes by Sophie Dussaud. Edited by Céline Cloarec. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Directed by Christophe Campos, Dingue Dingue Dong will be shown on France 2 in 2019.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) 


Monday, 1 October 2018