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.


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