Monday, 25 March 2019


Isabelle emerges from a long coma to discover that the novel in which she was the main character has been turned into an episode of France's most popular TV series.

The bottom line: When Isabelle met Marleau.

After Gérard Depardieu, Pierre Arditi (Blood of the Vine) or David Suchet (Agatha Christie's Poirot), France 3's megahit crime drama Capitaine Marleau welcomes another very special guest star alongside Corinne Masiero as Marleau: the great Isabelle Adjani. Helmed as usual by director and series co-producer Josée Dayan, Ne plus mourir, jamais is based on the 2008 namesake novel written by Franco-British scriptwriter/author Marc Eisenchteter. He co-wrote the adaptation with Christian François, Elsa Marpeau (who created Capitaine Marleau) and Corinne Masiero. 

Eisenchteter previously penned the very good Suchet episode (Sang et lumière) with British-American writer and musician John McNulty. In Ne plus, mourir jamais, Isabelle Adjani plays Isabelle Laumont, a laboratory researcher who leaves the hospital some months after her awakening from a 15-year coma caused by an accident. She's firmly decided to reconquer her scientific work and her family. Particularly her companion, Richard Tamani, who ended up marrying Élise Jeanson, the babysitter. Isabelle is now a stranger to Aurore, her teenage daughter, and only her son Tom supports her. Élise is found dead in the river Charente, murdered. 

Capitaine Marleau announces the news to Richard and she visits Isabelle, who becomes the main suspect. This is not the first time that Marleau is shoehorned into the plot of a novel, not unlike when Columbo (an acknowledged influence of Capitaine Marleau) used two novels of Ed McBain with mixed results. Last year's episode Double jeu was based on the novel Le sosie de la morgue by Claude Luxel (alias Lucien Riffard). Published in 1935, it was first adapted in 1949 for the cinema as Entre onze heures et minuit (directed by Henri Decoin). Josée Dayan herself wanted to film her own adaptation of Le sosie de la morgue in 2015 with Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant but the movie wasn't made.

Double jeu was an unsatisfactory substitute to Josée Dayan's film project and a rather odd departure from the series format, worsened by an awkward origin story of Marleau. Ne plus mourir, jamais is less an episode of Capitaine Marleau than the book of Marc Eisenchteter brought to the screen. Isabelle Adjani is both convincing and touching. Marleau is so self-aware that she seems to know she's on TV. Also with Thibault de Montalembert (Richard Tamani), Didier Flamand (Professor Lalou), Yannick Renier (Vincent Duparc), Quentin Dolmaire (Tom Tamani), Lily Taïeb (Laurianne Petitbois), Raph (Aurore Tamani), Sarah Pasquier (Élise Jeanson Tamani) and Christine Murillo (Valérie Wilkins).

Produced by Passionfilms and Gaspard and Co with France Télévisions. With the participation of Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge). Filmed with the support of Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac. Cinematography by Stefan Ivanov. Editing by Yves Langlois. Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Capitaine Marleau is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice under the title Captain Marleau. (Double jeu (Sang et lumière)

See also: 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


An unlikely A very conventional pair of sleuths investigates a series of suspicious deaths. Most regrettably, it's not the only series they might get.

The bottom line: The Good Detective.

Created and written by Alexandre de Seguins & Laurent Burtin, Astrid et Raphaëlle is a 90-minute crime drama pilot directed by Elsa Bennett & Hippolyte Dard. Made by JLA (Alexandra Ehle, Commissaire Magellan) for French pubcaster France 2, it's an umpteenth take on the duo between a cop and a genius but troubled consultant. This one stars Sara Mortensen (Plus belle la vie) and Lola Dewaere (La vengeance aux yeux clairs, Le tueur du lac).

A doctor withdraws 8000 euros before setting himself on fire on an above-ground car park. Police commander Raphaëlle Coste (Lola Dewaere), a divorced mother whose career is in jeopardy because of a member of the European Parliament, is in charge of the investigation. While searching files on other strange suicides, Raphaëlle meets Astrid Nielsen (Sara Mortensen), an employee of the Service de la Documentation Criminelle with  an encyclopedic knowledge of all the cases archived and an impressive expertise in criminalistics. She doesn't know that Astrid is in fact autistic.

From 2009 to 2016, commercial broadcaster TF1 was the home of neurotic criminal psychologist Chloé Saint-Laurent, played by Odile Vuillemin in Profilage (still in production). In 2016, the channel tried to adapt Professor T. (2015-2018), a Flemish series centered on a brilliant but dysfunctional professor in criminal psychology and police consultant who fears dirt (similarly to Monk) and proximity with people. Elsa Marpeau, creator of the megahit Capitaine Marleau for France 3, was behind this adaptation called Prof T. It didn't prevent the only six episodes to gather dust on TF1's shelves before surfacing two years later (in February 2018).

Most Gaullic viewers probably forgot Professor Julien Tardieu. Anyway, they can always watch regular repeats of Monk. In France 2's L'Art du crime, launched in 2017, a cop works with an art historian who could be a distant cousin of Chloé Saint-Laurent or the French niece of Professor Jasper Teerlinck. This time France Télévisions goes one step further with Astrid et Raphaëlle. This pilot, done with a pinch of Candice Renoir and (of course) a zest of Professor T., is basically the pubcaster's answer to one of the most recent hits of TF1: The Good Doctor, the American drama (1) about a young autistic surgeon.

The autistic characters of Astrid et Raphaëlle don't practice surgery, they solve crimes and hack computers. When it comes to French detective/mystery/crime dramas, the lack of originality and the excess of clichés often pay. Look at those copycats of Capitaine Marleau on its own channel, France 3. Oddly, Astrid et Raphaëlle is packed with references to... Jurassic Park! Benoît Michel co-stars as Nicolas Perran. Also with Daniel Njo Lobé (Commissaire Carl Bachert), Geoffroy Thiebaut (Alain Gaillard), Julien Prévost (Jef Martino), Linda Massoz (Policière), etc. 

Produced by JLA Productions Jean-Luc Azoulay and France Télévisions. Co-produced with Be-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge). Filmed with the participation of  RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Bernard Paccalet exec produces. Produced by Jean-Sébastien Bouilloux. Music composed by Erwann Kermorvant. Additional music by Laurent Courbier. Cinematography by Jérôme Alméras. France 2 will show Astrid et Raphaëlle on April 12.

(1) Based on a South-Korean drama.

Thursday, 14 March 2019


French pubcaster France 3's detective drama Crimes parfaits is a "semi-anthology" where 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. These two new episodes are directed by Emmanuel Rigaut (Le prix de la vérité, Mongeville et Magellan: Un amour de jeunesse).

Isabel Otero plays Police commander Claire Moreno in Étoile filante and Le grand saut, from prodco GMT Productions. It's almost a comfort that the third and last female detective of this second series of Crimes parfaits is not another copycat of Capitaine Marleau, France 3's ratings juggernaut. GMT made Diane, femme flic (2003-2010) for TF1 and it starred... Isabel Otero. They were also behind another crime drama hit of the private channel: Julie Lescaut (1992-2014). In 2002, Isabel Otero took the lead role in the long-running France 2 series La Crim' (1999-2006).

Claire Moreno has a teenage son, an addiction for chocolate bars and a deputy named Hubert, played  by Hubert Roulleau (Les chatouilles, Mongeville et Magellan: Un amour de jeunesse). His look and his car definitely nod to The Mentalist. Isabelle Polin and Frédéric J. Lozet, who penned the third episode of Series 1 (Aux abois, starring Antoine Duléry as Renaud Delaunay), wrote Étoile filante. Bruno Solo (Blood on the Docks) is brilliant as David Pasquier, a double-star chef and restaurant owner who follows a most machiavellian plan to murder his wife Élise and frame his stepbrother.

Moreno suspects Pasquier a bit too easily and the episode is heavy on cooking metaphors. Also starring Arsène Jiroyan (Léopold, the pathologist), Vanessa Liautey (Patricia), Charles Clément (Le prix de la vérité) as Pascal, etc. Franck Sémonin (Section de recherches) plays Alain Saunier, the coach of France women's heptathlon team, in Le grand saut. When Saunier understands that Laura, an athlete and his lover, will get his job for the 2024 Olympic Games he strikes the federation delegate to death. Alain is way less subtle than his restaurateur predecessor and his crime is a bit cartoonesque.

Hubert gets a last name, an aristocratic family and he becomes oddly exuberant. Damien Ferdel plays Claire's son Lucas. Also with Arsène Jiroyan (Leopold), Pasquale D'Inca (Guy), Margot Dufrene (Laura), etc. Written by Alexia De Oliveira Gomes. A co-production GMT Productions and France Télévisions with Be-Films and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge). With the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and TV5 Monde. Frank Lebreton exec produces. Produced by Julien Dewolf and Myriam Gharbi-de Vasselot. Filmed with the support of Département des Alpes-Maritimes. Music by Maïdi Roth and Franck Pilant. Theme music of Crimes parfaits composed by Jean-Pierre Taïeb.
[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.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019


Melbourne in the 1960s. Peregrine Fisher, niece of the famous Australian detective Phryne Fisher, wants to become a sleuth too.

The bottom line: Phryne Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Based on the Phryne Fisher Mystery books by Kerry Greenwood, the popular Australian period detective drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries ran from 2012 to 2015 on pubcaster ABC. Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger (East of Everything) developed the adaptation within their prodco Every Cloud Productions. Essie Davis (The Slap, Cloudstreet) starred as The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, a young, beautiful and wealthy socialite with many skills and talents who also had a knack for solving crimes. The free-spirited and intrepid Phryne (pronounced "Fry-knee") couldn't resist investigating murder mysteries with her maid Dorothy "Dot" Williams (Ashleigh Cummings). She was always ahead of Detective Inspector John "Jack" Robinson (Nathan Page) and Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt).

Her aunt Prudence Stanley (Miriam Margolyes) disapproved her dashing lifestyle but Miss Fisher and Dot could always count on communist cabbies Albert "Bert" Johnson (Travis McMahon) and Cecil "Cec" Yates (Anthony Sharpe). Phryne's aptly named butler Mr Tobias Butler (Richard Bligh) managed the household to perfection and knew some things about horse racing and weapons. Dr. Elizabeth "Mac" Macmillan (Tammy Macintosh) was her confidante and the young Jane Ross (Ruby Rees-Wemyss) was her ward. Though Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries enjoyed three successful series and was sold all over the world, it wasn't renewed and Every Cloud Productions went on to make a feature film. Its financing was completed thanks to two crowdfunding campaigns and production of Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears started in Fall 2018 for an Australian release in 2019.

Now the Miss Fisher franchise welcomes Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries, a spin-off series set in 1964 Melbourne and starring Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted) as Phryne's niece Peregrine Fisher. Commercial broadcaster Channel Seven aired Just Murdered, the first of four 90-minute TV movies, on February 21. Peregrine inherits from her aunt, whom she never knew, when the famous sleuth goes missing over Papua New Guinea. Phryne Fisher was a member of The Adventuresses' Club of the Antipodes, a group of exceptional women headed by Birdie Birnside. When a top model is murdered during a fashion show, Peregrine Fisher decides to follow the footsteps of her illustrious relative. Much to the bewilderment of Detective James Steed and the irritation of his boss, Chief Inspector Percy Sparrow.

Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries is totally deprived of the charm and the dynamism of its predecessor. There's zero chemistry between the substitute to the Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson duo. The other characters struggle to be remotely interesting. The simple presence of Essie Davis reminded of Diana Rigg in The Avengers while this spin-off has to insist on the name of "Detective J. Steed" to establish a kinship. Though Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries aspires to capture the spirit of some Spy-Fi shows of the 1960s era it actually shares a lot of similarities with the more fun French period crime comedy-drama Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie's Criminal Games, in Australia on SBS). In North America both Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears and Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries will be exclusives of the SVOD service Acorn TV.

Also starring Joel Jackson (Detective James Steed), Catherine McClements (Birdie Birnside), James Mason (Eric Wild), Toby Truslove (Samuel Birnside), Louisa Mignonne (Violetta Fellini), Greg Stone (Chief Inspector Sparrow), Katie Robinson (Constable Fleur Connor), Libby Tanner (Florence Astor), etc. A Screen Australia, Seven Network and Film Victoria presentation produced by Every Cloud Productions. Exec produced by Fiona Eagger, Deb Cox and Julie McGauran. Deb Frey produces. Music composed by Burkhard Dallwitz, Brett Aplin and Dimitri Golovko. Cinematography by Kathy Chambers. Production designed by Ben Bangay. Costumes designed by Maria Pattinson. Created by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger. Written by Deb Cox and directed by Fiona Banks. (In French)

Friday, 1 March 2019


Yes, there was something on this little blog last month!


- Joséphine, ange gardien: L'incroyable destin de Rose Clifton 1 & 2 (TF1):

- Crimes parfaits: C'est la taille qui compte/Un mort peut en cacher un autre (Episodes 9 & 10, France 3):

- Meurtres en Lorraine (France 3):

Thank you very much  for your constant interest, your fidelity and your trust.