Tuesday, 28 May 2019


[Favourite of the Month] Déa Versini is a police captain with a very special partner: her imaginary friend.

« Moi personnellement je serais l'incarnation de son inconscient mais c'est pas prouvé. »

French crime/comedy drama Double Je premiered last Friday on France 2. This  8 x 52-minute series was created by Camille Pouzol (Hard) with Stéphane Drouet and Lionel Olenga (1). From 2013 to 2019, this duo produced Chérif, the crime drama they co-created (with Laurent Scalese) for Making Prod, the company behind Double Je, and the same channel. Chérif tried a similar concept in a 2017 episode where Kader Chérif teamed up with Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch (Antonio Fargas reprising his famous role), whom he was alone to see and hear.

Captain Déa Versini, a shrewd Bordeaux police detective on the eve of her 40th birthday, lives with her young son and her italian father. When Alice Duval is found strangled in her appartment, Déa goes to the crime scene. She arrives late in her old red Alfa Romeo, awaited by a tall man with a mustache and a tuxedo. Named Jimmy, he's classy, smart, witty... and he exists only in her imagination. Which doesn't prevent him to investigate with the capitaine until Déa's boss assigns her a temporary partner: Lieutenant Matthieu Belcourt. His arrival disrupts an already complicated life.

Carole Weyers, a Belgian actress seen in Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy, Manhattan and NCIS, plays Déa Versini (2). François Vincentelli (Hard, Les Chamois) becomes Jimmy with a look between James Bond and Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.. Matthieu is played by Ambroise Michel (Cut, Nina, Plus belle la vie). The lieutenant is uptight, by-the-book, and averse to Versini's laid-back style of policing. Jimmy notices that his resumé is too good for a temp job at the police station and gets quickly annoyed by his presence. Déa tries to avoid working with Belcourt on the Duval case but she's not indifferent to his charm.

Alice wrote with Arnaud Lentin, an  environmental activist, a book about an important testing laboratory involved in a scandal. The laboratory belongs to Jean Duval de Thiéré, a powerful man and Alice's father. Double Je is fun, very well done, subtle and the cast is absolutely brilliant. It has shades of Randall & Hopkirk, Moonlighting and the Cary Grant comedies. There's a poster of The Philadephia Story (1940) in Déa's cosy "office", which is meant to be the place of the archives in the commissariat. The appearances of Jimmy sometimes remind of Al in Quantum Leap.

Capitaine Versini and Lieutenant Belcourt learn to know each other. They're called to the hospital by Déa's ex-husband Pr. Vincent Laubier because a multiple sclerosis patient says he witnessed a murder while he was hidden to smoke cannabis. Except that there's no dead body! Though the biggest mystery maybe Matthieu himself because his file is classified "Secret défense" and he has a second cell phone. The first couple of episodes of Double Je have great dialogues, a finely wrought characterization, good stories and an astute direction by Laurent Dussaux (Fais pas ci, fais pas ça, Hard).

Fleur Geffrier plays Jeanne Granger, the pathologist. Bruno Gouery is hilarious as Brigadier Fred Jolin. Also starring Pierre Laplace (Commissaire Xavier Frémont), Bastien Bernini (Damien), Denis Sebbah (Déa's psychoanalyst), François Dunoyer (Massimo Versini, Déa's father) and Giacomo Angotti (Théo, Déa's son). Le système D guest stars François Berland (Jean Duval), the excellent Jean-Toussaint Bernard as Arnaud Lentin, etc. Daniel Njo Lobé (Astrid et Raphaëlle) plays Maître Bernard. Débat de conscience guest stars Benjamin Bellecour as Vincent Laubier.

Both episodes were penned by Camille Pouzol and Lionel Olenga. Camille Pouzol is also the artistic director and the directrice de collection of the series. Story arcs by Camille Pouzol and Stéphane Drouet. Produced by Making Prod with France Télévisions. With the participation of TV5Monde and the support of Région Grand Est. Stéphane Drouet is the producer. Music composed and performed by Michaël Tordjman and Maxime Desprez. Cinematography by Bruno Degrave. The charming main title sequence was designed by Romain Bedouet. Filmed in Reims, Epernay and Bordeaux. Distributed by Mediawan Rights (Alter Ego is the international title).

(1) Based on an original idea from Stéphane Drouet.
(2) In March, Carole Weyers received the Best actress award (French competition) for Double Je at the Séries Mania festival.

Amandine Attard contributed to this review. 


Wednesday, 22 May 2019


Following the success of the TV movie Le prix de la vérité last year on France 3, comedian/actress Mimie Mathy takes another break from the long running TF1 hit Joséphine, ange gardien to return as Capitaine Marie Jourdan in Le prix de la loyauté. Mathieu Delarive is back as Capitaine Paul Danceny.

The bottom line: The price is (quite) right.

Crime drama expert scriptwriter Laurent Mondy (Commissaire Magellan, Les Cordier, juge et flic), who penned Le prix de la vérité, is behind the new case of this tenacious and quick-witted detective with a difference (1). In Le prix de la loyauté, Gendarmerie Captain Paul Danceny, now based in Aix-en-provence, is arrested by the police near the dead body of Dr. Gabriel Fabian. He manages to call for help his good friend Captain Marie Jourdan, of the Lyon Police judiciaire.

Fabian worked at the Clinique Vandeuil, an aesthetic surgery clinic owned by the arrogant Dr. Marc Vandeuil. Danceny was seen having an argument with the victim the day before his death. Procureur Gerfaud thinks he has his culprit but Marie quickly disculpates her friend. Paul's alibi is Vandeuil's wife Lorraine, with whom he has an affair. Gerfaud, who dislikes the gendarme, reluctantly gives the two captains four days to find the murderer.

Gabriel Fabian had a rivalry with Dr. Béatrice Keller, the assistant of Marc Vandeuil. And he dissuaded several patients to have surgery. Marie Jourdan meets Captain Danceny's father: Édouard Danceny, a high-ranking judge. With its rather commonplace plot, Le prix de la loyauté looks like an average episode of Commissaire Magellan. Both come from JLA Groupe, whose subsidiary Episode Productions made the two Marie Jourdan TV movies.

« Vous êtes très intéressante.
- Oubliez tout de suite. »

Miles away from her guardian angel signature role, Mimie Mathy does once again a great job as Captain Jourdan and her dialogues are effective. The inevitable and very "office du tourisme" aerial shots, one of the trademarks of France 3's crime dramas, are quite irritating. The very good guest cast includes two eminent actors who played in Enquêtes réservées (2009-2013) for the channel: Jérôme Anger (Édouard) and Yvon Back (Vandeuil).

Amusingly, Yvon Back appeared in two Joséphine, ange gardien (in 1999 and 2009). Also with: Gaëlle Marie (Lieutenant Sofia Zamara), Laetitia Fourcade (Lorraine Vandeuil), Sophie Staub (Clémence Vandeuil), Gaëlle Gillis (Jeanne Daguerre), Alexandra Mercouroff (Béatrice Keller), Marie Piton (Florence), Mathéo Capelli (Gerfaud), Marlène Veyriras (Pathologist), Nathalie Dodivers (Nurse), Carole Palcoux (Clinic employee), Maxime Florac (Police officer) and Valérie Leboute (Célia Moreau).

Directed by Grégory Ecale. Produced by Episode Productions with France Télévisions. Co-produced by Be-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge). With the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and TV5Monde. Produced by Richard Berkowitz. Bernard Paccalet exec produces. Olivier Guedj is the production manager. Music by Fabien Nataf (with Alain Mouysset). Cinematography by Olivier Guarguir. Le prix de la loyauté has yet to be aired by France 3.

(1) Mimie Mathy is 4 ft 4 tall (1.32 m).

Amandine Attard contributed to this review. 

See also:


Tuesday, 7 May 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.

Launched in 2017, Crimes parfaits is one of the many hits of France 3. The channel is the happy home of Commissaire Magellan, Mongeville, Meurtres à... or Capitaine Marleau. The later is no less than the most popular TV series in France, which certainly explains why Crimes parfaits is essentially a copycat factory of the gendarme portrayed by Corinne Masiero. With two noteworthy exceptions: Commander Renaud Delaunay, played by Antoine Duléry (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) in Aux abois/Mise en scène. And Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche.

Philippe Caroit (R.I.S. Police scientifique, Les boeuf-carottes) returns as Roche in Pour l'Éternité and À coeur ouvert. The falsely naive and slightly caustic detective first appeared in Entre deux eaux and Haute tension, written by Céline Guyot and Martin Guyot (Mongeville, Commissaire Magellan, Femmes de loi). They are back, as well as director Lionel Chatton (Tandem). Claire Borotra (La vengeance aux yeux clairs, Le mystère du lac), who played the wheelchair-bound procureure Gabrielle Rossi last year, is replaced by Garance Thenault as Lieutenant Gaëlle Mareski.

Mathilde Moreno, the revengeful caterer of Pour l'Éternité, organizes more than a wedding when she kidnaps the bride Iris and arranges her death as a suicide near a dam. Damien Roche meets the young lieutenant Mareski, now at the Sécurité urbaine after 12 years in the army. In À coeur ouvert, renowned surgeon Professor Jean-Pierre David shoots a male nurse who blackmailed him and makes the murder look as he was the real target because of some public stances. But the commissaire divisionnaire is nobody's fool.

In spite of their flaws, the previous two cases of Roche showed enough potential for a spin-off series or at least a return in Crimes parfaits. Mainly because of the always brilliant Philippe Caroit. This new pair of episodes is even better, thanks to some welcome retooling and the arrival of Garance Thenault. There are no romantic banters between Damien and Gaëlle (contrary to him and Gabrielle) but rather a father-daughter relationship. The only problem of Pour l'Éternité and À coeur ouvert is the ridiculous tendency of Crimes parfaits to find excuses for their murderers.

Gwendoline Hamon, who plays Commissaire Florence Cassandre in Cassandre (another crime drama hit of France 3), guest stars as Mathilde Moreno. The excellent Jean-Yves Berteloot is Professor David. Sandrine Quétier, formerly known as a television presenter, plays Dr. Rebecca Triolet (a possible regular character?) Pour l'Éternité also stars Aurélie Vaneck (Plus belle la vie) as Iris, Thomas Séraphine (Simon Landais), Stéphane Aubry (Hubert), Maximilien Pascal (Fussen), Lise Laffont (Carole), Maria Laborit (Hélène) and Julien Sabatié-Ancora (Romuald Berthon).

With (À coeur ouvert): Benjamin Egner (L'Art du crime) as Cédric, Marika Vibik (Odile), Alexia Degremont (Claudia), Michel Delcampo (Loris) and Benjamin Duc (Garagiste). Produced by Episode Productions (JLA Groupe) with France Télévisions. Co-produced by BE-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge) with the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and TV5Monde. Bernard Paccalet exec produces. Produced by Richard Berkowitz. Olivier Guedj is the production manager. Music composed and conducted by Frédéric Porte.

Cinematography by Maurizio Tiella. Theme music of Crimes parfaits by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Main title design by Laurent Brett for Brett & Cie (Cherif, Cassandre, Transporter - The Series). Commissaire divisionnaire Damien Roche would be a great addition to France 3's saturday night crime slot. He clearly deserves his own series.

https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2018/05/crimes-parfaits-episodes-5-6-france-3.html (Entre deux eaux/Haute tension)

[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.
See also:

http://www.brettetcie.com/ (Brett & Cie)