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. 


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