Thursday, 12 September 2019


Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) finds out working in television can be murder. The latest case of Commissaire Swan Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) becomes very personal for Marlène Leroy (Élodie Frenck)

Written by Flore Kossinetz (Demain nous appartient, Coeur Océan) and Hélène Lombard, L'heure zéro is adapted from Agatha Christie's novel Towards Zero. Roger Foucher, the presenter of le journal télévisé is found dead in a pond. Commissaire Laurence is called, assisted with Agent Arlette Carmouille and Tim Glissant, but the pathologist thinks it's an accident. Alice Avril resigns from La Voix du Nord (again) to get a job at TV Nord, the regional television channel. 

Alice dreams to work with Audrey Fontaine, the first woman to present the news in France. Instead she's hired as the assistant of starred chef Maxime Beaumont, who hosts the cooking show. Jean Devandière, the director of the channel, is murdered in his office and the weapon is one of Maxime's kitchen knives. Swan meets Audrey, who teaches him that a rose is a rose. The womanizing Beaumont sets his sights on Avril. Marlène Leroy is shocked to see the chef in Laurence's office: he abandoned her when she was 20 as they were about to marry. 

Hell hath no fury like a Marlène scorned in this uneven episode. A bit long, L'heure zéro is saved by the performances of Blandine Bellavoir and Élodie Frenck and by an excellent guest cast, especially Portuguese actor Nuno Lopes (Maxime). The presence of Alban Casterman (Al Dorsey, détective privé) is always a pleasure. This is his third appearance in Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie. After two different roles, here he plays Ted Gautier. The idea that "Cramouille" (the talented Marie Berto) is now a police officer in uniform works much better than in Ding Dingue Dong

The sets and costumes are fabulous. There's an impressive number of vintage cars. Also with Barbara Schulz (Audrey Fontaine), Dominique Thomas (Ernest Tricard), Cyril Gueï (Tim Glissant), Alyzée Costes (Claire Beaumont), Annette Lowcay (Marie Dupuis), Christian Van Tomme (Jean Devandière), Emmanuel Plovier (Louis), Thomas Debaene (Étienne Foucher), François Godart (Robert Jourdeuil) 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. Songs News of the World, Secrets de Cuisine and Talk to me composed and performed by Laurent Avenard, Moïra Conrath and Ludwig Gorhan. Bertrand Mouly is the cinematographer. 

Production designed by Moundji Couture. Costumes by Sophie Dussaud. Edited by Pascale Arnaud. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Directed by Nicolas Picard-Dreyfuss, L'heure zéro will premiere on France 2 on September 13. Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice  under the title Agatha Christie's Criminal Games.

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