Friday, 11 October 2019


Capitaine Marleau (France's favourite gendarme) investigates in a fun park. Maybe next time she'll go to the zoo or she'll visit a museum.

The bottom line: « No capes! » (Edna Mode)

Launched in 2015 on France 3, Capitaine Marleau stars Corinne Masiero as an offbeat gendarme with no first name. Produced and helmed by Josée Dayan (Les rois maudits, Les misérables, Le comte de Monte Cristo), the crime drama gradually became a ratings juggernaut and a pop culture phenomenon. Gaullic viewers know Marleau's chapka, her parka and her Range Rover Classic 1988 as much as Columbo's raincoat and his Peugeot 403. The lieutenant is an acknowledged influence of the character. In april, Capitaine Marleau hit another rating record with 7.70 million viewers (32.8%!)

The French public loves Corinne Masiero too. When she and Josée Dayan took a break from the series to shoot Quand sort la recluse, a 2X90-minute film of France 2's Collection Fred Vargas, 4.64 million viewers (20.65%) followed her for Part 1 (1). TF1 certainly hoped to cash in on the popularity of the actress with Colombine, where she starred in a very similar role except it was a nun in Africa! 5.2 million viewers (23.2%) watched this TV movie last month. Meanwhile, copycats of Capitaine Marleau regularly pop up on France 3, in Crimes parfaits or Alexandra Ehle (from Marleau's creator Elsa Marpeau).

Written by Pierre Delorme and Robin Barataud (Candice Renoir) with Corinne Masiero, Grand Huit will premiere in France on October 22. Alban Bouchard, who works in an amusement park called Spoutnik Park, is murdered in his "Spoutnik man" costume. Captain Marleau meets the owners, Lucie (Marina Hands) and Antoine Pavilla (Rapper and actor Joey Starr). The day before his death, Alban and his son Jordy had an argument. Major Boyer, of the gendarmerie, reluctantly cooperates with Marleau. 17 years ago, Lucie's father died on the roller coaster and the gendarmes ruled it a suicide. Marleau interrogates Henri, the handyman, and Lucie's brother Bertrand.

What the fans of Capitaine Marleau like most is neither the plots nor the guest stars (even Gérard Depardieu, David Suchet or Isabelle Adjani). It's when Corinne Masiero delivers Marleau's one-liners and social commentaries. With almost 8 million viewers, the series can afford everything. The star is known to ad lib, to the point that she's also credited with the writers. The title sequence of Grand Huit is almost a warning, because Corinne Masiero looks like she's freewheeling a lot in this episode only redeemed by its guest cast.

The great Bernard Alane (Magellan) plays Henri. Bernard Verley, seen in Quand sort la recluse, is Mickey. Myriam Boyer appears as Elisabeth Bouvier, the grumpy neighbour. Humorist and actor Tom Villa (Munch) does a good job as gendarme Kevin, the typical France 3 deputy (cf. Thibaud in Crimes parfaits). Also with Serge Hazanavicius (Boyer), Xavier Robic (Bertrand Ross), Sophie Verbeeck (Maeva Linetty), Vincent Roger (Alban), Benjamin Duba Paris (Jordy Bouchard), Nathalie Vignes (Pathologist), Laurie Bordesoules (Waitress), Baptiste Ballouhey (Christian Boyer) and Miki the dog (2).

Co-produced by Passionfilms and Bel Ombre Films with France Télévisions and the support of Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Département du Lot-et-Garonne. With the participation of RTS - Radio Télévision Suisse and R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge). Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac. Jean-Christophe Cardineau is the production manager. Cinematography by Stefan Ivanov. Editing by Yves Langlois. Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Marc Eisenchteter is the story editor. Capitaine Marleau is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice under the title Captain Marleau

(1)  Based on the work of bestselling author Fred Vargas. Corinne Masiero reprised her role of Violette Retancourt, a character she first played in 2009, alongside Jean-Hughes Anglade and Jacques Spiesser (Magellan).
(2) "Et pour la première fois à l'écran, le chien Miki"! 

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