Monday, 22 February 2021


Following the success of a TV movie aired last year on pubcaster France 3, the ill-assorted duo of Police de caractères investigates again in the north of France for this 90-minute episode called Post Mortem

The bottom line: Sometimes They Come Back.

Clémentine Célarié (Lebowitz contre Lebowitz) plays Louise Poquelin, a blue collar police captain and a mum. Joffrey Platel (Demain nous appartient, Riviera) co-stars as Lieutenant Étienne de Beaumont, an aristocrat who lives in the family château, loves books and drives a chic vintage car. The actor is a familiar face of France 3, where he played in Les ombres de Lisieux, Murder in... Lorraine (Meurtres en Lorraine) and the one-off TV movie Classe unique with Clémentine Célarié.

Rémi Delasalle, the director of the Lycée hotelier international, finds his wife Alicia hanged in the cold room of the establishment. Capitaine Poquelin rules out a suicide in a case which echoes a personal drama. De Beaumont must deal with his past too when a young woman writes "Assassin" with a lipstick on the windshield of his dear Peugeot. Poquelin and Étienne suspects Rémi but also Samba M'Bengue, a dismissed student. Raphaël wants to know what is his exact place in Louise's life.

The pseudo-rebellious Louise Poquelin remains a Captain Marleau on antidepressants but without Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash (the title song of the first episode). Her romance with Raphaël is more Un si grand soleil or Demain nous appartient (1) than Richard Curtis, though she tries hard by getting on a car roof. The required quota of humour includes yoga and Poquelin tormenting the duo's boss between two tantrums. Poor Étienne has now a reason to cherish his precious vehicle.

The dialogues are calamitous and often laughable. Olivier Rabourdin plays Rémi Delasalle. The great Francine Bergé appears as Annette Delasalle. With Jules Houplain (Antoine Poquelin), Olga Mouak (Violette Langlois), Cyril Garnier (Raphaël), Cypriane Gardin (Manon Poquelin), Adèle Choubard (Anaïs Poquelin), Benjamin Bourgois (Timothée Richard), Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux (Héloïse), Antoine Chappey (Le commissaire), etc. 

Produced by Terence Films and Gétévé Productions with France Télévisions, Fontana and RTBF (Télévision belge). With the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Produced by Bertrand Cohen and Stéphane Meunier. Music by Armand Amar. Created by Sandrine Lucchini & Matthieu Savignac. Written by Eugénie Dard and Charlotte Joulia. Directed by Gabriel Aghion. Police de caractères is distributed by Banijay Rights. France 3 will air Police de caractères: Post Mortem and a repeat of the original TV film on Saturday, February 27.

(1) Two of France's answers to EastEnders or Coronation Street.

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Monday, 15 February 2021


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. Crimes parfaits is available in the United States as Perfect Murders, thanks to SVOD service MHZ Choice.
Police captain Louise Bonne ("Comme la poire"), played by actress and humorist Julie Ferrier, returns with her deputy and protégé Fatou (Wendy Nieto) in Ivresse des profondeurs and La femme est un homme comme les autres. Juliette Petiot (Louise's teenage daughter Zoé) and Sophie de la Rochefoucauld, very funny as the ill-named pathologist Gracieuse, are back too. The two episodes, penned by Marie-Anne Le Pezennec, are helmed by David Ferrier (Candice Renoir). The improvement shown in the previous couple of "Capitaine Louise Bonne" (À la vie à la mort/Trop beau pour être vrai) continues despite the labored humour of the main character and the limits of the series format.
Even with the mandatory social comments, Ivresse des profondeurs is surprisingly good. Aboard a yacht, Jeanne Lambert murders drug squad supercop Tony Delage and makes the (horrid) crime looks like a diving accident while their friends are asleep. Louise eats some potential evidences and the war with her husband continues. The character of Fatou has evolved, though nobody thought to give her a last name yet. Gracieuse deserves one too, by the way. Special guest star Carole Bianic (Chérif) is impressive during the rather sadistic murder scene. Jérôme Pauwels, who plays her victim, definitely deserves his paycheck.
Mathieu Madénian couldn't return as Grégoire, the sympathetic procureur. He's replaced by Stéphane Debac as Benoît, who seems to have inherited Grégoire's lines. Also with Clémence Thioly (Sandrine), Vincent Heneine (Ben), Nathan Gruffy (Adam) and Paul Arvenne (Tom). The excellent Arthur Jugnot is the special guest star of La femme est un homme comme les autres, a case of harassment but with a twist and a nod to Cluedo. He plays Adrien, a cook who murders his female boss and his alibi would perfectly (no pun intended) fit in a Columbo.
One of the key elements of the investigation is Passion mortelle, an old black and white film (starring Cécile Guyon and Henri Bosc). Two years ago there was another fictional movie, named Nonosse, in a Crimes parfaits with Capitaine Agnès Bertaud. Regrettably, the epilogue of La femme est un homme comme les autres is ridiculous. With Apolline Bercholz (Morgane), Victor Pontecorvo (Marco), Valérie Maurice (Emma), Raphaël Hidrot (Joueur), François Perrache (Edmond - Film Passion mortelle) and Alice Kinh (Emma - Film Passion mortelle).

Developed with Toma de Matteis. Produced by Caroline Lassa for Salsa Productions. Co-produced by France.tvstudio with Be-Films and RTBF (Télévision belge). With the participation of France Télévisions and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Music by Benjamin Farley and Eve-Marie Bodet. Theme music of Crimes parfaits by Jean-Pierre Taïeb. Filmed with the support of Département de la Charente-Maritime.
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Friday, 5 February 2021


It's a new era, with new faces and new  talents but the spirit remains the same. After the glorious (musical) departure of its previous regular cast, France 2's period crime drama Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie jumps from the 1960s to the 1970s with the brilliant La nuit qui ne finit pas.

1972. Annie Gréco, the first woman appointed commissaire de police in France, arrives at the brand new Commissariat de Lille. She has to cope with the lack of enthusiasm of Commissaire divisionnaire Servan Legoff, a team of machos and the too impulsive Inspector Max Beretta. But Beretta is surprisingly intuitive and he turns out to be an unexpected ally to Commissaire Gréco for her first case: the murder of actor Richard Duval during the filming of the latest movie of French superstar Anna Miller. Gréco is annoyed by Rose Bellecour, a young woman who is the therapist of Anna Miller and whose profession is disapproved by her rich parents.
When Beretta loses his nerve, the commissaire forces him to follow a therapy with Rose. Based on the Agatha Christie's novel Endless Night, La nuit qui ne finit pas was penned by Flore Kosinetz (Demain nous appartient, Coeur Océan) and Hélène Lombard. Both wrote L'heure zéro for the previous era of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie and created the new characters with Éliane Montane (Dix pour cent), Gabor Rassov and producer Sophie Révil. The dialogues of La nuit qui ne finit pas are very effective, which is one of the series trademarks. The characterization is particularly well-crafted.
Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie was launched 12 years ago in the wake of the miniseries Petits meurtres en famille (2006). Its popularity actually started to grow globally from 2013 onward after the departure of its two stars (Antoine Duléry and Marius Colucci as the duo Larosière and Lampion) prompted a first cast change and a move from the 1930s to the 1950s-1960s. The beloved trio Laurence/Avril/Marlène (Samuel Labarthe, Blandine Bellavoir and Elodie Frenck) gradually became a family (1) celebrated by a sympathetic fandom and left after 27 episodes. 
The series is sold in 80 countries and each episode costs 2,5m euros. Introducing new sleuths in Les petits meurtres is a task comparable to the regeneration of the Doctor in Doctor Who or the arrival of a detective in Death in Paradise. Once again Sophie Révil and her team did wonders at all levels, starting with a great casting. Émilie Gavois-Kahn (Les Bracelets rouges, Cassandre) plays the clever and uncompromising Commissaire Annie Gréco. Max Beretta, who epitomizes the 1970s TV or movie cop right from his name, is played by Arthur Dupont.
Chloé Chaudoye plays Rose Bellecour after guest starring in another role three years ago. The indispensable pathologist is Jacques Blum and he's portrayed by Benoît Moret. Alexandra Ehle's regular Quentin Baillot is Divisionnaire Legoff. Also with Romane Portail (Sense8) as Anna Miller,  Christèle Tual (Barbara Bellecour), Grégoire Oestermann (Arnaud Bellecour), Lionel Erdogan (Tom Marsan), Camille Dupond (Solange Beck), Jean-Paul Bordes (Georges Daday), Nicolas Lumbreras as hippie hotel owner Bob, Saverio Maligno (De Gaulle, l'éclat et le secret) as Rateau, David Alexandre Berthier (Cassard), etc.
The much talked-about sets of the revamped Petits meurtres, an incredible fantasized vision of these years, are designed by Moundji Couture. As usual there's  an impressive number of vintage vehicles and objects. Series composer Stéphane Moucha did the music and composed a few songs for the occasion, including the catchy Let's talk about love (sung by Sébastien Demeaux). 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 and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse.
Laurent Chiomento exec produces. Sophie Révil and Denis Carot are the line producers. Cinematography by Bertrand Mouly. Edited by Céline Cloarec. Costumes by Céline Guignard. Casting by Michaël Laguens. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Filmed in Lens, Tourcoing, Lille and Croix. Directed by Nicolas Picard-Dreyfuss, La nuit qui ne finit pas caught 5 692 000 viewers (24.6%) on January 29.
(1) With Commissaire divisionnaire Tricard (Dominique Thomas),  pathologist Timothée Glissant (Cyril Gueï) and Agent Arlette Carmouille (Marie Berto). Natacha Lindinger (Sam) played Commissaire Laurence's love interest Dr Euphrasie Maillol in 4 episodes.