Supanova Melb 2010_MDPThought I’d preview some of the shows in my TBW pile and sneak preview those whose release I’m looking forward to soon. Hopefully, you see something you like here as well. I’d also love to hear your recommendations.

 

Scott and Bailey s#4

Waiting On: Scott and Bailey season #4. The girls are both after the same promotion!

Justified s#6

Waiting On: Ralen-Cool and Silver-Tongue Crowder: I just watched Justified series #5, which was brilliant, and now I’m hanging out for series #6, which I believe will be the last. I’ll be reviewing #5 soon, but suffice to say it was riveting, and kind of sad as Ralen inevitably becomes as hardened and dysfunctional as his father.

Braquo s#3

Watching: I’m watching this right now and it’s good to see Eddie Caplan, Roxanne, and Walter again. Theo lies critically ill in hospital and his friends are out for revenge. Braquo puts the grit in gritty.

Engrenages s#5

Waiting On: I haven’t been able to find out anything about the new series other than it was filmed in 2013. It should be due to hit the shelves soon. I’m a huge Gregory Fitoussi fan, but I think I really watch this show for Caroline Proust’s character Laure Berthaud.

Line of Duty s#2

TBW: Keeley Hawes is in s2, and I’m keen to see how she plays out against Vicky McClure, the passionate and intense Internal Affairs cop.

Prisoners of War s#1

TBW: The Israeli series that Homeland is based on. I’ve really been looking forward to watching this one.

 

I wondered how I’d react to another gritty French cop show after my strong connection with Spiral (Engrenages), and to be honest the first episode of Braquo left me a little cold. There was no passionate Laure Berthaud or Pierre “Monsieur Integrity” Clement to love, just a group of very flawed, angry police working out of a grey, miserable warehouse somewhere in the bowels of Haute-de-Seine.

The IMBD blurb synopsis goes like this:

Four police officers of the SDPJ Hauts-de-Seine, Eddie Caplan, Walter Morlighem, Theo Wachevski and Roxane Delgado have their lives turned upside down when their colleague, Max, committed suicide, following a case in which he is unfairly blamed. They then cross the “yellow line”, not hesitating to circumvent the law to achieve their purposes in order to wash the honor of their friend Max.

The viewer only gets a very brief time to know Max before the suicide and he appeared (to me at least) neither likeable nor charismatic. So from the beginning I struggled to get a handle on the motivation for the vengeance that follows.

However, one thing I’ve really enjoyed about both Braquo and Engrenages is the exploration of loyalty (particularly among cops) and how it is a belief/value that one must literally die for.

Braquo has some sexy moments, and some poignant ones but it is essentially a tale of survival – keeping one step ahead of those who want the worst for you; and about being in situations where the only choices are bad ones.

Though Spiral had the same ingredients, it also mixed in the morality, humanity and relevence of the law. There was something intrinsically noble about Spiral which Braquo doesn’t have – and probably intentionally so. Braquo is as gritty as it gets on television, leaving British, Norwegian, Swedish, Canadia and America drama to pale in comparison.

I found the character of Eddie Kaplan charismatic and credible and Roxanne Delgado’s slightly surly, defiant, little girl lost persona very endearing. Wachevski was vain and insecure and up for anything, and Morlighem, the gambling addict, had a deep love for his family that rescued him from hopelessness. All interesting characters though at times infuritatingly stupid.

There are no decent people in Braquo. Everyone is selfish, conniving and untrustworthy. In such a hostile environment, our little band only have each other to rely upon. In Braquo it really is a case of all for one and one for all.

An abundance of three day growth, bags under the eyes, gravelled voices, muted colours and cigarette smoke.

Spiral (Gears) is, without question, the best thing I’ve watched on television aside from The Killing. The cultural differences between the two series are quite significant as Spiral is French and The Killing is Danish but both have brilliantly well drawn characters.

The story focuses largely on events surrounding Police Inspector Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust) and Assistant Prosecuting Judge, Pierre Clement (Gregory Fitoussi – yum!). In doing so the series relfects heavily on the French Inquistorial Justice system. It also highlights many of the social problems in Paris; drugs, immigrant assimilation and political corruption.

It is quite explicit and gruesome in parts, and very violent. While  The Killing works as a slow burn, Spiral is confrontational and (depending on your sensibilities) shocking. It doesn’t hold back on the uglier side of human nature.

We talk a lot about flawed characters in fiction, and they don’t get much more flawed than Laure, Pierre, Judge Francois Roban and Josephine Karlsson. Laure and Pierre swing between integrity and its opposite, while Francois’ passion for the law costs him everything, and the black-hearted Joesephine shows that even the most corrupt of people can sometimes come through. Truly riveting stuff! I particulary enjoyed the dynamic between Laure and her team – specifically her co-dependency with the cocoaine-snorting Lieutenant “Gilou”.

I am absolutely hanging out for series 4. Can things get any worse for the volatile, single-minded Laure and the suave, conflicted Pierre? I imagine, having seen what the brilliant writers have done already, they can! I’ll certainly be there to stumble with them, and angst over whether they will make the right decisions.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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