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Spiral/ Engrenages (TV)

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  Spiral/ Engrenages (TV) Review
Tookey's Rating
10.00 /10
Average Rating
8.00 /10
Caroline Proust , Audrey Fleurot , Philippe Duclos
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Directed by: Jean-Marc Brondolo, Manuel Boursinhac, Frederic Jardin, Philippe Triboit, Frederic Mermoud, Pascal Chaumeil, Gilles Bannier, Virginie Sauveur, Frederic Balekdjian, Philippe Venault, Nicolas Guicheteau
Written by: Anne Landois,Thierry Depambour, Eric de Barahir, Virginie Brac, Simon Jablonka, Frank Henry, Alexandra Clert, Guy-Patrick Sainderichin, Kristel Mudry, Sebastien Vitoux, Laurent Vivier, Laurence Diaz, Laurent Burtin, Martin Garonne, Mathieu Missoffe, Cristina Arellano, Paul Berthier, Alysa Sun, Didier Le Pecheur, Lionel Olenga, Philippe Triboit, Clara Bourreau, Anne Viau, Olivier Fox. Created by Alexandra Clert and Guy-Patrick Sainderichin

Released: 2005
Origin: France
Length: 0

PRO Reviews

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Spiral is less like The Killing than Law & Order — filtered with Parisian cynicism and sophistication. It’s one of the best crime dramas around at the moment, and it would be a shame not to give it a try.
(Alessandra Stanley, NewYork Times, on the fourth series)
Very explicitly French, most tellingly in the character of police Capt. Laure Berthaud, played very much as someone almost desperate emotionally, by the enigmatic Caroline Proust. It's sometimes hard to imagine, even in France, that she could be commanding her own investigative unit, but somehow it works, partly because one of her two sidekicks, Gilou, is hopeless himself, addicted to drugs and hookers... As the series winds to a close it does become melodramatic, with a few twists designed specifically to keep it from being resolved fully, which presumably helps set up series two. Series one was riveting; it's hard to tell whether this qualifies as hard-boiled TV in French terms, but the mix of an almost Chabrolian vision of both societal and personal corruption, with the French version of romantic soap (as unabashed as any American ensemble cop show), a sensationalist attitude to violence and a very dark world of crime high and low is totally compelling television. I'll be watching the second series with great interest, and writing about once I've got a handle on it. For the time being, you can catch up with the first series on DVD, and it's highly recommended.
(Michael Carlson, Irresistible Targets, on the first series)
It's tempting to give foreign dramas more credit than they deserve, since the language barrier can disguise clunky dialogue; but Spiral's first run was gripping, and this series – the third episode is tonight – shows every sign of being equally so.
(Tim Walker, Independent, on the second series)
Spiral really starts to grip when it starts exploring how the echelons of power and contrasting personalities within them interact. Down at the courthouse, flame-haired human rights lawyer Josephine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot) seems to be flying the flag for the repressed and downtrodden, so it’s a jolt to see her accepting a generous cash bung from a Croatian wife-beater she has successfully defended (“it’s traditional to beat a woman!” he protests). Then she energetically defends the bile-spitting thug Kevin, arrested after attacking Inspector Berthaud, portraying him as a “simple soul” traumatised by outrageous police brutality. He helpfully signposts his non-existent injuries by wearing a neck brace. Berthaud is disgusted by Karlsson’s blatant career-mongering, and you start to get a sense of why the policeperson’s lot must often feel like pushing a grand piano up the Eiger. That’s barely the half of it. When the police raid the luxurious apartment where Adrien lives with his parents, and find his stash of drugs hidden in the fireplace, it looks like a straightforward case until his father’s lawyer, M. Vidal, starts pressurising prosecutor Pierre Clement (Gregory Fitoussi) to drop all charges. Clement demurs, until Vidal silkily invites him to dinner with a cabinet minister to explain his position. Acutely conscious that career ladders can lead down as well as up, Clement is promptly on the blower trying to get Adrien out of jail. All of which adds up to a dispiriting reminder that “justice” isn’t a product of unambiguous facts inscribed in black and white, but more likely a teeming swamp of bribes, prejudices, lies, ambition and political expediency. A treacherous spiral indeed.
(Adam Sweeting, Artsdesk, on series 2)

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