REVIEW: Salamander: Blood Diamonds (S2 E5&6/10)

The first four episodes of series two of Belgian crime drama, Salamander, rendered it more as Sillymander and the whole experience has been a frustrating one – so many narrative and plot devices from series one seem to have been repeated and the pace of it – for a high-octane procedural thriller – was snail-like.

But, the first thing to say is that these two episodes (episodes five and six) were much, much better than anything we’ve seen previously. Ten or 12-episode series often have a bit of a dip in the middle before the final spurt into the last half of the series, and with that in mind, Salamander was no different. (It should be noted that, after a bit of checking up, Salamander is indeed a 10-episode series instead of the stated 12 in many listings magazines and websites.) The difference was that Salamander’s dip precipitated some good and affecting character study – the ludicrous situations, Benny Hill-like chase scenes and lazy plot devices gave way to some human stories and, actually, some well-staged twists.

Much of episode five saw Gerardi go about trying to trace the provenance of the diamond he found in Jacky Lancier’s safe. With is marital situation now up in the air, he was free to go totally rogue. Thanks to his chum René, he was put onto a diamond evaluator called Beerman, who promised to confirm one way or another the diamond had come from Kitangi, and Bombé. Through Beerman, Gerardi met Rudy, a nerdy guy who actually was the brains of the company. Beerman came back to Gerardi and told him that the diamond was NOT from Kitangi. Rudy has contacted Gerardi separately and told him that it WAS and he had been silenced. But by who? Later in episode six, Houda – who has been quite keen to help Gerardi on the quiet even though she suspended him – confirmed that the diamond was indeed glass and a fake.

If Beerman had been keen to lead Gerardi off the scene, why didn’t he just tell him the diamond was a fake in the first place?

Speaking of diamonds, we caught up with Jacky, who had fled to a grand-looking coastal town. She was in the mood to cash in her stash of diamonds, which would set her up for life. Well, if not life certainly a good 10 years or so. Unfortunately, she was duped and her diamonds were stolen, which forced her to come back to Brussels and try to bargain with anyone she could think of.

First of all, she went to the Prime Minister himself, Marc de Coutere. Now, we know that these two had had a relationship in the past and for all the world it looked as though de Coutere knew in a sex worker-client sort of way. But no (the first of tonight’s big twists) – she was his sister. Which made his refusal to help her financially slightly cruel. Jacky’s next port of call was to try Tony from Minnebach, who sent a hitwoman to kill her. Thankfully Gerardi arrived just in time and, after a bit of a tumble, dealt with the assassin.

But two things here. Throughout these two episodes, de Coutere was under increasing pressure from someone (Salamander?) to hasten Bombé’s ascension to power in Kitangi. He signed papers to pay off the ruling president, allowing Bombé to take power and to smooth the path of diamond smuggling into Belgium. He’s a curious character is de Coutere, but in these two episodes we saw his anguish at being played. “It will all become clear,” he told a complaining member of his cabinet. His sister, meanwhile, was frantic with worry as Gerardi and Monda began to put the squeeze on her. Just as she was about to tell all, in walked her lawyer… Gerardi’s best mate, René. We knew he was rotten, but his reveal was good and engendered surprise.

Elsewhere, the whole Jamie-Nicola-Nicola storyline was bubbling away. Jamie had accomplished what he set out to do and seduced Nicola and went about searching for the film in the Gerardi-Wolf household. There were some tricky moments, but something unexpected was happening here – he and Nicola were starting to form a real bond thanks to shared parental experiences and familial trauma. Patricia wasn’t overly keen on her daughter’s new relationship with an older chap, but the two were starting to become close. Genuinely close. Which meant that when the opportunity for Jamie to swipe the memory stick with the Kitangi film on it, it became a tough decision. But he did it anyway – it just remains to be seen whether he will betray her or not. (It should also be noted that Jamie was also beginning to get close to Sofie, too.)

So it was a better pair of Salamander episodes but let’s face it, it’s still as daft as you like; although it is watchable. And when Danny died, Gerardi became only more determined to smash the cabal once and for all.

Paul Hirons




2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Salamander: Blood Diamonds (S2 E5&6/10)”

  1. The question is if René is working for the Minnebachs and is so close to Patricia why do they need Jamie to locate the USB drive? Anyway it picked up a bit this week thankfully, and now the world’s most incompetent assassin is out of the way we can get back to Gerardi driving around a lot or getting out of breath after a few stairs.


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