One of the heavyweights of European crime drama, Spiral (Engrenages), returned for its sixth series premiere on Monday night in its native France. The hope is that we’ll be able to see it here in the UK on BBC Four before the year is out, but in the meantime, there was much excitement on the other side of the Channel, as our French friends tucked into the first episode. Let’s get some reaction…
Things are hotting up in the world of superior French crime drama, Spiral (Engrenages). We know that series six is just around the corner, and wrapped filming earlier in the year. Although it looks set to premiere in France in September, there’s still no word as to when it might appear on British screens. In the meantime, the wheels of publicity are starting to turn. Not only was the first episode screened at the recent MIP TV event in Cannes, a new trailer has been released. Read on for more!
Thanks to Spiral and Witnesses (and a whole bunch of stuff on Walter Presents), France is now up there as one of the key and most prolific producers of tight, grimy, edgy urban procedurals. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that the country’s output now rivals Scandinavia and the Nordic countries in terms of quality of output. If there’s one series that helped to kick off this interest in French crime drama it’s Spiral, and the good news is that the sixth series is on its way.
As this series comes to its climax, there are critical questions to be answered both in the double-murder case, and in the tangled relationships of the cops, the lawyers and the politicians. Although we’re most concerned with Laure Berthaud and her pregnancy, there are opportunities for disaster around every corner.
Last week’s episode of Spiral really left us on a knife-edge. This series we’ve been much more invested in the emotional stories of the characters, and that investment usually means that something bad is about to happen to them, and so it proved. We clung to the hope that lovely Pierre Clément (Gregory Fitoussi) might survive the shooting caused by Stéphane Jaulin’s escape attempt, but no; he died on the operating table, and we, like Berthaud and Karlsson, will have to cope with our grief.
Although this series of Spiral hasn’t attempted to tackle Big Issues such as immigration or terrorism (although they’re always on the fringes), it has still full of twists and shocks, and has ramped up the personal pressure on the protagonists to an almost painful degree. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now – episode six, in particular, was an extraordinary rollercoaster ride, elevating Spiral right up into dramasphere. It was one of those game-changing weeks that will send crime drama fans into meltdown.
Watching Spiral is like being at an intimate dinner party where the starters and main course have been so sublime that you beg off the dessert, telling your host that you have had an elegant sufficiency – then he brings in a sumptuous-looking pavlova that you just can’t resist. The first of last week’s episodes started out with a sad but seemingly pedestrian open-and-shut case of family murder of Sandrine and Lucie Jaulin, a mother and young daughter who have been beaten to death and tossed in a canal, probably by husband and father Stéphane Jaulin, because of a custody row. Small beer for a squad that is used to dealing with terrorists, drug cartels and international people trafficking. Going into episode two, a possible case of police corruption landed on their desks. Two officers in a car pursuit accuse hapless civilian Kevin Leseuer of running down and killing their colleague – but is Leseuer being set up as the fall guy for bent cops? Photos taken of the damaged vehicles seem to support Leseuer’s story – but his car has been sent to the crusher. Two plotlines? So far so CSI.