Tag Archives: Spiral
US streaming service inks deal with Studiocanal for Spiral
Big news for our US readers.
We’re often asked by those living in America where they can watch beloved, hit French crime drama, Spiral.
Now news has reached us that all eight series of the superior detective drama will be coming soon to an American screen near you.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that the MHZ Choice streaming service has inked a deal with French network Studiocanal to broadcast not only Spiral but also last year’s Paris Police 1900 (which came third in our crime dramas of the year).
“The big winners in this deal are the MHz Choice viewers who have a voracious appetite for high-quality, smart and entertaining French programming, the kind that we can count on from Studiocanal,” a spokesperson for the streaming service said.
READ MORE: ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF SPIRAL
READ MORE: OUR REVIEWS OF PARIS POLICE 1900
REVIEW Spiral (S8 E9&10)
With desperate gangster Cisco’s planned robbery looming, he sends his psycho son Titi to tie up some loose ends – will informant Bilal and street kid Suleymane get the chop?
To be honest, we’re not too bothered about these low-lives, we’re obviously much more concerned about whether disgraced cop Gilou will be able to redeem himself, or whether he’ll get caught in the crossfire. And will advocate Joséphine, suffering late-onset pangs of conscience, be able to do anything to help Suleymane and his brother Youssuf, or will she just make matters worse? (it wouldn’t be the first time).
As we approach the end of what is supposedly the last of Spiral, there’s everything to play for. But this season (like the last one) has been disappointingly unengaging – it’s more than just familiarity, the rough edges of the show have been rubbed off to such an extent that it’s now almost relaxing to watch.
So can we expect fireworks in this final double bill?
First, there’s the little matter of Gilou’s bar brawl to sort out. Beckriche and Brémont both want him off the hook so he can pursue Cisco, but Judge Bourdieu is having none of it. Can Beckriche, her secret lover, get around her? You know what they say about the French and their silver tongues.
Bourdieu offers a tough deal – she’ll let Gilou out if Laure’s team is taken off the Cisco case. And the sentencing judge, eager enough to take advantage of Bourdieu’s apparent youth and inexperience, is happy to let Gilou out – another miracle, as Edelman puts it.
But Brémont’s judge, Vargas, wants to cut Gilou loose – he’s concerned, as we are, that Gilou has got in too deep with the gang.
Suleymane does a flit from Edelman’s custody and falls into the hands of the lurking Titi, just as Joséphine arrives with Youssuf. Poor Edelman, he can’t do anything right for Joséphine. The team want to track Suleymane’s phone, but won’t go without Laure – Beckriche folds and lets her go, which won’t please Judge Bordieau. Too late though, Suleymane is found dead – Titi’s ‘done what he had to do’.
Gilou reports to his probation officer, and Laure and Brémont are there to tell him the operation’s over – going ahead will get him 20 years, never mind get him reinstated. But Gilou is determined to see it through, just to bust Cisco and Titi. It will be perfectly safe, he tells Laure, he’ll just deliver the gang to the motel, and drive off in the getaway car while the cops bust them. What could possibly go wrong? – apart from the fact that we know the gang are armed to the teeth and have bullet-proofed their cars.
Of course things go horribly awry when the raid is advanced, and Titi is put in the bugged getaway car – how will Gilou get out of this?
So, this is what we’ve been building up to since the first series of Spiral in 2006 – can the final episode possibly justify our persistence?
Staking out the Alsatian’s hotel, Laure quickly figures out that Gilou isn’t in the getaway car, since the spaced-out Titi can’t stop using his walkie-talkie. But when she’s ordered to arrest Titi, mayhem ensues as he blasts away with an Uzi. The armed response cops move in, Cisco blazes away out of the window with an AK47, one of the robbers is killed, and another plus Titi are captured.
Laure and Ali hustle Gilou off the scene – Gilou grabs robber Barkash’s .45, the gun used to kill Cisco’s partner Darmon, and hands it over as evidence. Then he legs it, nicks a car and meets up with Cisco, who’s understandably suspicious.
The backlash from Beckriche and Brémont’s bosses after the botched operation is swift, with not much credit given for the two arrests and the evidence of the .45. But Edelman figures out a way to get Gilou off the hook, pressuring Judges Bordieau and Vargas to give up the robbery case in return for the .45.
Meanwhile Joséphine has taken it on herself to try to track down Suleymane’s killer, questioning the street kids and getting the names of Titi and Bilal – enough evidence for Judge Bourdieu to issue an arrest warrant for Bilal. Edelman finally gets his reward for years of devotion to Joséphine when she surrenders to the inevitable and snogs his face off. Bekriche, though, gets the elbow from the disillusioned Judge Bourdieu.
Using the threat of murder charges, Laure pressures Ahmed into keeping quiet about Gilou’s part in the raid, and Bilal into admitting that Titi killed the two kids. Bilal, conveniently, also knows where Cisco is hiding out – in his mother’s empty house.
All that remains, then, is to take in Cisco – but could something still go horribly wrong? Laure plans to get Gilou out before the dawn raid, but Ali figures out her plan and the team set off in pursuit. Laure is caught, but Beckriche guns down Cisco. With no-one left to testify against Gilou, he’s free to go – and Laure resigns, so against all the odds, we have happy ending.
Is that, though, somehow a disappointment? Didn’t we expect Gilou, always a conflicted character, to die tragically? Can we buy that Laure would give up being a cop to be with him? What will she do?
No, there’s a certain sense of disappointment to the ending, as there has been to this entire season. When we look back on the complexity and roller-coaster excitement of early series, this just doesn’t compare – as it went on, it became not so much a spiral, more going around in circles. Though characters like Beckriche and Brémont are morally compromised, they’re not exactly the anti-heroes we might expect.
We imagined that Spiral was going to become more complex and more political as it went on, perhaps getting involved in government conspiracies, but in fact the cases seemed to become more trivial and obvious. Clear dramatic opportunities were missed – this time around we thought the murder of Shkun was going to be a case of police brutality, but no, it was nasty old drug dealers again.
Most of all, we missed Judge Roban and TinTin from the final season – okay, actors move on, and characters get written out, but we never got a sense of closure over those two (and we’ve hardly got over the death of Pierre Clément (Gregory Fitoussi) in season five).
Just as unlikely as Laure and Gilou’s happy ending is that of Joséphine and Edelman – she’s basically a man-hater with good reason, and he’s a cynical old lecher. Not the ideal setup for a potential spin-off, though we are told there might be one in the works – maybe the further adventures of Ali in charge of the squad?
So while we’re saddened at the end of Spiral, we must admit it had pretty well run out of steam. The French would say Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard – it wouldn’t break three legs of a duck. C’est la vie, we’d say.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES ONE AND TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES THREE AND FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES FIVE AND SIX REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES SEVEN AND EIGHT REVIEW
Series eight of Spiral is shown in the UK on BBC Four and the BBC’s iPlayer
REVIEW Spiral (S8 E7&8/10)
The plot’s bubbling along nicely now as Gilou has sussed out Cisco’s plans. But as they seem to involve a suicidal attack on a gang of drug dealers, we don’t hold out much hope for a happy ending for Gilou, caught in the crossfire between cops and robbers.
In fact, as Gilou has been recruited to find some guns, we’re pretty sure there’s going to be a firefight. (Why do the gang need him to do it, though? We understood that the criminal underworld of Paris was awash with illegal firearms).
In between getting eyed up by sexy Emma from the club, Gilou also has to make time to report to Bremont, though he leaves out the little detail about looking for guns. His plan is to rip off a collector from a gun club, who carelessly boasts of having AK47 assault rifles, Glock automatics and a Heckler & Koch MP5 machine pistol at home – all ideal for Cisco’s planned robbery.
Edelman, trying to make progress in the rape trial, pressures Lola’s mother’s boyfriend Leroy into a confession – why doesn’t the defence lawyer object at this point? Josephine would have. Either he comes to a sudden understanding of Lola’s psychology, or he’s very good at pretending he does.
Edelman tries to manage an entente between Joséphine and Lola, but Lola isn’t having any – satisfied with the result of the trial, she’s ready to move on. Why do we always want what we can’t have?, asks Joséphine. Well, was that what you really wanted, love, a relationship with an emotionally damaged jailbird? Surely even Joséphine feels she deserves better than that? – though Edelman looks like he’d settle for her.
Ali has become fatally entangled with Bilal – when he confronts him after a meeting with Titi, Bilal threatens Ali’s family. We knew he was a wrong ‘un.
Titi wants the kids to steal the guns for him – they hardly seem ideal for this purpose, other than being able to get through small windows. Gilou’s suitably horrified when they turn up to do the job. Implausibly, the guns are kept in a glass cabinet (even in France, there are regulations about keeping firearms in safes or security cabinets), and the kids almost get away with it, but the owner is disturbed and Suleyman (it had to be him, didn’t it?) is caught by the cops.
Laure, who has been watching the raid go down, picks up Gilou and forces him to explain what’s going on. Gilou’s surprisingly soft on Bremont, but Laure’s furious to realise that they have been wasting time investigating the same case from different directions. Imagine how we feel love, it’s taken you seven episodes to get to this point.
Now that the dream team both know what’s going on (though Laure hasn’t mentioned Gilou in her reports), perhaps there’s less chance of the case ending in confusion and carnage.
Hilariously, Joséphine phones Judge Bourdieu in the middle of the night, disturbing her in mid-shag with Beckriche, to get Suleymane out of jail, again. By this stage, you would have thought that everyone would have written him off as a bad job, and been quite happy to see him shipped back to Morocco.
The episode ends with Ali going on a bender and having a pile-up – now it’s him who is en la merde, and we don’t fancy his chances of getting that plum job on the drug squad.
Laure covers for Ali, while Judge Bourdain tries to get somewhere with Suleymane, presenting him with photos of the four members of Titi’s gang. Did one of them kill Amin (remember him – in the launderette? – it all seems so long ago.)
When Laure explains to the team that Gilou is undercover in Cisco’s gang, everything falls into place – Ali assumes that Titi killed Amin after having him plant the tracker on The Alsatian’s car.
Gilou and Titi, meanwhile, are staking out The Alsatian, taking a room in a motel where he regularly stays. Masquerading as police officers Lorelle and Ardi – Laurel and Hardy – tickles Titi no end, but Gilou isn’t so amused when they have to get naked to excuse their presence in the room.
Beckriche has his own comedy moment when he leaves his tie at Judge Bourdain’s pad – surely Laure notices the handover? – but Laure is of course not amused at being told to watch Cisco and arrest him at the first opportunity, as this may blow Gilou’s cover. Wouldn’t it make more sense at this stage just to share everything with Beckriche? Or shouldn’t Laure at this stage figure out that Beckriche knows all about it? Anyway, Beckriche lets the cat out of the bag later on.
Joséphine, as Edelman points out by now must fancy herself as Mother Theresa, promises to go to Spain to rescue Suleman’s stranded brother, leaving the boy with Edelman, who is not best pleased, but who is, let’s face it, Joséphine’s lapdog. We reckon it’s about a ten-hour drive from Paris to Barcelona, plenty long enough for Suleyman to get in trouble again.
Joséphine finds 10-year-old Youssuf without much trouble, sticks him in her car and loads up with illicit fags – are these a present for Edelman?
Meanwhile, the cops have been staking out Cisco’s hideout for so long that you’d have thought that their van would have got parking tickets. They set out after Titi in an attempt to complete Judge Bourdain’s plan of nicking him for something – anything – to get a DNA sample that might prove he killed Amin.
Helpfully, Titi starts a brawl in a bar and gets arrested – but Gilou gets dragged in too. Finally Beckriche has to explain to everyone that Gilou is undercover, but this won’t help if he is thrown back in jail for brawling. When Judge Bourdieu finds out he’s involved, she also realises that Beckriche hasn’t been keeping her informed – another lovers’ tiff is brewing.
Poor Laure looks like a disappointed meerkat when she has to handcuff Gilou and drag him before the judge to explain himself – but surely he’ll get off? Otherwise, next week’s thrilling climax will be something of a damp squib.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE AND TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE AND FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FIVE AND SIX REVIEW
REVIEW Spiral (S8 E5&6/10)
Things are hotting up with Laure’s murder case – she seems to have stumbled on an international drug-running gang. Will this be enough to lift this rather languorous season out of its ennui?
As Laure tries to question the drug mule Maria, who should turn up but Joséphine, looking like she’s stumbled out of a night-club. In fact she’s been intimidated into defending the mule by the gang who are holding Suleymane. At least the two women share a concern for Suleymane’s wellbeing.
Bekriche goes to see Judge Bourdieu in what looks like a skyscraper slum. In fact, this is the towering Paris Courthouse project designed by Renzo Piano, sited on the northern edge of central Paris. These new law courts are built beside the Porte de Clichy to enable the judicial institution’s courtrooms and offices to be reunited in the same building. This glass-lined monstrosity is regarded as a bit of an architectural masterpiece, so go figure.
Bourdieu gives Beckriche a right rollocking, but we still reckon she fancies him. She’s just playing hard to get. But she won’t let him try to link the drug case to the murder of Shkun, though it’s clear the same gang is involved. Then Laure finds an address hidden in Maria’s things, and it’s the hotel next to Shkun’s squat – so there clearly is a link.
Gilou gets the guided tour of Cisco’s seedy strip club (which seems to be remarkably demure, though not cheap – €840 for an hour in the private room should be enough to empty anyone’s pockets). He gets a lead on the Jankos, presumed killers of Cisco’s partner Darmon, but turns down an offer from a friendly lap-dancer.
Laure’s raid on the drug mules’ hotel turns up a lot of paraphernalia but no perps, while Joséphine’s gang contact puts the pressure on her to get Maria off the smuggling charges.
Edelman goes to Joséphine’s cellmate Lola and offers to represent her in her forthcoming trial – surely only to curry favour with Joséphine. Joséphine does get Maria off with a light sentence, for which she’s rewarded by having Suleymane returned to her – but Laure trails her contact by putting an illicit tracker on her scooter.
Then, to no-one’s surprise, Beckriche and Bourdieu go out for a little drinkie, and end up snogging each other’s faces off. This must be in breach of half a dozen regulations, but all Beckriche is thinking is ‘This sort of thing wouldn’t have happened with Judge Roban’.
Realising that the Jankos probably didn’t kill Darmon and aren’t welcome at the club, Gilou puts the frighteners on them and scares them off. But we feel they’ll be back. Cisco’s real pals appear to be a gang of security van bandits.
Laure and Ali track down ’The Alsatian’ who they presume to be the boss of the drug gang,. When they go to put a tracker on his car, it turns out The Alsatian (because he’s from Alsace, see, not because he owns a big dog), or Fernando Sabayo, is already being bugged – we know that this is because Cisco is taking an interest in him.
Bremont and Beckriche have a barney over jurisdiction – this is bound to put Gilou in danger, and it already looks like psycho henchman Titi plans to bump him off – and Beckriche and Bourdieu’s budding romance is put to the test when she tears a strip off him for losing the case to the drugs squad.
Laure and Ali visit CAT (Cellule d’Assistance Technique, the police department responsible for technical support) and find out that the mystery tracker is not a police model. Did it come from Bilal’s shop? Why does it have the dead boy Amin’s fingerprints on it? Do the four phone numbers connected with it suggest four suspects in Amin’s death? At least, to Beckriche’s relief, this gives them something to go on.
Joséphine tears a social worker to bits trying to get help for surly Suleymane, whose story seems to genuinely move her, but when he ends up in an under-funded hostel she gets put in her place – though whether she would have voted to pay less tax, we don’t know. She does certainly have a bit of a conscience. All Suleymane is concerned about is getting hold of enough cash to smuggle his little brother into the country.
Meanwhile, Edelman works on Lola’s rape case, without much success as neither Lola or her mother are very cooperative in court, leaving him dans la merde, as he elegantly puts it. Joséphine lectures him on the psychology and ethics of rape cases, but there’s no telling if the old roué is taking any of it in.
Titi takes Gilou for a ride, telling him they’re going to steal a car – is he setting Gilou up for a fall? Anyway, Gilou plays along, makes off with an Audi and they have a little race. This is not going to look good on Gilou’s record, though it may help Bremont when Gilou takes the car it to have it bugged.
Laure and the team stake out a supermarket in search of the user of one of the phones connected with the mystery tracker, and who should they spot but Cisco, who they follow to a meeting with the security van robbers and Gilou. Cisco’s henchmen are manufacturing caltrops – tyre bursters – he’s planning to rip off The Alsatian. Safer to rob drug dealers than security vans, he explains, as they won’t go to the police. No, but they will track you down and shoot you in the back of the head.
Laure sneaks around, and conveniently spots the gang barbecuing in the garden – but imagine how shocked she is to see Gilou. More to the point, what’s she going to tell the rest of the team?
Gilou’s now in so deep that we can’t see how Bremont is going to get him out, never mind restoring his badge – surely this can only end one way? We’re imagining a massive failure of police communication ending in a big shoot-out – could this be how it all ends? At last we’re beginning to feel the tension mounting in this all too languid season.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE AND TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE AND FOUR REVIEW
Could Spiral be getting a spin-off series this year?
Spiral is almost half-way through its final series on BBC Four.
The revered French crime drama is due to end at the end of the run, bringing a close to one of the most popular and influential foreign-language series ever to come to UK screens.
But news reaches us that this might be the end for Spiral.
Gérald-Brice Viret of the show’s French home broadcaster, Canal+, told the Culture Médias programme that something was in the pipeline.
Asked if there would be a ninth series of the show, he said: “Maybe, maybe. We are working on a sequel with the teams of Arielle Saracco [Head Of Original Programmes at Canal + ] and Fabrice de La Patellière [Head Of Drama]. “
The eighth series of Spiral (Engrenages in French) aired in France in September, so the question is this: if there is to be a new series of Spiral when will it air and who will be in it?
It’s unclear whether the current cast are featured in this mooted series.
Watch this space…
READ MORE: ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF SPIRAL
REVIEW Spiral (S8 E3&4/10)
With Gilou still in the chokey, and Laure’s murder case going nowhere fast, this season hasn’t got off to a stellar start – can the Parisian po-po pull something out of their hats for this final season of Spiral?
When last seen, Gilou was cosying up to killer Cisco, when he should have been thinking more about getting his own ass out of jail. Laure had lost her best suspect in the killing of immigrant Shkun, though with Joséphine as his brief, she hadn’t stood much chance of securing a conviction. But who has spirited away the suspect Suleyman in a white van, or as the French say, une camionnette blanche?
The seedy white van man seems to be organising gangs of kids around Barbès (a neighbourhood north of the Gare du Nord, a stone’s throw from Montmartre, which has a pretty bad reputation and has resisted gentrification). Ali returns to work a bit shamefaced and helps to track down the gang boss, soon identifying him as the manager of a phone shop who is fencing phones stolen by the kids.
Bremont tries to persuade juicy judge Bourdieu to let Gilou out of prison so he can continue to pursue Cisco. Implausibly, she agrees – no doubt this will end in tears, even if Gilou is functioning as an informant rather than as a cop. We can’t help thinking that this might be curtains for our favourite flic.
Joséphine, at home with Lola, has a bit of a Ghost moment where kneading pastry almost turns into kneading something else – are the two going to get it together? They’re not sharing a bed so far. Possibly that will depend on the outcome of Lola’s trial. News of Suleyman’s flight makes Joséphine come over all maternal.
Bekriche is being worked over by his superiors, worried that immigrant crime in Barbès is getting out of hand. He’s bounced into closing down the phone shop, disrupting the cops’ plans to snare Bilal and causing more tension in the team. A search of the shop does turn up some useful evidence including Laure’s stolen phone, so Bilal looks guilty of something – they’re just not sure what.
Cisco gets out after having Gilou’s fey cellmate beaten up, and offers Gilou a job when he’s back on the streets – as planned. He must be a very dense gangster not to realise that Gilou is out to get him.
Gilou is let out of the weird circular prison, and greeted by Edelman, who’s not convinced that his own efforts are responsible – as he says, it’s nice how the cops help each other out. He’s one to talk, knowing the dodgy dealings he’s been involved in. Suleyman is under the flyovers hitting up drug dealers for Rivotril (a drug prescribed for epilepsy which is abused as a euphoric), and eventually a concerned bystander phones Joséphine for help. This too, is bound to end in tears – we can’t really see Joséphine as anyone’s guardian angel. But she gets Suleyman into a hostel, and he asks Joséphine to retrieve a bag from the launderette where Shkun was found dead.
Joséphine and Laure go to search for the bag, and what do you know, it’s not full of washing powder, but cocaine – so where has it come from, and how were the Moroccan street kids involved in moving it? Surely no self-respecting drug dealer would trust them with such a massive wodge of gak?
Out of jail, Gilou arranges with Bremont to continue his surveillance of Cisco at his club, Whisper. Bremont reckons that Cisco had his partner killed by thugs the Jankovics, using a 11.43mm weapon – what we would call a .45. (Apparently France is awash with illegal guns left over from the Balkan wars, and apart from Kalashnikov assault rifles, Colt .45s are among the most common). Of course Gilou plans to break his probation rules by seeing Laure, but first he has to get in with Cisco.
Judge Bourdieu’s attention has been grabbed by the discovery of the cocaine, and she meets the team to plan their next move, though as usual someone mistakes her for a secretary and she has to explain her position. How did she get to be an investigating judge, we wonder? (The use and powers of juges d’instruction is generally in decline – in 2010 in France they were involved in only 4% of criminal cases. Their caseloads tend to be high, so they get involved in only the most serious cases. They are appointed by the President for a three-year term, presumably on the basis of years of experience as criminal lawyers. Bourdieu doesn’t give the impression to anyone of having this experience, whereas maybe Joséphine Karlsson would.) Laure’s search for chemists supplying cutting agents for the coke leads to a shifty pharmacist. According to Suleyman, Shkun stole the coke from some dealers, but who and how? We feel this is going to lead back to Cisco.
Suleyman does a runner, again – can’t anyone keep this kid in handcuffs? – and goes to Bilal for cash, but is picked up by the dealers. At least Bilal lets Ali know what’s happened – but Ali is torn between his loyalty to Laure and a job offer from Chief of Police Lenoir.
Gilou is being tailed by one of Cisco’s less able men, the deranged Titi, so he blows off his planned meeting with Laure – of course he can’t explain to her why. Titi treats Gilou to a snort of coke and an amenable whore in a seedy bar – the things he does for duty! At least he ends up getting job as a bouncer from Cisco.
Elsewhere, Lola leaves Joséphine when she fails to turn up to meet her mother, an essential witness in Lola’s trial. Joséphine tries to French kiss Lola into submission, but she’s having none of it. At least we know we weren’t imagining that erotic attraction. Joséphine turns to Edelman for help, but he’s finally had enough of her wheedling and gives her the bum’s rush. Good for you, Edelman, it’s about time you put up some resistance to Joséphine’s manipulation.
Laure’s lead from the pharmacist pays off and she spots Suleyman’s kidnapper, and tails him to the airport where he appears to be meeting drug mules. Typically, the cops lose everyone except one of the mules. Implausible, despite the fact that she’s full of drug capsules, Laure and Ali are allowed to take the mule, Maria, to hospital – inevitably, she ODs in the car on the way. It’s another signature Laure cock-up, and Beckriche will be furious. Who should turn up to comfort Laure but Gilou, full of remorse, but obviously hiding something – will Laure upset the applecart by investigating Gilou’s arrangement with Bremont?
In a less welcome night-time visit, the drug dealers call on Joséphine, intimidating her into defending their drug mule if she want to see Suleyman alive – what choice does she have?
The weakness of this series of Spiral so far (art from the absence of Judge Roban) has been the way Laure and Gilou are kept apart; unless he’s reinstated, which looks increasingly unlikely, we’re not going to get the work dynamic that drove previous seasons. We can’t whip up much interest in Shkun, Suleyman or the drug mules, and we’re pretty sure that Shkun’s killer is going to turn out to be a Barbès local, either a cop or a shopkeeper, so there doesn’t seem to be much of a conspiracy involved.
We had hoped that Spiral would go out with a bang, perhaps with some really twisty-turny tale of political corruption, but so far it seems that’s not the case. Unless there’s a major twist soon, we’re looking at what the French would call un chat dans un sac.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES ONE AND TWO REVIEW
Spiral is currently showing on BBC Four in the UK
REVIEW Spiral (S8 E1&2/10)
The Parisian cops of Spiral are back for what we are told is their final outing – can this season top the gritty drama of previous sagas, or will it be a case of ça continue trop longtemps?
If you haven’t been following Spiral – and if not, why not? – here’s a quick run-down. A bit like Law & Order, it regards the justice process from the point of view of both the cops and the legal system; there the resemblance just about ends.
In this ultra-realistic drama, everyone from the cops to the judges is just a little bit corrupt, a little bit incompetent or a little bit crazy. Everyone is as much fighting against the system as for it, and it’s a coin-toss whether the guilty will be punished or the innocent protected. Telling little sub-plots are woven into the action, and you can never tell which investigation will lead to a big case, and which will fizzle out.
The main protagonists are constantly exhausted cop Laure (Caroline Proust), her sidekick and on-off lover Gilou (Thierry Godard), former colleague and now corruption investigator Tintin (Fred Bianconi), honourable judge Roban (Philippe Duclos) who is being forced into retirement, and conflicted lawyer Josephine (Audrey Fleurot), who flips between showing some regard for her clients, and acting with complete self-interest.
In the least season, a rather dull affair, Laure investigated the killing of her former boss Herville, struggled with caring for her child by colleague Bremont, and ended up intimidating a witness and relieving him of some dirty money, for which Gilou took the fall.
As season eight starts, while Gilou is investigated Laure’s team has been sidelined, with nothing much to do except catch up on paperwork. When they’re handed the case of a child found dead in a launderette it at least offers a break from the ennui, though initially the cause of death looks like a straightforward overdose.
The trail leads to a community of undocumented Moroccan immigrants – Laure’s new sidekick Ali (Tewfik Jellab) is invaluable here, though he shows signs of wanting to escape from the division.
Gilou is being represented by Josephine’s louche former colleague, Edelman (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), who fails to persuade him to implicate Laure; unfortunately for Gilou, this means that he doesn’t get bail. This suits Bremont, who wants Gilou to investigate a jailed gang leader, Cisco – but of course he doesn’t share this with Laure.
Laure’s bereft without Gilou, but can’t do anything to risk her improving relationship with Bremont and her daughter Romy. With her superiors looking to break up her division, even a result with the overdose case seems unlikely to do her any good.
Laure goes to see Josephine, who is now shacked up with her former cellmate Lola (Isabel Aimé González-Sola). Josephine announces that she can’t help with Gilou’s case as she is now specialising in rape cases like Lola’s (and let’s not forget that Josephine was raped too).
However, wearing the highest heels in her wardrobe, Josephine does confront the suitably intimidated Edelman to find out why he’s had no success getting Gilou out. If anyone can win over Lucie Bourdieu (Clara Bonnet), the judge in the case, who looks to be about 24, it will be Josephine.
A pathology report confirms that Laure’s overdose case was in fact a murder, as the victim Shkun seems to have been beaten. A visit to the 18th Arrondissement suggest that the cops there are finding it impossible to deal with the level of immigrant crime, and Laure goes look-ing for another young vagabond, Souleymane.
Gilou turns over some stones in an attempt to root out Cisco, while Laure and Ali track down Suleyman, who is apparently trying to dispose of the murder weapon, an iron bar.
So, a solid if not very twisty-turny opening episode, which sets up several interesting questions; will Josephine be able to help Gilou to beat the rap? Will Laure’s case turn out to involve institutional police brutality? Will Gilou ever get to finish Émile Zola’s novel Nana, the story of a woman who destroys every man who loves her – and does this remind him of Laure?
In episode two, Gilou suffers the inevitable consequences of interfering with Cisco’s business by getting a sound beating from a henchman, but at least he’s made contact, if rather uncomfortably. His fey cellmate tries to comfort him, but Gilou’s having none of it, and prompts another encounter to steal Cisco’s illicit mobile phone.
Laure attempts to question the young Suleyman, and Josephine, prompted by some flickering spark of humanity, offers to represent him. Ali, sensibly, points out that she’ll be a nightmare, and indeed she comes up with a dishonest scheme to fool Judge Bourdieu into letting Suleyman out of custody.
Laure’s boss Bekriche attends a council meeting where the situation with the Moroccan refugees is outlined – like Shkun, they seem to be coming into France via Spain and Sweden. He’s warned that the politics of the case will do him no good.
Laure has an exquisitely awkward visit to the youthful-looking Judge Bourdieu, trying to hang on to the Shkun case while giving away nothing about Gilou. But it all goes pear-shaped, with Bourdieu transferring the case to juvenile squad, remanding surly Suleymane to youth detention, and putting Laure fully in the picture about Gilou’s prospects of serving jail time. But Bekriche successfully confronts Bourdieu and argues the case for his squad getting the case back. Say what you like about Bekriche, he does stick up for his team, even I though he may be most worried about his own career.
Ali, though, falls out with Laure over the Gilou situation, asks again to be moved from the squad, and goes on leave, just I time to miss the CCTV evidence that proves Suleyman could not have killed Shkun. Suleyman, of course, shakes off his social worker and does a runner.
Meanwhile Gilou manages to retrieve the situation with Cisco and share a steak with him (no, that’s not a prison euphemism). But Gilou has passed on a number from Cisco’s phone to Brémont. Now, will Gilou be tempted to implicate Laure so he can win over Judge Bourdieu, get out of jail and continue to investigate Cisco?
So far, while we’re obviously concerned for Gilou and Laure, we can’t whip up much interest in the Shkun case – presumably it will lead to some Fagin-like figure exploiting the young immigrants, but there doesn’t seem to be much more to it. And are we to be entirely denied Tintin and Roban, two of our favourite characters? Frankly, Ali and Bourdieu are no substitute. The concoction as it is lacks a bit of je ne sais quoi.
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Spiral: BBC Four confirms transmission date for season eight
BBC Four has confirmed the transmission date for the eighth and final series of French crime drama, Spiral.
Yesterday, we brought you news that BBC’s iPlayer were showing all seven series of the show, which usually means that the new series is just around the corner.
And now we know.
Here’s a French-language trailer to get you in the mood.
What do we know about Spiral series eight so far?
Incarcerated pending trial, Gilou sees the chance to redeem himself when Brémont asks him to get closer to crimelord and to infiltrate his gang of robbers.
Elsewhere, Laure and Ali are investigating the death of a young Moroccan migrant, whose body was found in a laundry in Barbès.
Joséphine forms an intense relationship with Souleymane, a teen suspected of the murder she is defending. As for Commissioner Beckriche, he will have a lot to do with Lucie Bourdieu, a young judge who tracks down the slightest deviation from the procedure. Things will get complicated when Laure and Gilou’s affairs turn out to be linked, and to complete their investigations, they will again make an alliance and take all the risks.
Spiral (Series 8): Saturday 2nd January, 9pm, BBC Four
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Spiral: BBC iPlayer showing all seven series ahead of season eight
We’ve already teased that 2021 could be a monster year for crime drama (just think of all the shows who had to postpone production because of COVID this year).
One of the most anticipated in the eighth and final series of French crime drama, Spiral.
The serie started in its native France eaerlier this year, and we’re expecting it to start in the UK in the early months of 2021.
Thanks to one of our eagle-eyed readers, it’s been brought to our attention that all seven previous series of Sprial are now available to view on the BBC’s iPlayer in the UK.
Whenever entire back catalogues of series are placed on VOD, it means only one thing – that the new series is fairly imminent.
We’ll obviously bring you news of any transmission dates when they are confirmed.
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