The Dark Side of the City of Light (Series Review: “Spiral”)

A breathtaking and original scripted TV crime drama which shows a very different Paris from the one in the guidebooks. You’ll be glued to your screens.


SnapShot Plot

If you’re expecting a slick drama filled with sophisticated criminals, sexy investigators and high-fashion Parisian glamour, you’re in for a shock. Spiral (Engrenages…translates to ‘cogs‘) is a 3-season, original scripted TV crime drama which shows a very different Paris from the one in the guidebooks.  The series unveils the gritty world of drug dealers, hookers and serial killers and the very human, often dangerously flawed police, lawyers and judges who walk a shaky moral tightrope both professionally and personally.  As if their jobs weren’t thankless enough, a complex web of corruption within law enforcement and the courts hovers over the action of the plot like a darkening storm cloud building on the horizon.  Did I mention I LOVED this series?

The action follows a small team of detectives over the course of a few years, led by tough female captain, Laure Berthaud (played by Caroline Proust in a role seemingly tailor-made for this actress’s fiery swagger) as well as the dashingly handsome and somewhat naïve new prosecutor Pierre Clement (played by Gregory Fitoussi with the restraint warranted by the role).  Rounding out the cast is the ethically challenged defense attorney, Josephine Karlsson (played by Audrey Fleurot, who steals most of the scenes she’s in) and the quirky (to put it mildly) judge, Francois Roban (played intriguingly by Philippe Duclos…… I wonder if you’ll be as instantly drawn to as well as repelled by the judge as I was?)



Parting Shot

This series took me about one full episode to get into and after that it was like the crack cocaine I’m sure is in every batch of Girl Scout Cookies…..I was a Spiral junkie.  Although I do remember laughing out loud (inappropriately) during that first episode every time somebody referred to the poor young girl whose naked, mutilated body was discovered in a bad section of Paris.  Whether it was the male coroner, male prosecutor, or one of the male detectives, it was always something like, “Wow, she must have been a real beauty…”  Seriously?  I think there’d be an angry letter-writing campaign if anyone on the Law & Order or the CSI franchises would be that politically incorrect…or shall I say honest?  I’m sure conversations like that go on all the time in police investigations; we’re just too prudish to acknowledge it.  On Spiral, I just chock it up to being French!

I have heard through the grapevine that Netflix may be buying a 4th season of this captivating, thoughtful, and fantastically acted series. I’ll be first on line adding it to my Instant Queue when that happens!

Norma’s Streaming Picks is proud to announce squatters rights on a fantastic site for Baby Boomers, Midcentury/Modern as well as right here at home. I invite you to go there for more great content!

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