“SPIRAL” (2005-2021) (Amazon Prime)
Thumping at the pinnacle of my “Must Watch” list is this gritty, compulsively addictive, detective series; a Paris, rarely seen by tourists: dirty dens of iniquity, gory, egregiously stunning scenarios, no topic is sacrosanct, unbiased demographically, whether victim or perpetrator your proclivities are splayed, vivisected, informed by reality; justice meted in tandem with the crime. Brilliantly written and performed, primarily by Caroline Proust, “Captain Laure Berthaud” and the overwhelmingly versatile Thierry Godard as “Lieutenant Gilles (Gilou) Escoffier”; their partnership is enthralling, electrifying, exuding the innate, adroitness of their characterizations, they command, as well as their flaws, admiration, respect and awe.
“A FRENCH VILLAGE” (2009-2017) (Amazon Prime)
Mesmerizing. Difficult to conjure a more accurate account of a town occupied by the Nazis, commencing in 1940-1942; Vichy France collaborated with the Germans and stranger “bedfellows” are difficult to imagine; from gruff detective in “Spiral” Thierry Godard is suave, duplicitous, mill owner “Mr. Raymond Schwartz”, clean shaven, impeccably attired, he finesses the French populace and German occupiers with Svengali panache. One of the finest series in French television history, magnificently cast, blazingly directed, hypnotic, unnerving twists demand one’s unmitigated attention throughout its seven compelling seasons.
“The Chalet” (2018) (Netflix)
A fun fact. I have watched these series simultaneously and the morphing of Thierry Godard (other actors seep into multiple roles in this trinity series) has been a remarkable source of appreciation and entertainment; now, disguised as “the missing link”, “Alexandre Grossange” a top-notch mathematician, excluding humanity and living isolated, in a powerless, wooded cabin; always constant, unchangeable, is the piercing, penetrating hue of his eyes. “The Chalet” holds a group of childhood friends captive, while flashbacks create a tapestry of intrigue, murder, revenge. Six episodes keeps one on tenterhooks from commencement to its ultimate finale.
FOUR & ½ STARS!!!!