My daughter has gotten me hooked on a French TV series, Engrenages (ehn-gren-aje), which means “gears” or “cogs.” If you’re familiar with the American series Law & Order, this is similar in that it follows both the investigation of a crime and the subsequent court case. Unlike L&O, everything isn’t tied up neatly at the end of an hour. The principal story lines carry over from one show into the next, but there is also a more minor story that does wrap up in a single episode. The concept is to show the interrelationship of the various levels of the justice system and the people who work within it.
It’s not a recent series. It started in 2005, had a second season in 2008 and a third and fourth every two years thereafter. Two more seasons are apparently on the way. It’s available on Netflix in the United States and the first season is also on Hulu.com for free. Season 1 has just been released in a DVD format that is compatible with North American machines. It’s marketed under the name Spiral, but the French name is far more evocative of the interlinking of the plots and characters. It’s subtitled in English, so if you’re not familiar with the French vocab necessary to follow a criminal investigation, you’ll be fine.
Now for a warning. Some of the story lines and filming are quite graphic. If you’re squeamish, this is not the series for you. My daughter warned me about that, and she was right. But she was also right that Grégory Fitoussi, who plays the Assistant Prosecutor Pierre Clément, is quite dishy.
- Spiral (Engrenages) s4: State of Terror eps 5 & 6 (unpopcult.wordpress.com)
- Public Service Announcement 8 of 2013: Nashville, Spiral (Engrenages) (unpopcult.wordpress.com)
- Finally! Engrenages [a.k.a. Spiral] is back on BBC4 (viciousimagery.blogspot.com)