The fourth season of Spiral (aka Engregages) – a remarkable French television cop and legal drama set in Paris – is as superbly plot-heavy and character-sized as the previous three. The writing, direction, videography, acting, costumes, etc. are of the highest quality, always drawing us in to its intricate machinations and its captivating characters.
Season Four consists of twelve episodes, wherein we observe Police Captain Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust), Defense Attorney Pierre Clément (Grégory Fitoussi), corrupt lawyer Joséphine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot), Judge Francois Roban (Philippe Duclos) and brutal cops Fromentin (Fred Bianconi) and Gilou (Thierry Godard) take on both establishment and criminal (sometimes the same) elements in order to save careers, public safety, and sanity.
Co-creators Alexandra Clert and Guy-Patrick Sanderichin have created a fairly original concept of viewing crime from the point-of-view of the criminal, the lawyers – pro and con – and the judges. It keeps us jumping from one viewpoint to another, from the fears and frustrations of everyone involved, educating us in the process.
The season begins with Detective Berthaud (before she ascends to Police Captain) investigating an accidental bombing death of a member of a left-wing group which offers financial and legal support for illegal immigrants. She and her team subvert the law when they feel it’s necessary, while defense lawyer Karlsson takes on the immigrants’ case, not knowing how dangerous it will become. When former public prosecutor Clément goes after an organized crime boss, it puts his life in danger. Meanwhile Judge Roban is due to be disbarred by his superiors unless he gets help from the team to clear his name from false accusations.
These stories are told in a gritty, hyper-realistic way (not unlike Braquo, another MHz Release), with some powerful acting which enhances the writing and directing. All the elements come together, making us want to see Season 5 and 6. But this will have to hold us until later this year.
The Spiral/Engregages TV series, Seasons 1-4, is available for purchase on DVD format through MHz Releasing.
Review by Dale Reynolds.