Tonight I caught the first two episodes of the French police procedural series Spiral (Engrenage in the original; literal translation ‘gears’).
My primary reason for watching Spiral was to fill the two-hour viewing gap left by The Killing, but I was also curious about the French series, having heard praise for seasons 1 and 2. It was a interesting start tonight, and could easily become compelling viewing for me, as this crime drama features yet another strong female investigator, Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust). As in The Killing, the first two episodes also set up a number of complex characters, plotlines and intrigues, and redefine our image of the cities in question by focusing on the gritty underbellies of Copenhagen and Paris (the Little Mermaid and Eiffel Tower are conspicuous by their absence).
I wasn’t as gripped by the opening episodes of Spiral as those of The Killing, but then again, this might be an unfair expectation, especially as I’m coming in cold to season 3, and don’t have the in-depth knowledge of the investigative team that has been built up over previous two seasons.
One aspect I really didn’t like, however, was the graphic nature of the autopsy scenes. While a key focus of the series is forensic policework, I’m not convinced it was necessary to provide so much stomach-churning visual detail. And a side-effect of covering my eyes during those scenes was that I was unable to read the subtitles, thus no doubt missing vital clues!
So a slightly mixed experience for this viewer. But I reckon I’ll be back for another two episodes next week. Those who are intending to watch the whole series (10 parts) will be interested to know that The Guardian is blogging Spiral 3 episode by episode. A splendid public service. Merci!