French TV

Review: Engrenages (Spiral) 2×2

The people have spoken and the decree is "let’s have episode by episode reviews of Spiral (aka Engrenages aka the French TV series that doesn’t suck".

So here we go: episode two, another multi-layered piece of subtlety and blistering indictment of the corruption at all levels of the French criminal system. Apparently.

Continue reading “Review: Engrenages (Spiral) 2×2”

French TV

Review: Engrenages (Spiral) 2×1


In the UK: Sundays, BBC4, 10pm. Available on the iPlayer

Imagine if Katie Price’s next book turned out to be Hamlet. It would be incredible, wouldn’t it? Unbelievable, in fact.

But we’re talking that level of surprise that French TV could come up with Engrenages (aka Spiral).

For the most part, French TV is dubbed American imports, films, game shows and sitcoms that make ITV’s best efforts look like Curb Your Enthusiasm. Yet, a few years ago, bewilderingly Canal+, France’s answer to HBO, came up with Spiral, a French cop show almost as good as The Wire – and every bit as gritty, socially conscious, well written, well acted and authentic, albeit with some very pretty French people indeed.

The first season was a no-holds barred look at the French justice system, and was unafraid to show judges as corrupt, cops as racist, brutal and criminal, and lawyers as amoral and willing to screw over anyone for their own advancement.

Now, a year after it aired in France, BBC4 has finally gotten around to showing the second season. Could it possibly be as good as the first season?

Miracles do happen. It is.

Here’s a trailer for season two – it’s in French mind and contains a few spoilers for the next episode.

Continue reading “Review: Engrenages (Spiral) 2×1”

French TV

Spiral (aka Engrenages) on DVD in October

I’m indebted to Scott at Love and Garbage for pointing out that Engrenages (aka Spiral aka ‘The good French TV show’) is coming out on DVD in October. Which is just marvellous.

Better news still is that the second series starts on Sunday in France, and should be coming to BBC4 later this year after a repeat of the first series; there’s also an unconfirmed rumour that series three is already being worked on. Give it a try: it’s worth it, I reckon.

  1. BBC Four’s Spiral page
  2. Canal+’s Engrenages page