Archive for November 11, 2009


Posted: November 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

The French TV series Spiral 2 has finished and my life is a little emptier.

Why was this series so impressive?

Firstly like The Wire it seemed almost at times like a documentary rather than crime fiction. That effect was achieved by excellent camera work, fantastic casting, superb acting and a total disregard for the sort of political correctness that blights much of British TV.

A good plot, wonderful characters and a distinctive French atmosphere made this a viewing treat, and the attractive female leads helped as well.
The main plot-line of the series concerned police capitaine Laure Berthaud [Caroline Proust], and her team’s efforts to bring the brutal drug dealing Larbi gang to justice. The Larbi’s front man Mister Aziz [Redah Kateb] has incinerated a drug dealer, who held out on them, at the start of the series and he held the people of his ‘banlieue’ in an iron grip of fear with his casual violence.

The gangsters Mustafa Larbi [Mehdi Nebbou] and Farouk Larbi [Samir Guesmi] were full of cold menace and one feared for the safety of undercover cop Samy [Samir Boitard] who has infiltrated their organization.
It was fairly obvious that once Laure had cast her predatory eye on the boyish Samy he would supplant prosecutor Pierre Clement [Gregory Fitoussi] as her lover. It is France after all.
Laure, Gilou [Thierry Godard] and Fromentin [Fred Bianconi] make credible detectives although their interrogation methods would not pass a police complaints commission investigation in the UK. French police apparently work under slightly different rules.

The series brought home the desperate plight of those living in the banlieues tormented by criminals of North African origin and let down by the inefficient and corrupt French judicial system.
Prosecutor Pierre Clement is struggling against the political machinations of his brilliantly creepy boss le Procureur Machard [Dominique Daquier]. While the lawyers Maitre Szabo [Daniel Duval] and the Jezebel-like Josephine Karlsson [Audrey Fleurot] pursue money and more money without worrying about annoying impediments such as ethics.

The clash between the two women, Laure Berthaud and Josephine Karlsson is the major sub plot in the series and it makes compelling viewing, which is probably why I will miss this series so much in the weeks to come.

Spiral Trois, s’il vous plait.


Posted: November 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

‘Yet during those last months, staring on 18 July with the Second-the unknown-Battle of the Marne, and continuing through the Battle of Amiens, 8 August, Germany’s ‘black day’, and 29 September, the breaking of the Hindenburg Line, right to the very end, great feats of arms were performed and great victories won as deserving of commemoration as Austerlitz or Waterloo.’

‘Successive British governments bear a heavy load of responsibility for what followed the armistice. They gave their name to a peace dictated to a beaten enemy on the assumption of victory, but allowed the victory which was the sanction of that peace to be forgotten, and the sinews that should have upheld that victory to wither away.

In short, by disparaging the soldiers capacity to win a war, the politicians made certain that they would lose the peace.’

Extracts from To Win A War, 1918 The Year of Victory: John Terraine March 1978