Dead Beautiful starring Thierry Godard

Dead Beautiful episode 1

Beauty and the beast: a serial killer is on the loose

French cop procedural with good storytelling and a chilling case

★★★½

All 4, from Friday, 4 August 

DEAD BEAUTIFUL is the latest foreign-language crime series to hit ALL 4’S Walter Presents strand. This has offered some terrific offbeat foreign dramas since its launch in January last year. From Deutschland 83 to The Swingers, the quirky best of Norway, France, Mexico, Switzerland and other countries have been sifted for some minor gems.

Dead Beautiful, a French series, is decent enough, but not particularly special. It’s a police procedural of the type Britain already produces in abundance – from Endeavour to Grantchester and on and on.

It is chock-full of the usual plot suspects – dead women, a crumpled detective, forensics, where were you on the night of the 14th?

Thierry Godard as Martin

What it has got is an intriguing opening story about a serial killer. Each episode is a separate case and if they all have as many twists and gasps as this one, the series should satisfy many crime fans. The stories are based on a successful series of books  by Alexis Lecave, who is also the screenwriter here.

Thierry Godard in Dead Beautiful

Complicated love life: Thierry Godard as detective Martin

In addition it has Thierry Godard. He is a much in-demand French star with more than 50 films on his CV. He should be familiar to BBC4 fans of Spiral, in which he played Gilou. Here he steps up from the cast to lead star as detective Martin, on the trail of a nasty killer who targets women with a crossbow.

The murderer selects his victims from lonely-hearts columns, always seeking women with light eyes and chestnut-coloured hair.

The stakes are high for Martin and his team. At times the hunt for the elusive killer feels like an adrenalin-fuelled evening at a top online casino.

Dead Beautiful’s plot twists and good characters

There are nine 100-minute episodes. This allows the makers to flesh out the characters and move beyond the procedural stuff, which in many series can get boring.

So we get an insight into Martin’s complicated love life – lovers include a colleague, a journalist, and his ex-wife, who he is still sleeping with – and his relationship with his fiery actress daughter.

Summer is the season of repeats and dud shows that can’t usually be placed anywhere else in the schedules during other times of the year. Dead Beautiful should help filled the dog days.

Comments

  1. Charles Robertson says:

    Are you kidding me? This is way better than most of the current UK crime drama. It is right up there with Wallander, Beck and the best of the Scandi Noir genre. An absolute gem. Second series please!

  2. Jane scott says:

    Could not agree more, desperate for a second series

  3. Shohreh Golfard says:

    Second series please!

  4. Maisie says:

    Yes desperately waiting for series 2!

  5. My wife and I have been watching Walter Presents since the beginning. This French series, in my opinion, beats anything British tv has to offer. It offers actors who are focused upon plying their craft rather than paving their way to celebrity and Strictly Dancing. It offers touching and believable characters and something the French are extremely good at – portraying scenes of a sexual nature without being gratuitous or sleazy. Like my fellow commentators, Dead Beautiful deserves a second series, as long as it maintains the integrity of the first.

  6. Completely agree with above. Fabulous show which should have been aired on mainstream TV. The best series of foreign-language self-concluding episodes since Wallander. Absolute class. Really hope there are more.

  7. Dave & Jenny says:

    We have just finished watching Dead Beautiful and absolutely loved it really fantastic and compelling viewing definitely need another series please and soon!

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