|Spiralling out of control? Herville, Tintin and Laure. Pics: BBC|
BBC4: starts Saturday, 10 January, 9pm
Story: Following the death of Sami, Captain Laure Berthaud is trying to cope as best she can. But with her personal life a mess, she receives some unexpected news and is then plunged into the investigation of a shocking double murder.
THANK GOODNESS for BBC4’s Saturday night crime slot. It has transformed viewing habits in the UK, creating a passion for subtitled, high-quality Euro-crimers such as The Killing, The Bridge, Inspector Montalbano and the French contingent including Braquo and the even better Spiral.
Which returns tonight. The police drama is a cut above the norm with its superb interweaving of stories involving the detective squad under Captain Laure Berhaud – caught between the criminals and her own backstabbing bosses – and the machinations of the legal eagles, particularly the cynical Joséphine Karlsson.
It is a tough drama, full of hard-bitten cops and the realpolitik of the justice system. Series four even ventured into the realm of home-grown terrorism in France, a subject that became horrifically real this week.
Captain Berthaud’s hard-bitten boys
Back in the fictional world, Captain Berthaud is wilting a bit under all the pressure. She may be a female role model as she holds her crew of hard-nut cops together, but she’s no paragon. She makes mistakes, shoots suspects and slaps people around. Somehow, she usually just about gets a result.
|Crime scene – Gilou and Laure|
Not so in her personal relationships. As series five begins, she is in a bar picking up a stranger for some car sex. However, things don’t go as planned and Berthaud makes a shocking discovery about herself.
Her lieutenant Gilou tells her in his usual blunt way that she’s acting like a zombie. That’s when she’s not screaming at their colleague Tintin for having a plaque made commemorating their much missed colleague Sami, who died in series four.