Review: Balthazar, season 1

Hélène de Fougerolles and Tomer Sisley in Balthazar

Balthazar is a French language crime drama featuring a male forensic pathologist in Paris who works with a female chief inspector. Season 1 is available on Acorn TV. A second season has already aired in France.

Balthazar is lighthearted for a crime drama. Raphaël Balthazar (Tomer Sisley) is unusual. He’s arrogant and egotistical and always right about forensic information. He drives a tiny, sexy, sports car. And he’s a nut-case. Literally. He talks to the dead people in his lab. He talks to his dead wife Lise (Pauline Cheviller) who has been dead a number of years.

Tomer Sisley in Balthazar
There must be some reason Balthazar takes off his shirt in every episode.

Most of the crimes get solved before the end of the episode in season 1, but there’s an ongoing storyline about Bathazar’s wife’s murder. New clues are found in a current case that link back to her case from years ago.

Hélène de Fougerolles in Balthazar
Your ego is a joke, bub.

Chief Inspector Hélène Bach (Hélène de Fougerolles), the other lead character, is level-headed and all cop. She doesn’t have time to compliment the pathologist every time he figures something out. Her teenagers are a pain in her side, and her husband Antoine (Aliocha Itovich) is fooling around on her. She keeps it real.

Do I need to explain that Hélène Bach is my favorite character and the best reason to watch this series?

The main cast are Fatim, Eddy, Raphaël, Hélène and Jérôme. Together they can solve any crime.

Fatim (Philypa Phoenix) and Eddy (Côme Levin) are pathologists. The back and forth between Fatim and Eddy is often humorous.

Jérôme Delgado (Yanig Samot) works with Chief Inspector Bach. Delgado is more impressed with Balthazar’s genius than Hélène.

The series reminded me a lot of the American series Rosewood. Brilliant, handsome doctor with a huge ego works with gorgeous cop to solve crimes. This show doesn’t have the sexual tension between the two protagonists that Rosewood had, but it feels the same in other ways.

Hélène marriage is falling apart at the end of season 1. Season 2 of Balthazar has 10 episodes instead of merely six, so I’m not guaranteeing there won’t be sexual tension in the second season. The increased number of episodes for the second season indicates that the series was a hit in France. It’s easy to see why. It’s slick and quick with interesting cases and likeable characters.

The series creators are Clélia Constantine and Clothilde Jamin. There were no women directors in season 1.

The poster for Balthazar

Take a look at the trailer for season 1.

I plan to watch season 2 as soon as Acorn TV gets it. Will you be doing the same?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

2 thoughts on “Review: Balthazar, season 1”

  1. We binged this series a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. You’re right – it’s an “easy” watch with fairly good storylines and engaging characters. Balthazar, at times, is a bit much (I guess they don’t have “me too” in France), but overall we liked it a lot and are looking forward to Season 2!

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