Review: No Second Chance (Une chance de trop)

Alexandra Lamy in No Second Chance (Une chance de trop)

No Second Chance, Une chance de trop in the original French, is a mystery thriller based on a novel by Harlan Coben. This 6 part series from France is a tense nail-biting ride from start to finish.

A doctor stands in her kitchen fixing a bottle for her baby girl when she’s shot through the chest. She wakes up days later and finds that her husband was killed and her baby taken.

Alexandra Lamy plays Dr. Alice Lambert. Not until Alice is out of the hospital does she get a ransom demand: 1 million euros. She gets the money from her in-laws, who don’t really like her. She hands over the money but her baby isn’t returned. The police miff the chance to catch the kidnappers. Not just the first time they get close, but several times.

The two chief investigators with the police are Hippolyte Girardot as Tesslier and Charlotte Des Georges as Romano. They suspect Alice, they suspect Alice’s sister and her boyfriend, they suspect everyone but they find no one. They are both relentless, however. Despite their false starts and mistakes they keep trying. After a series of botched operations, we find out there’s an informant on the inside, but we don’t learn who it is until much later.

Alice’s friend and lawyer Louis is played by Lionel Abelanski. She relies on his help. I thought he was a bit creepy, but Alice trusted him.

Pascal Elbé in No Second Chance (Une chance de trop)
Is Richard the good guy or the bad guy?

Alice doesn’t given up her private search. Her personal investigations take her into dangerous and violent situations. After two years, she gets another ransom demand.

This time Alice goes to an old flame named Richard (Pascal Elbé) for help. His behavior is questionable and his actions equally so. Alice doesn’t find him at all suspicious, but I sure did. Tesslier and Romano weren’t fond of him either. Commissaire Pistillo (Lionnel Astier) keeps letting Richard off when Tesslier and Romano think he’s guilty of something.

Spoilers would ruin the suspense and the suspense is 3/4 of the fun in this series.The story grew more complex as the episodes rolled by. It wasn’t a single kidnapping and murder. There was all sorts of intrigue involved – a wider scope, a bigger message. I’m leaving out the names of several key characters, because I don’t want to tell you any more of the details of the story. Spoilers would ruin the suspense and the suspense is 3/4 of the fun in this series. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat. If you enjoy a good suspenseful thriller, this is a great example of the genre.

An interesting note for the American audience: Dana Delany is in this series. She shows up in the last episode. And writer Harlan Coben plays a part in front of the camera, too.

One of many things I enjoyed about No Second Chance was its contemporary setting. Modern technology and police work set the tone. The acting was excellent and the directing, entirely by François Velle, was crisp and active.

The series is currently available on Netflix in the U.S.

6 thoughts on “Review: No Second Chance (Une chance de trop)”

  1. Torben Retboll

    I often agree with your reviews. This time I do not. This French series is not good. Most of the leads are false. A lot of what happens is completely irrelevant to the main story. This French series is a waste of time. It is not well done!

    1. I’m so glad I found your review before investing any more time in this series. I watched the first one, and although the story seemed exciting, I just really wasn’t too eager to see the second one. However, after watching 10 minutes of the 2nd one is where I decided to look at the reviews. Maybe I have been spoiled by the excellent French “Spiral” series, where all the characters were so intriguiging. One thing that put me off watching anymore of No Second Chance, (Une chance de trop), was when the cops were surrounding the acquarium looking completely conspicious even though they were supposed to be surveilling as opposed to letting their presence be out in the open for the kidnappers to see, and the virtual bumper to bumper of the following of them in the van by the detective. Sorry, just couldn’t be bothered giving it any more of my time as it just seemed so sloppy and inplausable.

    2. I agree, Torben. And, no disrespect to Virginia. While the actors are generally good, and there’s lots of action, the cops seem inept, and the plotlines keep jumping in and out. WTF is going on? But, it’s great to see a series in French. I will watch the last two episodes because I want to support my local PBS stations, on which the series is airing. Let’s see if the series redeems itself. Thanks for the review!

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