Review: Spiral (Engrenages), season 1

Philippe Duclos, Grégory Fitoussi, Caroline Proust, and Audrey Fleurot in Spiral (Engrenages)

Spiral (Engrenages) is a long-running (8 seasons!) French drama that explores the criminal justice system from numerous points of view. This review will talk about season 1 only.

Spiral (Engrenages) has two women at the center of the action.

Caroline Proust in Spiral

Laure (Caroline Proust) is a police captain. She’s a good investigator with the habit of taking men home for a one-night-only try out. Afterward she doesn’t want to talk about it. Does she keep this up for 8 seasons? I can’t wait to find out.

Audrey Fleurot in Spiral

Joséphine (Audrey Fleurot) is a lawyer. In season 1 she’s getting started as a criminal defense attorney. By the end of the season it looks like she might be giving in to her dark impulses rather than being one of the good guys. I’ll have to watch more seasons to be sure.

Thierry Godard in Spiral

Gilou (Thierry Godard) is a cop. In season 1 he develops a serious cocaine problem, but since Godard stars in all 8 seasons of the series, I’m assuming he gets a handle on it at some point.

Other important characters include Juge Roban (Philippe Duclos) and the prosecutor Pierre (Grégory Fitoussi). Pierre is smack in the center of the action in season 1. His best friend and his soon-to-be ex wife are both among the suspected criminals.

As my friend at Second-Half Travels points out, this series begins with a horrific scene of a mutilated woman. We have to put up with several images of this throughout season 1, but it does get slightly less gory as it goes along. The series was created by Alexandra Clert and Guy-Patrick Sainderichin. All but one of the directors in 8 seasons are men. There are some women writers among the many writers involved.

I think the gory mistreatment of women was more acceptable in 2005 when this series began. More women behind the camera would have helped. The same applies to the fact that the only kind of backstory they could come up with for the main character was her penchant for one-night stands.

Overall, however, the series is definitely a well-done mystery series. It’s interesting to see the story of a crime from more than just the cop’s point of view. All the actors are top notch. The twists and turns of the story are well done and keep you interested. This series hasn’t kept going for such a long time by being bad. It’s the perfect binge.

Spiral (Engrenages) is currently streaming on Hulu.

Poster for Spiral

Here’s an old and rather blurry trailer for season 1.

Have you watched any or all of this series? I plan to watch more – will I love it?

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!

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