Braquo - season#2's shooting has started
Let's say it straight away: Braquo is an amazing TV series. In 2009 it was really unexpected from a French TV series. Let's admit it, they did more often succeed to give me enough strength to reach the remote control and to zap, than to awake a little bit my interest. This used to drive me mad when I knew that just on the other side of the Channel, with not more budget if not less, Brits had such awesome series as State of Play, Whitechapel, and so on, and so on ... while we had ... well ... good competitors for German's Derrick ..., , ,
Especially for the cops/gangsters genre, Jean-Pierre Melville was long forgotten and it seemed that for decades Derrick was staying the muse for all French TV series producers.
But things finally changed a bit in the 2000s when French channel Canal+ decided to change that. First arrived the amazing Engrenages (Spirals) which received a well deserved success (we'll talk about it soon here). To confirm this success, Canal+ called none the less than 36 Quai des Orfèvres director, Olivier Marchal, to deliver us a jewel of darkness: Braquo.
Braquo follows cops from the SDPJ 92 (Service Départemental de Police Judiciaire des Hauts-de-Seine <~> Hauts-de-Seine's District Police Department). Les Hauts-de-Seine is a district in the suburban area of Paris. It has the particularity to host both rich areas like Neuilly, no man's lands and other areas where Police is not much welcome. This is the work field of Caplan, Morlighem, Vachewski and Roxane; all four under the orders of commandant Rossi.
Rossi suddenly falls in a sordid affair driving him to suicide and the four cops decide to start their own inquiry in order to clear their commandant's honor and bring the real guilty ones to Justice. As they need to act fast before seeing their unity re-structured, they are ready to cross the tiny line between Good and Evil, ignoring that once they cross this line they are engaging themselves in a dramatic spiral. Soon they find themselves caught between both gangsters and their own colleagues. From delusions to fear and their growing culpability, they have less and less possible initiatives as the chain of events they are trapped in brings them deeper and deeper...
As you could expect it from Olivier Marchal, Braquo is indeed a very dark and desperate series. Olivier Marchal had first written down this story for a new movie but he figured out he had got far too much material to keep it in a 2 hours movie. He has done right choosing the TV series format and there is not one single blank in the eight 52 min. episodes of the first season. When you get caught, you get caught and I'm glad I've not discovered this series on TV but on DVD for this ^^
You get caught by the story, by the usual perfect directing of Marchal and by the incredible cast. I'm not usually a huge fan of Jean-Hugues Anglade. I think he has found in this series his best role ever as Caplan. The rest of the cast is really good as well but Jean-Hugues Anglade really explodes in this character flirting with depression while assuming anyway the leadership of his group and adding his team mates doubts and fears to his owns in order to keep the group as confident and combative as it can be...
Due to his busy schedule, Olivier Marchal has had to get himself out of the team for Braquo's season #2. Hopefully his successor at the writing is not the first comer but Abdel Raouf Dafri, the writer behind to successes of French detective cinema: Mesrine and the master-piece A Prophet which collected many awards, including the 2010 César for best writing (French Academy Awards).
For once France has a great TV series but has habit are hard to lose, I haven't been able to found you a correct and English subtitled trailer. I really hope the series will be exported soon and urge you to watch it. From the story you might have made an immediate link to very famous (and also amazing) The Shield. The theme is similar for sure but the scale different and Braquo is not just a French The Shield even if I have seen some articles going this way.
A great 5/6 from me. Look for it and watch it !!
Season #2 broadcast will start in France during Autumn 2011.