Compulsive Entertainment

This is my review of Spiral – Series 2 [DVD].

The second series of this fast-moving, dramatic Parisian police thriller with its complex "cogs spinning cogs" plot seems to me to be superior to the first, since the main plotline is more substantial, there are fewer distracting "side stories" and the end is more conclusive and less of a "damp squib".

This is very well acted, down to the smallest gesture or passing expression. The actors all seem to have distinctive faces to match them to their parts: the dedicated but often impulsive and reckless Capitaine Laure Berthaud, the suave Vice-Procurator Pierre Clement, the wily Judge Roban, the beautiful lawyer Josephine, who sells her soul for money to the corrupt senior advocate Szabo, and so on. The characters are very well-developed and convincing in their complex behaviour – the criminals often have redeeming features, while those trying to track them down are prey to ambition, hypocrisy, greed, bias or lack of self control – in short, human nature warts and all.

Although the storyline, based on drug dealing in the tight-knit Arab community, is often sordid and I hope the police methods of investigation are exaggerated, every episode is always compulsive watching throughout. The details of the French legal system are a bit hard to follow, but you can grasp the general idea. You also get a good insight into life in some of the immigrant communities in Paris.

I watched a version with French sub-titles which is good practice for an English speaker but hard going. I have certainly learned a good deal of slang I can never use on holiday in France! Since then I have watched a 2 DVD version with English subtitles – also good. but you have to read fast!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars

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