Place Vendôme - Panorama.jpg

In Paris, firefighters are called to intervene in one of the underground parking areas of the Place Vendôme. The police remove a charred body and are quick to identify Roquin Philip, an accountant who worked in one of the luxurious jewelery stores.The investigation leads to the victim’s wife, who tells them that her husband was kidnapped. His kidnappers demanded a considerable sum of money as ransom. A trail leads St. Clair into a prison where the director maintains a very ambiguous relationship with the inmates …

I spotted this programme when flicking through the channels so bookmarked it for later. What with the writers, cast list and the location I presumed that it would be in French with English subtitles so I was looking forward to a 2 hour slot of total French immersion going from this to “The Returned” from Channel 4 immediately afterwards. I was surprised therefore when the first few moments were in English and at first assumed it was dubbed but curiously it has all been filmed in English. So here we have a French police procedural filmed in a different Parisian location each week for a different set of crimes but dialogue is entirely in English, sometimes with a thick French accent. Bizarre? Mais certainment!

On further investigation it seems that even the order of the episodes differs between countries so what is number 5 here is not guaranteed to be 5 where you are.

Jo St. Claire is of course brilliant, working things out that his colleagues would struggle with. He has the dissolute appearance of a man too busy to take care of himself and he has problems in his personal life where he tries to sort out the problems of family members so he often has the look of a rabbit caught in the headlights.

But although this series lacks French language, it is beautifully shot in and around Paris. The cuts between scenes owe more to American television than French but the lighting etc seems right. The mix of actors from around Europe is interesting and perhaps that is what it takes these days to make a new series because there will be a weel-kent face for every nation in each episode. Each episode only lasts 45 minutes and the rest of the hour is given over to frequent ad breaks “sponsored by Joop” etc

It has enough pluses to be interesting so for a while at least, I think I might stay with this one. Fox Sundays 9.00 p.m.




Jo Place Vendôme