‘Spiral’: Series 3 DVD review

Posted Filed under

European police procedurals are very much in vogue at the moment following the surprise success of Denmark’s The Killing, but where that show benefited from a focus on a single case and the effect it had on the disparate lives of those involved, this Paris-set series suffers somewhat from a surfeit of characters and plot lines (despite the fact Spiral predates The Killing by several years it is inevitable that it will be viewed through this prism).

However, with its intersecting strands that focus on the work of both the police and the judiciary, perhaps a more apt comparison might be Law & Order crossed with The Shield with added European realism.

This third series finds Captain Berthaud, a suitably earthy performance from Caroline Proust, and her murder squad investigating a serial killer of prostitutes dubbed the Butcher of Villette that expands to encompass an eastern European human trafficking ring, whilst Judge Roban pursues a lone battle against corruption within a Parisian mayoralty office against the advice of his superiors and lawyer Clement (all are recurring characters) sets up his own firm only to discover to his dismay that money rather than morals rules private practice.

The performances are universally impressive, the writing is solid and manages to stay on the right side of clichéd and the cinematography captures a side to Paris unseen in postcards, but often the tension that mounts during the murder investigation segments dissipates during the rather tedious sections involving the lawyers.

The sprawling nature of the show is possibly contrived in an effort to mimic The Wire, but it falls short because where that show had the heft of a literary novel, Spiral has a sensationalist streak more akin to pulp fiction. Nevertheless it is engaging and slickly made entertainment if ultimately inessential fare.

Released on DVD on Monday 1st August 2011 by 2entertain.

> Buy the DVD boxset on Amazon.