Series Review

Review | Falco – Season 1

The first season of French detective series Falco, recently aired on the Dutch NPO2. From the beginning I was a fan and was interested in seeing how things would develop. I was therefore very happy when I received the dvd box as a review copy of Undercover-Network!

The day before his daughter’s first birthday, police detective Alexandre Falco gets a call from his partner Jean-Paul Ménard. Ménard has information about a criminal settlement which is about to take place. Together they go after them, but then disaster strikes. Falco is badly injured and he ends up in a coma.  22 years later, Falco awakens from his coma and he have missed a lot. From the winning Football world championship in 1998 to the entire youth of his daughter Pauline. Moreover, his wife is with someone else and therefore Falco falls back to the only thing he knows: his work. In addition to solving several murder cases, he’s trying to figure out what has happened all those years ago.falco sagamore stéveninThe French series Falco is relatively new in the field of crime and drama. Both aspects are present, and there’s a lot of drama in the  protagonist’s life. It’s obvious that Alexandre Falco is the main character in the series of the same name and is played by Sagamore Stévenin. The always smoking Falco – with his genius shirts and a amazing motor – has missed a lot of his life while in his coma, but seems somewhat okay with it. When he’s being asked how he feels, he always responds with a laugh and says ‘super’. In the beginning we see Falco having some difficulties with the new techniques, but after a few episodes we also see how much it hurts him that he is not with his family, because of his coma. Stévenin shows very well the contrast between the man who seems to be just fine at first glance seems, and the man who has to deal with a lot of pain. Falco’s opponent and new partner is Romain Chevalier, played by Clément Manuel. Chevalier is a young detective who obviously has witnessed all technological developments and likes to work by the book. Falco, however, does things in his own way, which makes the co-operation between the two simultaneously exciting and funny.

Falco’s old partner Jean Paul Ménard is also still in the picture. Ménard (Arno Chevrier) is now commissioner and since Falco has returned to the living, he has taken him several times in protection. Ménard doesn’t add much to the story besides this friendship, untill the somewhat unexpected plot twist. The woman in the team is Eva, played by Alexia Barlier. Eva is more enamored of Falco and his way of working, but she is a bit of a flat character and does not add much to the story. She’s just doing her things. Falco’s biggest counterpart is the pathologist Philippe Chéron (Frank Monsigny), since he has what Falco wants. Besides the police team Falco’s mysterious therapist plays an important role. Mysterious in the sense that it looks like she has her own agenda and it is unclear whose side she is on. Finally, Falco’s wife Carole and daughter Pauline play a major role in the private lives of the detective. Mathilde Lebrequier plays the role of Carole very well and credible. Torn between the love for men it’s absolutely palpable she struggles with her feelings, her memories and the sadness which it entails.

Like a true police show is supposed to be, in each episode a murder is solved in beautiful Paris. However, halfway through the season inspector Falco is more busy with his personal investigation and less involved in the murder cases. The mystery surrounding the attack on Falco is actually the most interesting part of the series: what happened that night, why and who is behind it? Because of Falco’s coma, he has missed a lot and a lot has happened in his private life. Not only Falco has troubles with that fact, also his wife Carole is visibly lost and doesn’t know how to handle the current situation. Falco can fool anyone by saying he’s doing fine, but we as viewers can see very well his pain and the effect a 22-year-coma has on his life. These two issues are a recurring theme throughout the season. The murder cases that are resolved each episode, are anything but the most important or most intriguing part of the series. But they’re well staged.falcoThe collaboration between Falco and his much younger partner Romain Chevalier are good for some nice moments, especially the scenes that shows how Falco is behind technologically. Both men are in many ways quite different, but somehow they match. We’ll see how this charismatic collaboration develops in the next season. The rivalry between Falco and Chéron – the pathologist – is evident and gives both characters extra dimension. The characters are therefore less flat than you would expect in a police series. Besides the two younger detectives, Eva and Romain Chevalier, each one has his own drama which provides additional depth. Moreover, it is very likely that the second season will delve deeper into the mystery surrounding the attack on Alexandre Falco.

The first season of the French crime series Falco, is the start of detective Alexandre Falco’s person quest. His past en personal pain run like a thread through the series. The murder cases are unrelated to each other and are less interesting than Falco’s private life. Almost every character has its interesting points which gives them more depth. The season ends how a good series is supposed to end: with a cliffhanger and more questions.

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