Spiral (TV series)
|Created by||Alexandra Clert
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||52 minutes|
|Original run||13 December 2005– Present|
Spiral (French: Engrenages, pronounced: [ɑ̃ɡʁəˈnaʒ]) is a French television police and legal drama series set in Paris. The show follows the lives and work of Paris police officers and the lawyers and judges who work at the Palais de Justice. It was created by the TV production company Son et Lumière.
The first eight-episodes series started on Canal+ in France on 13 December 2005. The series was first shown in the UK on BBC Four during the summer of 2006. It was the channel's first French-language drama series, attracting a modest but loyal audience (around 200,000) and firm critical approval. On 13 September 2009, BBC Four started showing the second series – another eight-part series, partly funded by the BBC – was broadcast from 12 May 2008.  The third series was shown from 2 April 2011, and the fourth series from 9 February 2013 – both consisting of twelve episodes.
Spiral has been a great export success, with sales to broadcasters in some 70 countries, among them Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In Australia, the first series was broadcast in 2008 on SBS One, the second series on SBS Two from September 2009 and the third series on SBS Two from mid-2012.
Spiral debuted in North America via Netflix in September 2012 (from October 2013, all four seasons were available, but due to a licensing issue as of 1 September 2014 only Season 4 is available); in November 2012, the small public-broadcasting network MHz Worldview began transmitting the series in the US. The first three seasons are currently available on hulu.com.
The first series was released on DVD in France on 26 August 2006 and in the UK on 6 October 2008.
Title and Production staff
- Original title: Engrenages (This word carries various meanings in French. Literally these days "gears" or "gearing", it is also used in various idioms, and the official translation of the title picks up the phrase "a spiral of violence" (engrenage de violence), though it also carries overtones of "getting caught up in the works" (mettre un doigt dans l'engrenage), "getting some grit in the works" (un grain de sable dans l'engrenage) and even "the cycle of drug abuse" (l'engrenage de la drogue), or "gearing" in the sense of "intensification").
- Series created by Alexandra Clert and Guy-Patrick Sainderichin
- Written by Guy-Patrick Sainderichin (series 1), Virginie Brac (series 2), Anne Landois (series 3 and 4), Eric de Barahir (series 2 to 4)
- Directed by Philippe Triboit (1x01 to 1x04, 2x07 and 2x08), Pascal Chaumeil (1x05 to 1x08), Gilles Bannier (2x01 to 2x04), Philippe Venault (2x05 and 2x06), Manuel Boursinhac (3x01 to 3x06) et Jean-Marc Brondolo (3x07 to 3x12)
- Produced by Alain Clert and Charline de Lépine.
- A Son et Lumière production in association with Canal+, Jimmy and CinéCinéma
- Distributor: 2001 Audiovisuel (France)
The series describes the day-to-day work and life of six employees of the judicial system: a police captain and her two lieutenants, a judge, a prosecutor and a lawyer.
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||8||December 13, 2005||January 3, 2006|
|2||8||May 12, 2008||June 2, 2008|
|3||12||May 3, 2010||June 7, 2010|
|4||12||September 3, 2012||October 8, 2012|
|5||12||November 10, 2014||December 15, 2014|
Series 1 (2005–06)
The badly beaten body of a young Romanian woman is discovered on a Parisian rubbish dump. Her identity and past life are gradually uncovered as the various parts of the French justice system investigate her death. However, it becomes apparent that her story ties to a network of corruption touching the very people charged with uncovering the truth about her. BBC Four repeated the series in April and May 2009.
Series 2 (2008)
A burned corpse is found in the boot of a car, a seemingly isolated case of urban violence. However, the case grows in complexity and danger, each new piece of evidence unearths a duplicitous world of international trafficking, informers, double lives and arms dealing. An audacious plan to strike at the heart of the crime network means that the slightest slip will result in certain death. BBC Four showed the series in November and December 2009.
Series 3 (2010)
When the mutilated body of a young woman is found on a disused railway track in the North of Paris, near La Villette, Captain Laure Berthaud takes the opportunity to restore her image after her involvement in the death of Mustapha Larbi. She quickly thinks the murderer could be a serial killer, and her intuition is confirmed a few days later by the disappearance of a second young woman with the same physical appearance in the same neighbourhood. Time is running out to avoid new victims but the investigation goes badly: Berthaud and her men make mistakes, losing the confidence of their hierarchy, whilst newspaper articles on the so-called "Butcher of la Villette" increase. Moreover, the prestigious Criminal Brigade, led by Commissionner Vincent Brémont, Berthaud's former supervisor when she was a young police intern, now wants to get back the case.
In the meantime at the Palais de Justice, while investigating an ordinary case of a child attacked by a dog in the wealthy suburb of Villedieu, Judge Roban discovers that the mayor might be involved in a bribery scandal. Prosecutor Machard immediately asks Pierre Clément to use his friendship with the judge to spy on him discreetly, in order to prevent a political scandal: the mayor of Villedieu is a personal friend of the President of France. Upon Clément's refusal, Machard is determined to get rid of this uncooperative subordinate. Meanwhile Joséphine Karlsson and Szabo are eventually caught out by their shady transactions. Subtitled "The Butcher of La Villette", the series was aired on BBC Four in April and May 2011.
Series 4 (2012)
Police Captain Laure Berthaud and her lieutenants, Gilou and Tintin, investigate when a student is abandoned by his accomplices in a forest near Paris after being blown asunder by their homemade bomb. Lawyer Joséphine Karlsson is getting herself into dangerous waters defending undocumented immigrants; her colleague, Pierre Clément, surprisingly finds himself representing crime boss, Johnny Jorkal; while Judge Roban returns to the Palais de Justice, sidelined and on the warpath.
As the story unfolds to reveal a group of extremists intent on waging a war against the Parisian Gendarmerie and a dangerous arms trafficking operation, the police and the lawyers begin to turn on each other. Tintin is slightly grazed in the head by a bullet during a raid, is in a coma for a short period and later suffers from PTSD. Roban releases a man accused of rape because Roban believes the man was the victim of a plot to falsely accuse him; one alleged victim of the rapist commits suicide as a result of the release.
Series 4, consisting of 12 episodes, was shot between 22 August and 9 December 2011 and between January and April 2012. It was broadcast in France on Canal+ from 3 September to 8 October 2012. BBC Four screened the series, subtitled "State of Terror," in its Saturday primetime foreign language drama slot from 9 February 2013 with two hour-long episodes a week, broadcast one after the other on Saturday nights.
Series 5 (2014)
The filming of Season 5 of "Spiral" began on 2 December 2013, and lasted about eight months, producing twelve 52-minute episodes. The series was premièred on Canal+ in France on 10 November 2014, with two episodes shown each evening, though those with a subscription to the on-demand service had access to all twelve episodes at once.
UK BBC4: The series, subtitled Double Murder, began airing on BBC Four in the UK on 10 January 2015. The series kicked off with a mother and daughter found dead in a canal, with the family having links to drug trafficking, terrorism and gang crimes. The last episodes of this series, episodes 11 and 12, were broadcast on 14 February 2015.
Series 6 (2015)
- Caroline Proust: Police Captain Laure Berthaud. A skilled Paris criminal police officer who leads an investigation group from a territorial division (2nd DPJ), she is known for her energy and tenacity but also for her tough and sometimes borderline methods. Devoted to her work, she is very attached to her men and would do anything to protect them when they make a mistake. Her private life is a mess and she seems unable to build a lasting relationship.
- Grégory Fitoussi: Assistant Prosecutor Pierre Clément. A young magistrate with a promising career, he believes in his profession and in the integrity of justice. But his success and his righteousness provoke the hostility of his superior, the powerful Republic Prosecutor of Paris. He is close friends with Captain Berthaud, Judge Roban and Joséphine Karlsson.
- Philippe Duclos: Judge François Roban. An experienced investigating magistrate (juge d'instruction), solitary and hardworking, he knows all the tricks of his trade. Often reproached for his coldness and even cruelty with suspects and witnesses, he attaches a lot of importance to his independence from the executive powers. But he is aware that his job has nearly destroyed his life and the people he loved.
- Thierry Godard: Police Lieutenant Gilles "Gilou" Escoffier. Berthaud's long-time team member, they are practically family. With methods as borderline as his captain's, they often cover each other to escape disciplinary inquiries. Having difficulties enduring the toughness of his work, he has a long history of drug abuse.
- Fred Bianconi: Police Lieutenant Frédéric "Tintin" Fromentin. Responsible and reasonable, good in proceedings, he is the stable element of Berthaud's group. He generally disapproves of his colleagues' methods and therefore is often torn between straying into illegality and betraying his friends.
- Audrey Fleurot: Lawyer Joséphine Karlsson. A clever, beautiful and highly cynical young lawyer, she is extremely ambitious and always looking for cases that will earn her a maximum of fame and money. She finds it exciting to defend monsters and does not hesitate to cross or double-cross to get what she wants. However, her shady dealings and her hate for the police does get her into trouble.
- Elisabeth Macocco: Marianne, Judge Roban's court clerk (seasons 3, 4, 5)
- Dominique Daguier: Republic Prosecutor Machard (seasons 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Alban Casterman: Judge Wagner (seasons 2, 3, 4)
- Stéphan Wojtowicz: Police Commissioner Aubert, head of Captain Berthaud's division (seasons 2, 3)
- Daniel Duval: Szabo, controversial lawyer and Karlsson's associate (seasons 2, 3)
- Bruno Debrandt: Police Commissioner Vincent Brémont, director of the Criminal Brigade (seasons 3, 4, 5)
- Nicolas Briançon: Police Commissioner Herville, head of Captain Berthaud's division (seasons 4, 5)
- Series 1:
- Anne Caillon: Marianne Clément, Pierre Clément's wife then ex-wife
- Guillaume Cramoisan: Benoît Faye, businessman and Clément's childhood friend
- Nicolas Silberg: Robert Villequier, entrepreneur involved in pharmaceutical business and Marianne Clément's father
- Scali Delpeyrat: Arnaud Laborde, cabinet counsellor
- Vincent Winterhalter: Vincent Leroy, former lawyer disbarred because of rape charges
- Mirza Halilovic: Michel "le Roumain", Romanian gangster
- Mélodie Marcq: Alissa, prostitute and police informer
- Series 2:
- Mehdi Nebbou: Mustapha Larbi, drug dealer
- Samir Guesmi: Farouk Larbi, drug dealer
- Reda Kateb: Aziz, rapper
- Swann Arlaud: Steph, young police officer intern in Captain Berthaud's group
- Samir Boitard: Police Lieutenant Samy Aroune, specialized in undercover operations (he returns in series 4)
- Michel Bompoil: Robert Bréan, Principle private secretary of the Minister of Justice
- Series 3:
- Gilles Cohen: Martin Roban, brother of Judge Roban
- Nicolas Moreau: Didier Courcelles, mayor of Villedieu and friend of the President of the Republic
- Misha Arias de la Cantolla: Ronaldo Fuentes, Mexican illegal immigrant
- Anne Alvaro: Isabelle Ledoré, ex-lover of Judge Roban
- Xavier Robic: Arnaud Ledoré, magistrate in training and son of the previous
- Genti Kame: Niko, Albanian procurer
- Anca Radici: Mila, a prostitute from Niko's network
- Series 4:
- Samir Boitard: Police Captain Samy Aroune (also in series 2)
- Jérôme Huguet: Thomas Riffaut, ultra-left activist
- Judith Chelma: Sophie Mazerat, History student and Riffaut's girlfriend
- Amr Waked: Yannis , activist
- Marc Zinga: Moussa Koné, Malian illegal worker
- Jean-Quentin Chatelain: Jorkal, notorious gangster
- Florence Thomassin: Madame Jorkal, his wife
- Abdelhafïd Metalsi: Bachir Sarahoui, Egyptian smuggler and nightclub owner
- Mustapha Abourachid: Amhad Sarahoui, his brother
- Rony Kramer: Umit Cetin, Kurdish arms dealer
- Anissa Allali: Amina, police officer from Berthaud's group
- Alban Guyon: Serge, police officer from Berthaud's group
- Pascal Bongard: DCRI Commissionner Catry
- Francis Leplay: Director Lenoir, Chief of the Paris criminal police
- Olivier Pajot: Judge Garnier
- Gilbert Thiel: 1st vice-president of the Paris Tribunal (NB: Judge Thiel is an actual anti-terrorist judge who also serves as technical advisor for the show)
|Switzerland||SF1 and TSR1|
|United Kingdom||BBC Four|
|United States||Netflix; MHz Worldview|
- IMDB: "Spiral, season 1" retrieved 18 April 2011
- IMDB: "Spiral, season 2" retrieved 18 April 2011
- Holmwood, Leigh (4 April 2007). "More European drama for BBC4". London: MediaGuardian. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
- IMDB: "Spiral, season 3" Accessed 10 December 2009.
- The Guardian 1 April 2011: "Will Spiral become your new favourite Saturday night Euro cop drama?" Retrieved 18 April 2011
- Eurocrime blog 27 March 2011: "BBC4 is spoiling us (aka the return of Spiral)" Retrieved 18 April 2011
- Engrenages connaîtra 3 saisons supplémentaires sur Canal
- "Spiral, Series 5: Double Murder". BBC Four. 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- Engrenages (Spiral) - Season 5 will be filmed in 2013 | Spoilers
- Engrenages (Spiral) - Netflix acquired the show
- Reverso French dictionary, retrieved 10 April 2013
- Series 1, BBC website, undated.Retrieved: 9 February 2013.
- Series 2, BBC website, undated.Retrieved: 9 February 2013.
- Series 3: The Butcher of La Villette, BBC website, undated.Retrieved: 9 February 2013.
- BBC Four Schedule, BBC website, 9 February 2013.Retrieved: 9 February 2013.
- "Engrenages saison 5, en tournage dès le 2 décembre" ["Engrenages" Season 5, shooting from December 2nd]. Canal+ (in French). 29 November 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "Engrenages : la saison 5 disponible en intégralité dès son lancement" ["Engrenages": Season 5 available in full from launch]. programme-tv.net (in French). 21 October 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "Spiral, Series 5: Double Murder". BBC Four. 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "BBC4 Spiral episode guide". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- "Spiral: meet the stylish star of BBC4's grimy French cop drama". 10 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Engrenages – Official website
- Spiral on BBC Programmes
- Spiral at the Internet Movie Database
- Review from The Guardian