A Very Secret Service

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A Very Secret Service
GenreComedy, drama
Created byJean-François Halin
Written by
Directed byAlexandre Courtès
Theme music composerNicolas Godin
Country of originFrance
Original language(s)French
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Alexandre Courtès
Running time21-31 minutes
Production company(s)Mandarin TV
Original networkArte
Original releaseOctober 29, 2015 (2015-10-29)
External links
Au service de la France

A Very Secret Service (French: Au service de la France) is a French comedy-drama series created by Jean-François Halin and produced by Gilles de Verdière.[1]


In 1960, young André Merlaux eagerly accepts a cryptic summons to take a position as a trainee officer with the French Secret Services (based on the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage). He will be watched over by the operations director Moïse, and reluctantly mentored by senior colleagues Moulinier (in charge of African affairs), Jacquard (Algeria), and Calot (Eastern Bloc). It is the height of the Cold War and the position of France as a Great Power is in crisis, faced with independence challenges from the colonies of French West Africa, above all the fight over the independence of Algeria. French society is changing at home as well, with a rising counterculture exemplified by growing feminism and New Wave cinema.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Secondary characters[edit]


Principal photography took place between October 2014 and February 2015 in Île-de-France and Morocco.[2]

The series recalls OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies in style and tone, although it is slightly more serious (writer Halin was also credited for the screenplay of both OSS 117 films, and one of the three Les Guignols authors).[3] The show uses historical events as background or foreground for its action, similar to Mad Men (such as the Algerian war of independence and the first French nuclear test, Gerboise Bleue).

Arte's president of fiction, Olivier Wotling, confirmed a second season to Le Figaro's TV Magazine on July 3, 2016.[4]


It was commissioned by Arte, where it premiered in 2015,[5] and was later distributed worldwide by Netflix on 1 July 2016.[6] The second season appeared on Netflix in August 2018.


  1. ^ "MIPCOM Hot Pick: A Very Secret Service". TBI Vision. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  2. ^ "" Au service de la France ", une série d'espionnage en tournage pour Arte" [A Very Secret Service, a spy series being filmed for Arte]. Arte. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Au service de la France dézingue les années de Gaulle" [A Very Secret Service takes apart the de Gaulle years]. Telerama. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Au service de la France: une saison 2 sur les rails". Le Figaro télé. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  5. ^ Middleton, Richard. "Mandarin's Secret Unpeeled in Belgium". C21. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  6. ^ Lawson, Richard; Busis, Hillary. "What's New on Netflix in June—and What to Watch Before It Disappears". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2 July 2016.

External links[edit]