A Very Secret Service

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A Very Secret Service
GenreComedy, drama
Created byJean-François Halin
Written by
Directed byAlexandre Courtès
Starring
Theme music composerNicolas Godin
Country of originFrance
Original languageFrench
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Production
ProducerAlexandre Courtès
Running time21-31 minutes
Production companyMandarin TV
Release
Original networkArte
Original releaseOctober 29, 2015 (2015-10-29) –
July 19, 2018 (2018-07-19)
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]

Premise[edit]

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]

  • Hugo Becker as André Merlaux
  • Wilfred Benaïche as Colonel Maurice Mercaillon
  • Christophe Kourotchkine as Georges Préjean "Moïse"
  • Mathilde Warnier as Sophie Mercaillon
  • Karim Barras as Jacky Jacquard
  • Bruno Paviot as Roger Moulinier
  • Jean-Édouard Bodziak as Jean-René Calot
  • Marie-Julie Baup as Marie-Jo Cotin

Secondary characters[edit]

  • Joséphine de La Baume as Miss Clayborn
  • Antoine Gouy as Henri Lechiot / Hervé Gomez / Schmid
  • Philippe Resimont as Father Jean
  • Julie Farenc as Nathalie
  • Khalid Maadour as Moktar
  • Stéphanie Fatout as Irène Mercaillon
  • Axelle Simon as Marthe
  • Baptiste Sornin as Planton, reception desk employee

Development[edit]

Principal photography for the first series 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]

In a March 2019 interview with the French language outlet PureMédias, Hugo Becker expressed doubt regarding the likelihood of a third season, stating that the series had reached "the end of the arc," and adding that while "there might be material... the story is complete and I think that's fine." .[5]

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (2015)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Le Tsèt"
"The Tsèt"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 October 2015 (2015-10-28)
2"Il y a Allemand et Allemand"
"There's German and German"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 October 2015 (2015-10-28)
3"Un peu de soleil"
"A Bit of Sun"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 October 2015 (2015-10-28)
4"L'Algérie, c'est la France"
"Algeria, it's France"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 October 2015 (2015-10-28)
5"Le Prunier"
"The Plum Tree"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles5 November 2015 (2015-11-05)
6"Une Femme moderne"
"A Modern Woman"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles5 November 2015 (2015-11-05)
7"VG 42"
"VG 42"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles5 November 2015 (2015-11-05)
8"Mission Monôme"
"Mission Monôme"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles5 November 2015 (2015-11-05)
9"Plume Invisible"
"Invisible Plume"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 November 2015 (2015-11-12)
10"Le Code Taupe"
"Code Name Mole"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 November 2015 (2015-11-12)
11"Le Plan Quinquennal"
"The Five-Year Plan"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 November 2015 (2015-11-12)
12"Au Service de ma France"
"In the Service of My France"
Alexandre CourtèsJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 November 2015 (2015-11-12)

Season 2 (2018)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
13"Tétanos et Fièvre Jaune"
"Tetanus and Yellow Fever"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 June 2018 (2018-06-28)
14"Autodéterminés"
"Self-Driven"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 June 2018 (2018-06-28)
15"Quand l'eau est à 12 degrés, on doit s'attendre à ce qu'elle soit froide"
"When the Water's at 12 Degrees, Expect It to be Cold"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles28 June 2018 (2018-06-28)
16"Le singe est dans la fusée"
"The Monkey Is in the Rocket"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 July 2018 (2018-07-12)
17"Le Pouche"
"The Coup"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 July 2018 (2018-07-12)
18"Elle est pas verte, Gerboise Verte"
"The Green Gerbil Isn't So Green"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles12 July 2018 (2018-07-12)
19"Quel rapport avec l'Afrique ?"
"What's Africa Got to Do With It?"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles19 July 2018 (2018-07-19)
20"John, Jacky, Yvonne et le Général"
"John, Jacky, Yvonne and the General"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles19 July 2018 (2018-07-19)
21"Tovaritch Merlaux"
"Tovaritch Merlaux"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles19 July 2018 (2018-07-19)
22"C'est beau la Pologne"
"Poland Is a Lovely Place"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles26 July 2018 (2018-07-26)
23"Non mort de la taupe morte"
"The Non-Death of the Dead Mole"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles26 July 2018 (2018-07-26)
24"Code étendu en Algérie"
"Code Extended to Algeria"
Alexis CharrierJean-François Halin, Claire Lemaréchal & Jean-André Yerles26 July 2018 (2018-07-26)

Release[edit]

It was commissioned by Arte, where it premiered in 2015,[6] and was later distributed worldwide by Netflix on 1 July 2016.[7] The second season appeared on Netflix in August 2018.

References[edit]

  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. ^ "Hugo Becker ("Osmosis") : "Même un projet de grande ampleur peut être fait de façon artisanale"". ozap.com (in French). Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  6. ^ Middleton, Richard. "Mandarin's Secret Unpeeled in Belgium". C21. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  7. ^ 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]