charging police captain Léa Hippolyte is not inclined to talk to the department’s
resident psychologist, but she might be one of the few colleagues she can
trust. Dr. Victor Carlier is a different story.
Hippolyte opens distrusts the ex-con, but she cannot ignore the
suspicious circumstances surrounding his daughter’s murder. It is a case Hippolyte will indirectly pursue
throughout the French television series Antigone 34 (trailer
releases today on DVD from MHz networks.
Hélène de Soyère has just cleared Hippolyte to return to work following the
suicide of her former partner. It was an
inexplicable tragedy her rival, the reptilian Perez, uses to undermine her standing
among their colleagues. Teaming up with
the youthful Ravel, Hippolyte is called to the city’s medical college, where an
attractive student has been killed in a hazing incident. During the course of the official
investigation, it is determined Mademoiselle Carlier was actually an
inadvertent victim of a drug-related misadventure. However, her recently released father turns
up evidence of a wider conspiracy, involving the very same people who framed
him for his wife’s murder. Hippolyte is
receptive to his claims, up to a point.
the subsequent five episodes, Hippolyte works cases that are not directly
related to the Carlier murders, but precipitate developments in the series-driving
investigation. Antigone 34 (sort of Montepellier’s equivalent of One Police Plaza)
favors procedural grit over cleverly constructed mystery puzzles, but it is a
well written show, deftly teasing out character development and revelations in
the wider plot through the course of each episode’s casework.
three cast members featured in the opening credits are all quite strong, but
Anne Le Nen is truly the star. A real
life, fully certified Krav Maga instructor, she brings genuine street cred to her
action scenes. Frankly, Antigone does
not capitalize on her chops enough. In
the future, they ought to allow her to choreograph a few extended hand-to-hand
sequences. Regardless, her mature but
sultry presence further distinguishes Antigone’s
straight dramatic moments.
the tightly wound Carlier, Bruno Todeschini (recognizable to some as Audrey
Tatou’s inappropriate boss in Delicacy)
broods quite nicely. Of the primary trio,
Claire Borotra probably gets the least to do episode-by-episode, but at least
her de Soyère is convincingly smart and sensitive. However, it is Bruno López who makes the
strongest impression, following Le Nen.
If ever anyone just looked like a corrupt cop, it would be him. As Perez, he serves as an effectively slimy
foil to Hippolyte.
Although the DVD box says it is the “complete
series,” mystery viewers will hope there is more Antigone 34 to come. Episode
six delivers some satisfaction for those who have invested in the Carlier case,
but it is clear there is plenty of work left for Hippolyte. It is a stylish series that capitalizes on
the picturesque Montepellier locations, which are hardly over-exposed for
American audiences. An entertaining showcase for the city and Le Nen, Antigone 34 is enthusiastically
recommended for cop show fans when it releases today on DVD from MHz Networks,
the international crime drama specialists.
Labels: Anne Le Nen, DVD, French Television