French police drama thrills

Photo Courtesy of Canal+

Various TV shows have been rapidly gaining popularity in France in the recent past, with one drama being particularly interesting. Braquo, a crime-thriller set in the streets of Paris, chronicles the lives of four police officers – Eddy, Walter, Théo and Roxane. The series was created in 2009 by Olivier Marchal and stars Jean-Hugues Anglade (Nikita) and Nicolas Duvauchelle (Lightweight). Comprised of 16 episodes across two seasons, the show is in French, but has been subtitled in English for viewers all around the world. To give a little taste of the theme of the show, the title, “Braquo,” is a slang word in French meaning a violent heist.

Braquo, a crime-thriller set in the streets of Paris, chronicles the lives of four police officers.”

The story begins with the suicide of Max, a fellow cop and friend of the four protagonists. Max kills himself because he has been charged with several felonies, the worst of these being the torture of a suspect during an interrogation. The first episode of the series is rather graphic, extremely serious and not for the faint of heart. Violence and sex are also predominant themes in this show, with frequent encounters between the police and criminals. Max’s friends are determined to clear his name and set the record straight, even if it means breaking the law in some instances.

On the whole, Braquo is just as French as a plate full of escargots. The atmosphere is a bit darker and gloomier than most shows, and the speech delivery is often fast, soft and filled with slang. There is almost no humor and the occasional wise-crack will barely bring a smile to the viewer’s face, given the sombre and suspense-filled mood. The writers clearly were not considering an element of hilarity during the creation of Braquo.

As for the characters, the group is led by Eddy Caplan (Anglade), the typical flawed hero who was Max’s best friend and is determined to exonerate him of all charges. His character is honest and kind-hearted but will go to great lengths to achieve his goal. He has a penchant for siding with the “dirty cops” who, like him, will do pretty much anything, even if it means stepping outside of the law. The show also stars Karole Rocher (Polisse) as Roxane, a chain-smoking, intrepid cop who does not let her gender come in the way of her profession. Théo Wachevski, played by Nicolas Duvauchelle, is the character that brings the sexual aspect to the show, along with the drugs and cigarettes. Théo is covered with tattoos and frequently sleeps around while snorting coke. His behavior can easily get him into trouble but, like his partners, his job comes first. The last of the four is Walter Morlighem, played by Joseph Malerba (Léon: the Professional). Appearances can be deceiving, because Walter portrays a thug-like gang member while on the inside he is kind-hearted and sweet, especially to his children. He frequently partners with Eddy, is an excellent shooter and an outstanding driver. However, Walter faces monetary problems and has a depressed wife whom he dearly loves.

This TV show has often been christened as France’s answer to The Wire, with the story being written by an ex-cop (Olivier Marchal) and the characters following similar developments to those in The Wire. This factor also brings realism to the show and makes the plot easily believable.

Braquo is a fast-paced crime-thriller filled with scenes of violence, sex and action.”

In a nutshell, Braquo is a fast-paced crime-thriller filled with scenes of violence, sex and action. Four cops who want to redeem their dead friend’s name set out to do so regardless of the obstacles they face and the crimes they must commit. Braquo is available on hulu.com for free viewing, and is a must-watch for thriller and suspense lovers.