Fresh from the success of No Second Chance on Channel 4 and All 4, Walter Presents is set to launch yet another French crime show this autumn. Cain will arrive to stream on All 4 at 9pm on Friday 6 September and stars Bruno Debrandt (previously seen in Spiral) as a disabled detective who wheels his way through tough investigations with wit, charm and a bit of rule-breaking.
Set in sunny Marseilles, Cain has a touch of Magnum PI about it. Captain Fred Cain might be in a wheelchair, but he can disassemble it in a flash, putting it in the back of his old, yellow Saab convertible as he dashes between crime scene, police HQ and suspects’ homes.
The first case to drop on Walter Presents is Culprits (Coupables), which was actually the first episode of season three in France. It begins with a masked man sneaking into the morgue with a dead body and leaving it there. The man turns out to be a witness from the unsolved murder of a hitchhiker 15 years earlier. The detective on that case was a man called Allard (Pascal Légitimus), who still regrets not catching the killer.
Meanwhile, a very creepy-looking man in a Range Rover is cruising the highways around Marseilles, picking up young hitchhikers. In addition to the bizarre case of the morgue murder, Cain has his hands full with his partner, Lucie, played by Julie Delarme – are they about to embark on an affair? Then there’s his son, Ben (Davy Sanna), who has a new girlfriend from a rich background. This troubles Cain, who is on lowly French cop wages.
A fast-paced procedural, Cain is dialogue-driven, packing complex cases into hour-long episodes. Unlike more drawn out and atmospheric productions, clues and plot developments come fast and thick, which suits Cain’s unorthodox style. There are certainly loose ends and things that happen just like that, but its formula and characters have proven very popular in France, where it has run for seven seasons dating back to 2012.
The backstory – not that you need it – is that Cain received his spinal injury in the line of duty. This adds to his cynical demeanour, but he’s being drawn out of his shell by Delarme, who he has agreed to train up in exchange for being allowed to carry on working in the field. The first series to run on Walter Presents will last for eight 60-minute episodes.