We’ve got good news for lovers of the French crime drama Spiral, with the announcement that season seven is coming to BBC Four this autumn. It’s going to start with a bang, with a whole selection of favourite characters – Gilou, Berthaud, Joséphine, Roban and even Tintin – making a return, sometimes in surprising circumstances.
The 12-episode series will begin broadcasting double-bills on BBC Four on Saturday 12 October in the 9pm slot.
If you’re new to Spiral, please try to bear with us because every season so far has been filled with seat-of-the-pants plot twists, sudden murders and instant reversals of fortune. Once described as the French version of The Wire, it’s not quite as gritty but it does draw together elements of police procedural and legal drama to excellent effect with classy production values. Let’s start off with that bang…
When police commissioner Herville and a second victim are shot dead in a Chinese restaurant, detective Gilles ‘Gilou’ Escoffier (Thierry Godard) and his new partner Ali Amrani, played by Tewfik Jallab, begin an investigation. Ali is fresh out of the academy while Gilou is an old dog who treads close to the line, often crossing it, whenever he’s on a major case.
Meanwhile, Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust), the woman detective who has been the main character throughout Spiral’s seven seasons, begins this outing on the fringes. Frédéric ‘Tintin’ Fromentin (Fred Bianconi), the third detective in the main trio, is nowhere to be seen following the personal problems he experienced during season six.
Something major must be going on if a police commissioner has been murdered, and when Berthaud eventually starts working with Gilou and Ali the trail takes them in the direction of a major drugs and money-laundering operation linked to one of Herville’s snitches as well as important figures in high finance and the law. It seems, once again, that the team will be working against some of their own superiors.
The legal drama aspect of Spiral takes centre stages as prosecutor François Roban (Philippe Duclos), another series favourite, is given the Herville case. It is he, in part, who directs Gilou and Berthaud in their investigation, authorising armed raids and so forth. Meanwhile, the flame-haired solicitor Joséphine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot) has found herself imprisoned awaiting trial for attempted murder, following events in season six. Offered a lifeline by her former mentor, the senior lawyer Edelman, she might just find freedom once again. If so… what will she do with it?
Made by Canal+, Spiral has always packed action with intrigue, but is probably best loved for its cast of characters and excellent acting. While the realism of the procedural format is stretched pretty thin, the show has plot lines that simply force you to keep watching. And, as heavy as the violence and endangerment get, there are usually deft touches of French humour and humanity to even things out.
Now aired in 20 countries around the world, it can be watched on Netflix in the US, Canada and Ireland. Spiral’s original title, in French, is Engrenages. An eighth series is in the making