How will you let you know’re watching a French tv detective? There are moments when it’s apparent, as when Commisaire Magellan, hero of the long-running “Magellan,” uncovers a clandestine affair and tells his sergeant: “Eventually, a bit intercourse. About time.” I don’t assume we’ve heard that on “NCIS” currently.
Going by three French or partly French crime dramas now airing in america, although, the similarities outweigh the variations. Within the worldwide TV market, a cop present is a cop present (or a spy present is a spy present), and English-speaking viewers trying out “The Bureau,” “Magellan” or “The Tunnel” will shortly really feel at residence.
One observe: Whereas a plethora of international sequence of every type can be found for bingeing, these exhibits, even those on streaming companies, are being launched weekly — every is 2 to 4 episodes into its season, an ideal time to pattern.
SundanceNow, new episodes on Thursdays. Substitute for “Homeland.”
A essential and rankings hit in France, “Le Bureau des Légendes” — the unique title refers back to the elaborate faux identities created for undercover brokers — is ready within the French equal of the C.I.A., and far of the motion takes place within the Center East.
The parallels to “Homeland” prolong to the troubled psyche of the principle character, an agent with the code identify Malotru (performed by Mathieu Kassovitz of “Amélie”). His issues are precipitated not by mind chemistry however by the six years he spent in deep cowl in Syria. In Season 3, the results of his time there are nonetheless enjoying out. He’s been captured by the Islamic State, and he spends a good bit of the primary two episodes in a picket field.
“The Bureau” is clearly shot on a smaller finances than “Homeland” — despite the fact that it makes use of Moroccan areas, the Center Japanese scenes can have a bargain-basement look. Nevertheless it has the immediacy, tight pacing and sufficiently plausible plot issues a present of its sort requires; it might not ship the motion (and performing) highs of “Homeland,” however second to second it may be extra psychologically and politically credible.
With Malotru in a field, Season 3 offers extra space to different characters, particularly ladies: the handler Marie-Jeanne (Florence Loiret-Caille), the spy Marina (Sara Giraudeau), the Syrian scholar Nadia (Zineb Triki). 4 or 5 separate plot traces have developed within the early episodes, related to makes an attempt to free Malotru however deftly tied in to bigger questions on bureau politics and the way forward for Syria.
MHz Alternative, new episodes on Tuesdays. Substitute for “Midsomer Murders.”
“Magellan” is new to the streaming service MHz Alternative, nevertheless it’s been round: Its six seasons ran in France from 2009 to 2016. The polar reverse of “The Bureau,” it’s a cozy-mystery cop present set in a bucolic provincial city, and its similarities to the long-running British sequence “Midsomer Murders” are legion. In case you’re not afraid to confess you’re a “Midsomer” fan, you must begin watching “Magellan” instantly.
MHz is working its manner by way of the primary season, which introduces Simon Magellan (Jacques Spiesser), a detective within the fictitious Saignac (filmed in and round Lille, in northern France), a sleepy, picturesque city with a surprisingly excessive homicide price. Magellan, a widower with two daughters, is curmudgeonly however sneaky-hip within the vein of Tom Barnaby, the unique “Midsomer” detective. Not like the married Barnaby, Magellan can date — he has an on-again, off-again liaison with a reporter — and his daughters can stand up to mischief, like putting a personals advert with out his information.
The conventions are in plain view — the pompous provincials who make Magellan’s life troublesome; the keen sergeant who’s virtually a member of the household — but when they’re to your style, you received’t discover them higher executed.
PBS, examine native listings. Substitute for “Broadchurch.”
Titled “The Tunnel: Sabotage” in its second season, this angsty sequence set on both facet of the Channel Tunnel is a British-French manufacturing, with about 25 % of the motion shot in France. PBS has proven three of the season’s eight episodes (streaming at pbs.org), and so they’ve been top-notch — tense and sophisticated however with much less of the over-the-top shock worth that characterised Season 1.
Evaluating the sequence to “Broadchurch” may appear superfluous when it’s already a remake of one other widespread drama, the Danish-Swedish present “The Bridge.” However for Individuals, the pairing of Stephen Dillane because the empathetic British detective and Clémence Poésy as his decidedly nonempathetic French counterpart will recall how important the interaction of David Tennant and Olivia Colman is to “Broadchurch.”
Mr. Dillane and Ms. Poésy are each superb, this time in a narrative involving terrorism and airplanes. With “Broadchurch” apparently completed after its present season, our urge for food for odd-couple buddy-cop humor should be glad sooner or later by the third and closing season of “The Tunnel,” scheduled for subsequent 12 months.