Les Limiers/ The Sleuths
TV5 Monde/ Channel number # 825 on Virgin Media TV
Wednesdays at 11:00 pm approximately and Thursdays @ 6:35pm
“Une serie policiere d’action ou’ l’enquete criminale se contruit et se resout autor d’une traque”
Roughly translated as:”A Police action series where the criminal investigation builds and is resolved around a hunt”.
Thoughts on first watching:
There are two episodes back to back.
Nb. I like how the title page of Les Limier shows what time it is on in the listed different countries.
20 hours Lisbonne 21 hours Berlin 22 hours Bucarest
Episode 1-“Mauvais herbe”
Episode 1- “Mauvais Herbe”
The Detectives hear gun-shots and see two hooded youths come running. Three woman at the bus stop in the blue morning light…
A body is revealed by slowly stepping Policeman with guns. It has plenty of bullet holes. The credits start to roll.
Les Limieres is a little Spiral-like. But updated.
Of course most of the Detectives, in fact pretty much all are supermodel hot.
The music in Les Limier is almost twangingly dated. But saves itself later as it softens and stretches and goes elsewhere. Les Limiere is a little confusingly timeless in appearance so far.
I keep getting memories of Spiral in watching Les Limieres. Mainly in the beautiful blue shadowed setting. That grainy, almost newspaper feel to the sky, the outside. The suitably rain slicked (at some point) streets. In their subterranean labyrinthine maze.
Nb. Some of the translation seemed slightly off.
Episode 2-“Mauvais herbe”
“Paris 9eme” /9th Arondissement
I am still not sure about the twanging music, it is a little 1970’s Starsky and Hutch. However I am encompassing all tonight and keeping an open mind. Maybe the music is ironic/ retro/ vintage cool.
Or maybe if you never heard it the first time around, this corny, urgent twanging background music, none of these adjectives will apply. Perhaps the 70’s Cop show music has been reborn, anew. Later, the music eases out thankfully, stretches somewhat it almost becomes incidental. Ha ha.
Meanwhile, the assorted team of what is the specialist crack squad
(at one point a team member referred to himself as the hunter) swan around all over town, the different arondissements/ areas of Paris.
The squad are all instructed as to their missing person that they are tracking, by a minorly evil at first looking elder lady who is the eponymous computer expert and presumably crack Detective/ member of the team.
Here’s the thing though: i really wanted to be able to tell you all that here is one good new cool and interesting series. Hey, it is definitely new, cool and interesting. I am just not sure quite how good it is.
Les Limieres is just a little bit generic. Maybe I am just over the whole large computer screen as the focus of the drama. From which all information is gathered and new and interesting information arise. All this has just been so done.
Having half-heartedly watched some of Mission Impossible the other day, i found myself thinking, not for the first time, just how quickly computer technology in a drama dates that film.
The other factor for me in objectively assessing Les Limiers is the French Series Spiral.
(I have transcripts here from Spiral 1, 2 3 & 4 )
I kept comparing Les Limiers, throughout, to Spiral. Mainly it must be said, because Les Limier reminded me of Spiral. The beautiful blue white grainy lighting as one such similarity. The close-knit gang of Detectives/ Flying squad, like in Spiral.
There was even a scene in episode one where the investigation of the fugitive hunting squad overlap with another Police squad and both squads negotiate terms. That happened in Spiral.
Then there are several familiar characters in Les Limier for Spiral fans: a tousle haired tomboyish and slouchy jacketed Detective, a little like Berthauld and a loner Detective with an old coke problem. Like Gilou.
The oldest member of the team looks like an impossibly stylish journalist with fetching white temples.
There is a beautiful young Detective who talks to the suspects in calm, kind and reasonable ways. There is a super stylish suit and T-shirt wearing Detective who could easily be transplanted to 1940’s Italy and still look sharp.
All of the described team have an artful tear-shaped black ear piece in their ears and are instructed by the sharp and super fast head Detective on the giant computer screen in the Police Station. The screen shows small boxes of live film of each Detective as they pursue their prey.
These mini-films are shot from the region of the floor of the car. The shots of the guys driving are kind of cute, like they were in the Knight Rider car.
Les Limiers is unlike Spiral in that that there are no, so far, harsh interviews and for the first two episodes at least, there is an unusual happy ending. Ah. Which sadly makes Les Limiers a little lame.
Perhaps i am being too harsh. if i had not seen Spiral i might have thought differently. However i wouldn’t necessarily have thought that Les Limiers was really good. The drama lies somewhere in the middle of fair to excellent. Perhaps i have become inured and expectant of: blood and gore, horror galore.
Once upon a time, Cop shows did have happy endings. Every week.
footnotes on Les Limieres
Les Limieres is fairly harmless. Indeed it may even be meant to be lightweight. In France the take on it may be completely different. It might be seen as a French version of the American series Lost Without Trace.
The drama is only described in French in the TV Preview. It would help to get a good translation of the description of the drama and the proper name of the team of Detectives.
*update* the name of the series is “The Sleuths” in English.
Les Limiere means literally:”the blood-hounds” As in old American prison movies where the guards would loose the fearsome bloodhounds, with large dark doleful faces and huge flapping ears, into the wastelands and or forest around the prison. In order to catch an escaped prisoner.
The dreaded bloodhound dogs would woof repeatedly, maniacally and charge off into the wild..
In retrospect some of the intensity of the drama was lost for me by the tiresome device of the characters staring off into space, constantly talking to their earpiece with their Boss/ computer whizz lady on the other end. The characters looked like they had lost the way to the catwalk.
Nb. If this sound mean and cruel of me to give one example: i cannot imagine Berthauld from Spiral spending quite so much time and effort with hair gel to achieve the artfully tousled hair of her look alike character here. Ever.
Clearly i am unable to be objective in my review when i am unfairly projecting my Spiral longings upon Les Limieres. Just because Les Limiers is a Detective drama set in Paris. Yet Les Limiers does appear to be recycling aspects of Spiral as described. Quite a conundrum.
The awful thought occurs that perhaps this is a sort of Spiral suitably sanitised and politically corrected, the dark doings of the original series, in all its gory glory, never to be seen again.
Nb. Please see posting dated 19th August for PART TWO Review (update) of Les Limiers.
*Newsflash*..this just in:
Spiral Season Five is currently being filmed in France. The Series is due to come out in November 2014 in France. The rest of the Spiral (Engrenages) series 1,2,3 & 4 can be found on Netflix. There are also episodes on Youtube. In French with English subtitles.