Spiral Series Five Review PART TWO. Minor spoilers. Last few episodes: nine ten eleven and twelve-some notes and dialogue with review at the end. Was on in the UK on BBC4.

Spiral/ Engrenages Series Five
 Final Review

Nb. Please note:
When writing about Captain Laure’ Berthauld, Head of Homicide Investigations (13th Arondissement/ area of Paris)
I refer to her sometimes as Laure’ and other times as Berthauld.
(Captain Laure’ Berthauld is alternatively called Berthuauld or Laure’ by the other characters)

Likewise I  refer to the examining Judge (Judge Roban) sometimes as Roban and other times as:
 “Le Juge”.
(this latter term for Judge Roban is how the other characters in Spiral usually refer to him)

Spiral Episode Nine

Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Jean Luc swiftly hides the scissors on his desk when Jaulin comes in.

So I like the shot inside the underground car park as if the unknown person is driving or walking.

Lovely shot in the fileds. shadowy blue light.

I am getting the feeling that Tin Tin is a liability..
Something might go horribly wrong.

“Stay with me you little bugger…”
“You scared me!”…

Episode Ten

Some notes.

And Herville surprises.  Go Herville!

The Etoile Estate.
(faint shouts and voices echo)

Oh no.  Another calamity.  Indirectly caused by Captain Laure’ Bertahuld and her crew.


Final Two episodes Eleven and Twelve.

Episode Eleven.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

(water trickles)
(approaching footsteps)

Kimberley is the name of one of the girls.(Kimberley and Letitia were the only characters I really engaged with or was interested in.  Well apart from Bertahuld and her crew and Josephine)

Herville and Laure Berthauld.
Laure’ actually invites him to her crew’s party.

Herville has grown on me.

Carole Mendy is the Judge.  She has really done Judge Roban the power of good.

To Josephine:
“Why can’t someone else go to prison?”
“Because France doesn’t work that way!”

Things are moving too fast now in spiral for me to record any dialogue.  Hurray.

All the threads of different story-lines are starting to come together.  Well most of them.

And in an incredible cafe” with a beautiful painting on the wall that looks like Renoir, Le Juge meets with Marianne.
Judge Roban:
“Marianne, I am nothing without you”
“I lose touch with reality!”
Ahh!  is it a date?!

Uhoh.  so  one storyline does now intersect.
Ziani to Dijbril:
“They want Porches in Libya, Mercedes remind them of Gaddafi”…

And Herville gets drunk.
Wisely, the guys say to Berthauld, its OK, leave him to me.  Since I am still minorly worrying about Laure’ whenever she goes up stairs.

Gilou and Laure’ have a heart to heart.
Oh.  Blimey.  Laure’ nearly got run over then.  I bet you the drama is doing this on purpose.

Josephine and the women director of the Company of Lawyers.  The director has an incredible grey silver stylish bob and is beautiful.
Director to Josephine:
“That is blackmail Josephine…”

Nb. Letitia is the hairdresser girl.

Le Juge Roban and Judge Carol Mendy.
I thought they might have to check outside the door then.  But everything seemed to work.  But what the hell is going on.

Has Josephine been double crossed?

Ziani to Jospehine:”I trust you..”

So the past (or not so past) is finally catching up with my favourite character, Letitia.  The hairdresser.

So at one point a character is translated as saying:
“You can keep this!”
When she actually says:
“cadeau/ present”

Now Berthauld and her crew are doing what they do best, following suspects.

Oh no.  Things are getting harsher by the moment.
“I keep having nightmares about it”..

So the drama just took a turn into a whole road or load of seriousness.

Prosecutor Machard to Judge Roban:
“That’s quite a face Roban…”

Judge Mendy to  Judge Roban:
“Stop saying I!”
“We played and we lost, together!”

I am liking the ghostly glockenspiel music.  It could be the sound of the cogs, gently whirring.

Berthauld picks up a doll:
Doll giggles.
“bye bye”
“bye bye”…

Oh no.  Please don’t let anything happen to Berthauld.


Episode Twelve-final episode.

some notes and dialogue on first watching.

(tyres screech)

Birds almost sing in the air above his head, like in a Walt Disney animation.  Marianne is in love with or maybe simply loves Le Juge-I’m not sure.  I think she is in love with him.  since she lights up and glows when he is around.

And we get to the lovely and righteous District Attorney Belmont.  Who it’s taken until the twelfth episode for us to see him properly.  Except for one previous meeting with Laure’.

le Juge and Judge Mendy.
Judge Mendy:
“leave Ziani alone from now on..”

And is Josephine falling back into a Szabo situation with Ziani?

Josephine gets an amazing offer.  But it comes with an offer she can’t refuse.
Nb. Edelman is the name of the lawyer who likes Josephine.

Gilou to Laure’:
“I thought that you and I had a future together but you didn’t”
But Laure’ says nothing.  she is too stubborn.  But she has ruffled her hair and is grinning and crying but not crying.  At the same time.

Oh no.  The Spiral sounds have come back.  I hope  this will not be a Spiral calamity.

Oo errr, this is nerve wracking.  This might well be a quick time baseball  hat moment.  The Walking Dead territory where it’s handy to have a peak to obscure your vision if needed.

The Judge Roban is getting shouty again.

Oh no.  This may be that moment.

But there is a good moment too.

Back to Belmont.
(note to self watch Extanct after this for light relief)

And Josephine comes to a board meeting.
What will Josephine do?  It is a Hobson’s choice.

Dijbril is talking like the Police now.
“Without my face behind the wheel you’ve got nothing”!

It would all have gone smoothly except…

What did I predict about the sad story that was bound to happen.  With a beautiful girl, Cindy, Gilou and Dijbril.

Le Juge Roban to Laure’ Berthauld:
“You and I have always trusted each other”
“Anyone can betray me Laure’, but you“!

I think I had better stop here.
I can’t look.
Uh oh.  Its’ a windy staircase.  Two men fall at the bottom.

I’m getting a bad feeling about Gilou turning his back…

The final denouement.  Red/orange armbands on.  Much like the Swedish Police come to think of it.  Oh no.  I hope…Oh no.

Berthauld has taken off her stab vest.  That is not a good idea..

Oh, what?
Monitors bleep.  Gilou is weeping.  Oh you’re joking.   It ends right there.


So Spiral five only really got off the ground running for me in episodes eleven and twelve.  Spiral really only came together in episodes nine and ten.  And showed some spark of life in episode six.  Or perhaps that is the wrong phrase in retrospect.

Yes, Spiral is called Engrenages, which means cogs apparently.  I forgot that this name probably signifies the style of the drama.  As in the many threads of story-lines turning, cog-like separately and alone.  Yet mysteriously other than for an engineer or a clock maker, working together.  Those cogs I mean.

I suppose I should accept this construction of the style of storytelling in spiral.  i do.  However I found for some time really that the individual story-lines were less than engaging.  To me anyway.

Spiral can certainly gather its pace and pack a punch.  As the drama did as it geared up towards the end with those cogs extra spinning. (don’t ask me-it’s a metaphor of sorts)

I could describe the watching of Spiral five as dualistic:  I could both buy into and believe it and be thrilled and horrified all at once.  Then at the same time I can wonder at the just too much reality.  Perhaps far too realistically portrayed.

Is there some odd and unknown physics reaction going on in a dramatic way which pierces somehow the subjective belief of the viewer.  In the drama.  Is there a point at which drama becomes documentary.  Semi-documentary if you like.  what happens then?

That is what I wonder about this series of spiral.  Did it at times become too real to believe in as a drama?  I am not sure.  sometimes I think Spiral did.  Much as I love Spiral.

Possibly Spiral has always dealt in horrific reality: of murders, of lives.  Certainly this has been the case.  Maybe the documentary feel is deliberate.  Meant to provide more edge.  However this was not the effect as experienced.  All the time.

 Perhaps this droop in the level of belief in the drama was only noticeable when things just seemed to drag.

So not all my possible predictions for Berthauld and Gilou came true.  Or did they?  Of course we are left wondering.  Another one of these endings that is half and half.  I guess if you’re an optimist you can think for the best.  A pessimist the opposite.  Or take a rough guess in between.

 After all the optimist is the one who when falling off a building waves
 (or i might have put that bit in) and says:
“It’s going really great so far!”

Spiral in essence did a Spiral on itself.  On its own character.  Surely this is cruel.  We (or I) saw or worried about this from a long way back.  For me anyway, that too realistic worry ruined it.   Distracted me perhaps from the rest of the action.  I just couldn’t metaphorically or dramatically speaking: relax.

There were times when Spiral Five was engaging.  There were excellent and interesting characters and performances.  The individual story lines were eventually engaging however suffered from a feeling of either too much of that storyline or too little.  Which gave the drama an unbalanced feel.

Of course we see a lot of Berthauld and her crew. That is expected.  I would have liked more of the stories of the girls for example.  I guess following the investigation of Berthauld and her crew in seemingly almost real time: would seem as painstaking and slow in real life.

Of course Spiral is Spiral and there is nothing quite like Spiral.  The drama  will always confound  and confuse expectation perhaps with the bitter alternate bleakness of its reality.  Like a flat-bread leavened with yeasty soap-opera writ large.  And shot through with human warmth.

So Spiral Spiral-ed itself.  There should be a rule.  It was so cruel.
Like April is the cruellest month.  Wrote T.S. Elliot.



There is a moment in which the villain decides not to act.  On that day.  Yet we can see the decision made of the future course of action. We know what will happen.  All this happens in utter silence.   We are informed as viewers just by the expression of their face and a distinct feeling of unease.  A truly chilling scene.


Not quite sure how the optimist fell off the building.

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