Food poisoning. Ugh. If you haven’t suffered the misfortune, it goes like this. You eat something with bacteria, your brain signals, “Danger, danger, remove, remove,” then your body violently tries to turn itself inside out, via your esophagus, to expel the cooties. The next day or so you feel like a truck ran over you. But this isn’t a post specifically about bodily functions … while recovering on the couch I had just enough energy to binge-watch this new fantastic French TV series.
Witnesses (Les Témoins) is a 6-part, crime series set in the northern coastal town of Le Tréport. A big hit in France when it debuted in March, the series follows a chain of creepy events, which freak out the community and cops. Graverobbers have placed corpses inside model homes to create a “model family.” Who’s doing this? What does it mean? Are the bodies related? It’s up to Detective Sandra Winckler, following in the Scandi-noir footsteps of The Bridge’s Saga Noren and to a degree Prime Suspect’s Jane Tennison, to figure it all out and unearth the many hidden secrets of the case and apprehend the perps. While negotiating her duties she must handle the politics of dealing with the former police chief played by acclaimed actor Thierry Lhermitte, who is somehow implicated in all the weird goings-on.
Besides being a gripping crime story, the series has lots of delightful elements which make it so wonderfully French. Detective Sandra is not only smart, intuitive and resourceful, she sports effortlessly tied scarves and has that casual chic French beauty that is just so aggravating and enviable. There’s the obligatory chocolate-eating scene, several espresso-drinking scenes and my personal favorite: eating-pastries-while talking-about-said-pastries scene. Sure there’s lots of gun play, mad dashes, twists and turns, and Sandra’s personal relationship stuff thrown in to make Witnesses one satisfying series. If you’re recovering from illness or just feel like getting lost in a good story in a foreign land, check it out.
Catch it on Netflix streaming. Let me know what you think.