Backstabbing in the corridors of power – it sounds like every recent documentary on Australian politics in an age of chaos and uncertainty. But it’s also the core premise of Baron Noir, the latest addictive international drama series to stream at SBS On Demand.
It's the tale of a French politician seeking vengeance against his enemies after a brutal betrayal leaves him on the outs. It’s almost as though the creators have been reading our newspapers...
Francis Laugier, aka Malcolm Turnbull
Although Laugier is the presidential candidate of the Left, he shares a certain pragmatism with our very own Turnbull. He’s happy to take advantage of party practice when it’s going his way, but also ready to ditch a comrade-in-arms when necessary for the greater good. And the greater good is always, obviously, what benefits him the most. Like winning an election, say. (Well, almost.)
Philippe Rickwaert, aka Bill Shorten
A hard-nosed member of the party faithful, ready and willing to do whatever it takes for his side of politics. Betrayed by the people he thought were on his side, he turns his mind (and comprehensive network) to vengeance. “We get dirty to help others,” he says. Not that we’re suggesting Shorten was involved in any building-related scams. Certainly not mentioning the ABCC here at all.
Amélie Dorendeu, aka Julie Bishop
Laugier’s closest advisor, Dorendeu keeps her cool when her fellow advisors are panicked and explosive. She gives a stern performance, telling Laugier, “Your responsibility to the country supersedes friendship,” much like Bishop told Abbott when all that leadership spillage was going on. Surely there’s no chance Bishop would side with a wronged MP against her boss though, right?
Véronique Bosso, aka Tanya Plibersek
When Rickwaert’s mayoral assistant Bosso receives a panicked call from him in the middle of the night, it isn’t long before she’s selling electronics out of the back of her car to a dodgy bloke in an alley, just as Plibersek sells Labor’s wares to the crowd on Q&A. In other words, she’s a fixer who keeps a clear head in a crisis.
Cyril Balsan, aka Anthony Albanese
Rickwaert’s parliamentary assistant and right-hand man knows how to keep things running, count the numbers and play it cool with the crowd. “No violence, OK?” he tells overenthusiastic booster Toph, just like DJ Albo keeps things amped up but peaceful when he spins the decks in the inner-city havens of Sydney and Melbourne.
Toph, aka Barnaby Joyce
A straight-shooter who isn’t afraid to call political opponents “arseholes” or get stuck into a bit of biff, Toph resembles no one in our parliament so much as the leader of the Nationals. And since he hails from the home of pâté de foie gras and ortolans, he presumably would have no objection to the live export trade on animal cruelty grounds...