France’s top police drama since 2005, Spiral is a gripping look at crime from the point of view of the all-too-human police and judiciary who find themselves tangled together in the search for justice. It’s renowned worldwide for its gritty drama, realistic storylines, and in lead Captain Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust), one of the best female cops on TV. And now it’s all coming to an end.
The climax of season seven saw the writing on the wall, with Lieutenant Gilles "Gilou" Escoffier (Thierry Godard) heading for prison after taking full responsibility for the units dodgy activities and series regular Judge François Roban (Philippe Duclos) retiring. That wasn’t a fatal blow: as this current series makes clear, introducing a new judge opened up new storytelling possibilities. And producers CANAL+ have always shown enough faith in the creators (Alexandra Clert, Guy-Patrick Sainderichin) to let them take their time between seasons; if they needed a bit of breathing space, they were going to get it.
But when it was reported last year that star Proust was looking to move on, it was clear that the series was coming to an end. As she told Figaro magazine, “I want to stop because I want to do something else… a good series must at a certain time stop.” After fifteen years being identified with one (classic) role, nobody was going to deny her the chance to go out on her own terms.
Now these next ten episodes will be Spiral’s last. Will the series go all out in one last blaze of glory, and maybe keep a few characters alive for a potential movie? Or will Spiral finish as it began – as a serious, emotionally complex look at the blurred lines between the law and justice in the French criminal system?
The series ahead (spoilers if you haven't watched seasons 1 - 7)
In prison pending his upcoming trial, Gilou is given a chance to redeem himself – and maybe even get back on the force with his one-time lover and partner in crime Laure – when his former boss Commissioner Brémont (Bruno Debrandt) asks him to get closer to crime-lord Ange Cisco (French rapper Kool Shen) and infiltrate his gang of robbers. Being an informer is risky enough at the best of times, but in prison where there’s nowhere to run and few places to hide, this kind of undercover work takes on a dangerous edge.
On the outside, Laure and Ali (Tewfik Jallab) are in the bad books after last season’s disastrous conclusion. They may have found a way to cover up most of what they were up to, but the smell of crime and corruption is hard to shake. Desperate for a way to redeem themselves, they fight for the right to investigate a high profile case: the death of a young Moroccan migrant, whose body was found in a laundry in Barbès.
Their suspicions rapidly fall on Souleymane, a close friend of the dead migrant – but their case gets complicated when ruthless lawyer Joséphine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot) decides to defend him. And while Joséphine has finally let her lover Lola move in, the chances of her going soft are slim to none no matter how cosy her home life might have become.
The judge overseeing the case is Lucie Bourdieu (Clara Bonnet), a new magistrate on the scene with a reputation for cracking down hard on police who step out of line. Dealing with her becomes a major headache for Commissioner Beckriche (Valentin Merlet) and his officers; in the French judicial system a judge presiding over a case is a much more active figure, able to direct the police investigation and defend the accused. She’s not giving them a lot of leeway to work with; with her on one side and Joséphine on the other, their big shot at redemption seems further away than ever.
Making matters even more complicated, it doesn’t take long for links between Laure and Gilou’s cases to make themselves known. The bad news is that the more complex the case, the harder it gets to make it stick before a judge already distrustful of the police. They’ve proven to be masters when it comes to falsifying evidence and witness tampering in the past, but will that be enough when they’re already suspected of crossing the line one too many times?
The good news is, it looks like the old gang of Laure, Ali and Gilou are getting back together again. Fingers crossed that for one last time all their risk-taking pays off.
Spiral seasons 1 - 8 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Start from the beginning:
Jump to season 8:
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