Words: Brody Rossiter
BAD BOYS… AND GIRLS
Though the investigative exploits of American made detective shows and the distinctly dark leanings of Nordic Noir have penetrated the collective consciousness of television audiences situated upon both sides of the Atlantic like a rusty hunting knife would a helpless antler adorned teen’s vital organs, one hard-hitting French police drama which may have slipped under your radar.
Series three of Braquo (which can be roughly translated as a colloquial French term for a violent heist or robbery) arrives on DVD and Blu-ray today, and when I say arrives I mean it rocks up at your door wearing a balaclava, toting an automatic-rifle and demanding that you grasp its box in your sweaty palms before jamming your chosen format into a disc tray. There couldn’t be a better time to get better acquainted with the show which has been called France’s answer to The Wire.
Following a squad of four police agents and their violent and perilous journey through Paris’ criminal underbelly, Braquo is a sleek and often brutal hybrid of hard-boiled investigative drama and high-octane action. Its dedication to taking itself incredibly seriously is perhaps its most admirable trait, and one which ensures its leading ‘gang’ of officers are what can only be described as a bunch of stone cold badasses – even despite the fact that they kiss each other on both cheeks.
Distinct nods overblown 80’s action bombast and Michael Mann-esque shootouts can arrive at any time, but ultimately Braquo’s primary focus is that of its characters’ stories and their juggling of their home lives and a job from which they can never truly clock off. Leading man and talismanic anti-hero Eddie Caplan – portrayed by French cinematic mainstay Jean Hughes-Anglade (Betty Blue, Nikita) – is the driving force behind much of the team’s activity – landing himself and his colleagues on both sides of the law in the name of justice.
Its depiction of both France’s home-grown and migrant communities and their criminal aspects is diverse and often enthralling – exploring the rich set of rites, rituals, and commandments by which various gangs and criminal institutions live by. Street thugs, Ex-French Foreign Legion mercenaries, Eastern European mobsters, and murderous colleagues all rear their ugly heads on the warring Parisian streets, with Caplan’s crew often proving to be the only individuals willing to go far enough to stop them – they’re basically bearded, heavy drinking, leather jacket wearing super cops… with issues.
SERIES 3 REVIEW
Series 3 picks up after the devastating events of the series two finale in which a merciless act of revenge threatens to finally tear apart the seemingly indestructible foursome of Caplan, Théo, Walter, and Roxanne Delgado. Dealing with the aftermath of a fallen comrade whilst also policing a vicious war for mob boss supremacy between two incredibly dangerous factions, the team face their greatest and most costly case yet. Reigning in some of series 2’s more far-fetched tendencies and once again isolating its focus upon both familiar and brilliantly conceived new characters, Series 3 could easily considered Braquo’s most consistent and affecting collection of episodes. If you’re in the mood for an unflinching and effortlessly cool snapshot of world crime fighting then Braquo and its numerous gritty Gallic charms will certainly provide your next box set binge.