Netflix’s Criminal: France Review
This week, we head to France to see how the Criminal formula fits there and the result is the best season of the series yet.
Look, in terms of the similar visual aspects of each area that I complained about in my Germany review, there’s nothing different to discuss here. Still the same look, still the same idea. However, France balances its team of investigators much better their either U.K. or Germany and presents full character arc for viewers to connect to along with more intriguing cases full of swift twists and turns.
This time around, the team consists of Captain Olivier Hagen (Laurent Lucas), Sergeant Omar Matif (Mhamed Arezki), investigator Gerard Sarkassian (Stephane Jobert), Sergeant Laetitia Serra (Anne Azoulay), and the new team leader Captain Audrey Larsen (Margot Bancilhon). However, with Larsen recently becoming the new leader, there’s some underlying tension and hostility towards her from the rest of the team as they don’t think that she deserves the position. Other seasons have had underlying issues that have permeated throughout the episodes, but the issues within the France team actually have some drastic effects with their relationships with one another – and even the cases. There’s a lot of distrust aimed at Larsen from the entire team and there’re even attempts to get her off the team. However, rather than just have this be a small conflict that occurs between cases, it’s actually utilized to create a strong character arc for Audrey and the team that’s awesome to see unfold in the final episode.
Within the first few moments of meeting the team, you can immediately feel the tension between Audrey and the rest of the team and that emotions are just high in general. After some strong moments of mistrust with the team attempting to pin a slip of personal information to a suspect’s lawyer on Audrey, everything came together and the hopes that we’re building within me of what would happen in the final episode came true and did not disappoint.
The performances from everyone are super strong this time around and it was nice to see all the team members be emotional and play a part in the series as a whole. Personally, there’s just something I love about the sternness that Lucas brings to Hagen and the arc that Audrey has is made much stronger because of Bancilhon’s performance. I also deeply appreciated the human emotion that Serra has through Azoulay’s performance because it made her a standout in the entire series and is something that made me very invested in her storyline.
I was also surprised with how Criminal is finding ways to create such unique crimes and storylines to showcase as France’s cases might be my favorite thus far. These cases constantly subverted my expectations and kept me guessing through every twist and turn the team uncovers. Not to mention, each case actually tackles some interesting subjects, ranging from mass shootings to hate crimes, that always took on a unique perspective and leaves you thinking. It’s the kind of the suspense writing that leaves viewers hanging off of every clue and that too good to pass up.
With each new region that Criminal goes, the issues I have with the copy and paste backgrounds and premise actually start to bother me less and less because of how the series continues to surprise me. France is easily the best offering Criminal has given viewers, thus far, and leaves a high mark for Spain to beat when I cover it next week.
Watch the Trailer Here: