As witnessed by the slate of popular procedural programs on network television, we can't get enough of solving crime! I really enjoy having the opportunity to sample international programs, and the handsomely produced French crime series "Antigone 34" is sure to appeal to a broader worldwide audience that embraces this particular brand of procedural format. The series has an appealing cast, a tough edge, and a strong central character. It has a grittiness that is not unwelcome and crimes that are interesting if not revelatory. If I was to be brutally honest, I'd say the show isn't particularly unique. In the world where every TV show solves crimes, there aren't that many new and groundbreaking ways to approach the formula. So "Antigone 34" is certainly easy enough to enjoy, but it's not necessarily a must-see. The entire series consists of 6 episodes, so it's not a huge time commitment. But if you do love it, it has not been commissioned for a second season. This represents the sum totality of "Antigone 34."
Of course, the first question you might ask yourself is "what the heck is Antigone 34?" Basically, that's just the name of the police station that is central to the six part series. The lead character (played with a nice matter-of-factness by Anne Le Nen) is a standard no-nonsense detective, brash and confrontational. After her last partner committed suicide, she is joined by a new partner (Aubert Fenoy) who tends to look at things a bit differently than she is used to. As they embark on the six mysteries, they are often joined by a disbarred doctor (Bruno Todeschini) seeking answers in the death of his daughter. They are an unlikely trio, to be sure, and it is Todeschini (as Victor Carlier) who provides the series with an on-going storyline that you can sink your teeth into. I just wished that the cases themselves didn't feel so darn familiar!
Here's what you get in the DVD set. This contains the entire 6 episode run with no special features:
Episode One: The investigation into a medical student's death brings Le Nen to meet her disgraced father (the aforementioned Victor Carlier). Was it a hazing incident gone wrong or something more sinister?
Episode Two: The disappearance of a video game programmer is the central conundrum, but new facts arise in the on-going drama of the doctor's daughter.
Episode Three: A hit-and run incident strikes rather close to home and the investigation brings Le Nen into close quarters with her biggest rival in the department.
Episode Four: A body is found in a fish warehouse and a seemingly deranged woman claims to be missing her baby in this installment.
Episode Five: The death of a single mother looks to have ties with a contract killing. Who had it out for the victim?
Episode Six: Another case strikes too close to home as the good doctor is implicated in the death of an escort.
If I had stumbled across "Antigone 34" on television, I'd certainly say that it merited a look. I'm glad that I watched it. I'm not sure, however, it's an essential DVD purchase for everyone. Ultimately, it is well done. Realistically, it offers very little new to an overworked genre. About 3 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 11/13.