With episodes 49 through 54 in set 9, we come to the end of the finest French TV series depicting the investigations of fictional Commissaire Jules Maigret of the Paris Police Judiciaire. As well, we come to the end of the acting career of Bruno Cremer, who played the role of Maigret throughout. By the time that these episodes were filmed in 2004 and 2005, Cremer was already battling the throat cancer that would take his life a few years later. Indeed, his illness had taken such a toll that episode 54 had to be released with the track of someone else's voice.
This last fact makes episode 54 too painful for me to watch again. However, several of the other episodes in set 9 are among my favorites in the entire series, and I especially treasure the fact that the stories covered in set 9 are those you are least likely to have read as English-language translations of Georges Simenon's novels. From a purely sociological point of view, the episode regarding an old lady's companion most fascinates me because it explicitly addresses the theme of social class distinctions in France. Nearly all of the Maigret novels touch on this subject in one way or another, but in this instance the juge d'instruction goes so far as to lecture Maigret on the commissaire's inferior bourgeois background. In general, the episodes of set 9 are directed with more finesse and provide more interesting detail than a number of early episodes. "Seven Little Crosses" is particularly notable in this regard as it focuses in part on the sometimes fractious interaction of inspectors at Maigret's Quai des Orfevres office and features a police chase as followed across a wall map of Paris located there.