· culture ·

We've been really enjoying a French cop show/thriller currently being shown on BBC Four. Spiral (Engrenages) is a dark political thriller, with none of the flashiness and special effects of CSI:[Insert name of US city here]. It does, however, have a particularly French flavour, which in the context of a cop show feels quite different for some reason. At one point, the prosecutor greets his (male) friend by kissing him on both cheeks. This, of course is a perfectly normal French custom, but in the overly familiar context of cop shows which are usually made in the US, it really stands out.

The plot has a lot of good twists and turns and is quite gritty. That caused an unusual problem a couple of times: when you look away from the screen because you don't want to see a close-up of a faceless corpse while you're having your dinner (thank you very much), you have to strain your O-level French skills to the max in order to not miss some crucial plot point while you're not reading the subtitles. I need some kind of remotely operated screen to lower over the top half of the TV so that I can still read the subtitles while protecting myself from yucky gore.

We're a couple of episodes in to the series now, but it's worth catching if you have access to BBC Four.