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Series: Engrenages

Engrenages (literally "cogs" or "gears", but with implications akin to "wheels within wheels" and "spiralling out of control"), known in English-speaking markets as Spiral, is a French Police Procedural Crime and Punishment Series set in the less touristy parts of Paris. The three main protagonists play different roles in the French justice system: Capitaine Laure Berthaud represents the police, Maitre Pierre Clément is a prosecutor, and François Roban is an examining magistrate.

The first season deals with the murder of a Romanian prostitute that turns out to have heavy political connections. The second season covers an investigation into a group of North African gangsters. Both of these two seasons also have Mystery of the Week elements, but the third season dumps this in favour of putting the three characters into separate plot arcs: Berthaud hunts a Serial Killer of prostitutes in Paris's former abbatoir district; Clément, disgusted with politics and corruption, attempts to set up as an independent lawyer; and Roban starts a quixotic investigation into a corrupt mayor with very high-level connections. The fourth season dives into the French debate over illegal immigration, with a far-left-wing terrorist group attacking people who they consider responsible for treating immigrants unjustly.

After first achieving high critical acclaim in its native France on Canal+, the show was aired (and eventually co-funded) by The BBC, and has since developed a loyal international fanbase. In the UK at least seems to have paved the way for a great deal of imported European gritty cop dramas. The show has proved so successful that after the third season three more were ordered simultaneously.


This show provides examples of:

L'École du pouvoirFrench SeriesFantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes
Due SouthCrime and Punishment SeriesFlashpoint

alternative title(s): Engrenages
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