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Series / Braquo

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Braquo (French slang for armed robbery), 2009-2016, is a gritty French crime drama created by Olivier Marchal. It follows four cops from the SDPJ 92, a police department operating in the Hauts-de-Seine département, west of Paris: Commandant Eddy Caplan and Lieutenants Roxane Delgado, Walter Morlighem and Théo Wachevski. While they have a reputation for being the best of the best, the IGS (Inspection Générale des Services, the Internal Affairs of French police) has been on their case for quite some time for good reason, and they have to divide their time between chasing ruthless criminals and covering up evidence of their own crimes (which includes several murders and robberies).

Season 1 opens as Max Rossi, Eddy's best friend, becomes the target of an IGS investigation for brutally mutilating a man suspected of raping and killing a pregnant woman, and commits suicide. Eddy and his team decide to do whatever it takes to clear Max's name, but they fall into a trap set up by Roland Vogel, the IGS captain who drove Max to suicide, Prosecutor Christian Vanderbeke, who has an old grudge against Eddy and Max, and Serge Lemoine, a career criminal arrested several times by Eddy and looking for an immunity deal.

Season 2 has the team at their lowest point: following their arrest, Théo has been dismissed from the police, Walter and Roxane are demoted to the lowest rungs, and Eddy is in jail, having taken full responsibility for the events of Season 1 in order to protect his comrades. While in jail, Eddy is offered a deal to infiltrate the Invisibles, a gang of former elite soldiers who committed several murders and robberies in their quest to get revenge on the French officials who left them to rot in Angolan jails. Eddy manages to bring the team back together for this mission, which he accomplishes successfully, recovering his freedom and their former ranks.

Season 3 finds the team tangled in a war of succession between vory v zakone operating in France: Levani Jordania, designated heir of the late boss Iossif Vissarionovitch, and Mikhail Pavlovich, a literal son of a bitch who runs drug and prostitution rings despite Vissarionovich's prohibition. As if that were not enough, they have to deal with Vogel, who has gone rogue and is hunting them down one by one.

Season 4, the series finale, moves the action to Marseilles, as Walter enacts his vendetta on Baba Aroudj, a Turkish vor v zakone boss who tortured Walter's children in retaliation for the killing of his own son. While in the South, Eddy and Walter are caught in Captain Guido Francoeur's attempt to dig up the unsavory past of Georges Mandeville and Serge Grenner, two Marseillais notables negotiating lucrative shipping deals with the Turkish mafia.

Subtitled versions of all episodes are available on Hulu.

This series contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Atom Parajdanov and Levani Jordania, especially when contrasted with other vor v zakone bosses such as Mikhail Pavlovich or Viktor Batourine.
  • Asshole Victim: Given the Black-and-Gray Morality of the show and its high body count, there are plenty to go around, but the most notable example has to be Vogel, who has been hounding Eddy's group since Season 1 and finally gets a horribly painful death, being burned alive by Kasari's gang at the beginning of Season 4. Roxanne's first reaction upon being called to the scene is to just smile and take a picture of his corpse.
  • Ate His Gun: Max at the beginning of Season 1.
    • Vibert tried and failed to kill himself that way. Vogel shows him how to do it properly.
  • Bald of Evil: Vogel after the end of Season 2. While he was always a Dirty Cop, from the moment he shaves his head, he graduates to full-blown psychopath.
  • Berserk Button: Don't touch Walter's kids.
  • Chainsaw Good: Imrali's eventual fate. The audience doesn't see it, but Eddy does.
  • Cop Killer: After being dismissed from the police, Vogel kills no less than three cops: first Valérie Borg, his former colleague who had him dismissed; then Théo; then Commandant Fargette. He also attempts to kill Roxane.
  • Crapsack World: Much like Engrenages, the heroes often operate in the ugliest parts of Paris.
  • External Combustion: How Vogel disposes of Théo.
  • A Father to His Men: Eddy to the rest of the team. They sometimes resent his overprotective attitude, especially Théo.
    • Colonel Dantin to the survivors of his unit.
  • I Have Your Wife: Done to Eddy in the climax of Seasons 2, 3 and 4:
    • In Season 2, Madame Arifa kidnaps Myriam and offers Eddy to exchange her life against the Inessif rifle. Eddy manages to rescue her and kill Arifa with Colonel Dantin's help.
    • In Season 3, Vogel has both Hélène and Roxane, and offers Eddy a Sadistic Choice between them. Eddy rescues them both and cripples Vogel.
    • In Season 4, Mandeville captures Nathan. Eddy and his team save him, but at the cost of Eddy's life.
  • The Infiltration: Eddy's mission in Season 2.
  • Internal Affairs: The Inspection Générale des Services (which becomes the Inspection Générale de la Police Nationale in Season 4 to reflect real-life changes in the French police) feature prominently, and they're not shown in a good light. Vogel is a sadistic Dirty Cop using his authority to carry out his petty revenge against Eddy and his team, and Brabant has no compunctions making deals with convicted criminals like Kasari. Even when Valérie Borg does the right thing and has Vogel arrested, Marceau points out with disgust that she just enjoys watching other cops fall.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Suspects tend to be more talkative when you point a gun to their heads... Théo in particular seems to be a specialist of this.
    • He attempts this on Benaissa in Season 1 and accidentally kills him, setting in motion a good part of the season's plot.
    • In the same season, he plays Russian roulette with a thug's dog.
    • A flashback in Season 3 begins with a brutal interrogation of a car dealer suspected of trafficking stolen vehicles; Max and Eddy beat him up, and Théo points a loaded gun to his wife's head (though as he later shows Eddy, he had removed the hammer before).
  • Killer Cop: While most of the people killed by Eddy and his team shot first, Walter executes an unarmed Baba Aruj in cold blood in Season 4 and cleans up the crime scene afterwards to mislead the Marseilles P.D.
  • Married to the Job: Eddy.
  • Mercy Kill: After Theo is severely burned by a car bomb, Roxane initially clings to the hope that he can regain consciousness and some mobility, but eventually disables his life support after realising that he can never have a normal life again.
  • The Mole: Andreas Megreleshvili in Season 3.
  • Outlaw Couple: Odessa and Anatoli Dilmaïev. After Odessa is killed, Anatoli briefly becomes a Crusading Widow, until Atom threatens him into leaving Caplan alone and coming back to Russia.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not touch Walter's kids. While he is often the most level-headed member of the team, ready to call out his comrades on their recklessness, he goes on a very poorly thought-out Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Baba Aruj after the Turk had his kids tortured and raped at the end of Season 3, which ends with him executing Aruj in cold blood.
  • Prison Rape: Levani Jordania was crowned as a 'vor v zakone' because he slit the throat of a cellmate who wanted to rape him. It turns out he lied and it was actually Andreas who killed the man.
  • Professional Killer: Many of the crime bosses' minions. Madame Arifa has a story about a killer-in-training who killed his father because he beat him, and then killed his mother because he'd been taught to leave no witnesses.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: At the beginning of Season 2, Walter and Roxane are demoted: Walter is reassigned as a gas station attendant, and Roxane as a uniformed peace officer. In Season 4, Bernardi is moved back to field work while Brabant takes over her office and her department.
  • Reformed Criminal: How Serge Grenner presents himself, although Captain Francoeur is not convinced.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Inverted by Mélanie, Théo's girlfriend in Season 2. After his death, she implies that she will terminate her pregnancy, saying it would be too painful to raise a baby that would constantly remind her of Théo.
  • Tattooed Crook: The vory v zakone wear their tattoos like an ID card.
  • Torture Technician: Lemoine and Charlie are particularly effective at it.