Follow TV Tropes


Series / Maigret (2016)

Go To

Maigret is a 2016 ITV drama series and an adaptation of Georges Simenon's books about the investigations of French police detective Jules Maigret. It stars Rowan Atkinson as the titular detective. Two episodes aired in the first season and a further two in the second season.

Set in 1950s Paris, the show centers on Chief Inspector Jules Maigret's attempts to keep his city safe and to lock up dangerous criminals.

Despite the success of the series, in early 2018 ITV released a statement saying that for the foreseeable future there would no more episodes commissioned, due to Atkinson's busy schedule with other projects.

Maigret provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: The flop house landlord in "Maigret's Dead Man" seems to be this.
  • Artistic License – History: The Andersens in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads" flee to Paris on a train operating to the Gare d'Orsay; however, the station closed to long-distance trains in 1939, long before the postwar setting of the episode (but not the novel, which was published in 1931).
  • Autopsy Snack Time: The coroner of "Maigret's Dead Man" is seen smoking even while working with the titular "dead man". The forensics specialist even asks him if he really needs to take a smoke while cutting bodies apart, and the coroner replies that it helps mask the odors.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: "Else Andersen" in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads" is this, seemingly a troubled young woman, but secretly the mastermind of a gang smuggling diamonds and stolen goods.
  • British Brevity: Each of the Atkinson series are comprised of two television films that are released months apart during holidays.
  • Da Chief: Rather surprisingly for a 1950s' piece, Maigret bumps up against his superior, the Investigating Magistrate, quite often.
  • Consummate Professional: As always, Maigret's method of solving crimes is to simply and carefully go through every single detail, and see which parts fit together and which parts don't. His dedication has occasionally put strains upon his marriage, but it still serves him well in the end.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Isaac Goldberg, victim in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads", is a Holocaust survivor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rowan Atkinson playing against type? Then this is a given.
  • Death of a Child: Maigret makes a reference to a girl who "would be 24 now" in "Maigret Sets A Trap", seemingly referring to a child of his and his wife who did not survive to adulthood.
  • Dirty Cop: The Arpajon police in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads" is crooked, looking the other way over a garage that operates a secret fight club and a smuggling ring.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Maigret is rarely seen without a pipe in his hand or his mouth, in contrast to other characters cigarette smoking. If he is not smoking it, he is fiddling with it, and keeps a rack full of pipes on his office desk and at home.
  • Everybody Smokes: The series is set in 1950s Paris. Everyone is puffing away.
  • Evil Former Friend: Inspector Grandjean, the main antagonist of "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads", is an old friend of Maigret's. They attended the academy together. Maigret is naturally horrified to discover his friend's corruption.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Inspector Grandjean in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads" gives this impression, being inspector in Arpajon, a rural commune north of Paris.
  • Forgets to Eat: Maigret has a habit of leaving meals uneaten when engrossed with his job, to his wife's exasperation.
  • For Want of a Nail: The murderers in "Maigret's Dead Man" would have had an easier time getting away if it hadn't been for their lover going into labour just as the police were raiding the building. Even further, if they hadn't dropped their railway ticket on the floor of the horseracing grandstands, hoping it would blend in with discarded betting slips that the titular "dead man" sifted through hoping for a winner, Maigret likely wouldn't have caught up with them.
  • The Fundamentalist: Carl Andersen in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads" has shades of this, being a regular Bible reader with a crucifix on the wall (granted, not an uncommon feature of French homes). He also spent time in Antwerp preaching on a streetcorner and trying to save prostitutes, including one he married.
  • The Gambling Addict: Inspector Grandjean runs a weekly poker game in Paris.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: "Maigret's Dead Man" employs this three times. On two of those instances, someone is shown a file on the Picardie farm murder-robberies; as the victims were tortured, the contents are implied to be grisly, but they are never shown to the audience. The other instance occurs when the coroner begins dissecting the titular "dead man" with Maigret present, and hangs a lampshade on this trope when the coroner says that those of weak constitution should look away.
  • The Gunslinger: While the entire Paris police force does carry firearms when necessary, Inspector Janvier fits this archetype the closest. He demonstrates his skills in "Maigret's Dead Man" when he manages to beat an armed assassin, despite the man having already drawn his gun.note 
  • Heartbroken Badass: Inspector LaPointe, who knew the slain burlesque performer of "Maigret in Montmartre" personally, and was even about to propose to her.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: A variant. The landlord in "Maigret's Dead Man" describes the gang's shared lover as their "Queen Bee" - just in time for her to let out a groan as she deals with labour pains.
  • I Shall Taunt You: After the Big Bad of "Maigret's Dead Man" is successfully locked into a holding cell, the officers jingle the cell keys in front of him.
  • Incest Subtext: Carl Andersen in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads" is extremely possessive of his sister, hiding her away from the world and their father to "protect" her. Justified in that she is not his sister, but his wife.
  • Killer Cop: Inspector Grandjean turns out to be responsible for the murder of a Jewish goldsmith in "Maigret at the Crossroads".
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Marcel Moncin. It becomes clear that underneath a seemingly friendly exterior he is a seriously damaged man, which leads to him killing six different women.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Maigret's Dead Man" does this with the police station's switchboard, courtesy of slow-motion close-ups of buttons and switches being pushed to connect a caller.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: As applied to the earlier Michael Gambon series, the British actors don't attempt French accents, with the result that some of the characters speak in Cockney and other regional British dialects.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Czech translator (implied to be embassy personnel) is a downplayed example, brought in to translate for inspectors Maigret and Colombani in "Maigret's Dead Man" as they try to interrogate a female accomplice of the chief suspect to the Picardie farm murder-robberies. He tries to decline translating further, stating that he does not want to infringe on human dignities—especially as said accomplice had just given birth. Colombani shuts him up by showing him the photos of the grisly aftermaths of the farm murders.
    • Maigret himself ends up playing this role to Colombani in the beginning, as he goes against the chief's orders to devote all resources to helping Colombani solve the Picardie cases, keeping himself and the closest of his colleagues working on the "dead man" murder/body dump. His persistence pays off as the dead man was tangentially related to the Picardie cases, and the two of them collaborate to take down the man responsible for both.
  • Pet the Dog: Maigret has flowers from a released patient put in Maria's hospital room in "Maigret's Dead Man", even though she is about to be tried for murder. Because, in his view, she is still a woman who has just had a baby.
  • Police Brutality: Morphine addict Philippe is on the receiving end of this from Inspector Janvier, who got a little too enthusiastic about getting the needed information out of him and got "help" from a pair of rather burly-looking policemen. Ironic also when one considers that Janvier ends up saving his life after Maigret decides to let him go to catch the killer by surprise. Janvier even says that Philippe had "fallen down", and Maigret, knowing exactly what this means, strongly cautions him to make sure Philippe doesn't "fall" again.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Marcel Moncin from "Maigret Sets a Trap". Having been treated like a child his entire life, and having failed at everything he ever tried to accomplish, drove him to insanity. During his break down in the climax, all he can do is rant over and over again like a six year old that he hates his mother and his wife.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In "Maigret Sets a Trap", French politicians are practically shouting that they want to enact curfews and allow the police to use whatever means necessary to find the killer and get a confession. The Interior Minister, meanwhile, declares that he will not allow such things to happen as the German occupation is still a very recent memory to most of the French population. Unfortunately, this also means he has to pressure the investigating magistrate and Maigret himself to crack the case, so that they will not have to resort to such measures.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "Maigret's Dead Man", after Maigret has caught the killer, and the killer has dismissed the eponymous dead man as unimportant, Maigret counters that the dead man was loved and leaves behind a wife, whereas the killer is now universally despised and only has his guillotine execution to look forward to.
    • Maigret also delivers one in "Maigret in Montmartre" to the killer, while being held at gunpoint.
  • Serial Killer: One is terrorizing Paris in "Maigret Sets a Trap". He turns out to be Marcel Moncin.
  • Setting Update: "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads", the novel of which was published in 1931, as opposed to the postwar setting of the series. Averted for the three other episodes, all of which were based on novels published from 1948 to 1955.
  • Shovel Strike: Inspector Colombani delivers one to Dacourt in the climax of "Maigret's Dead Man".
  • The Sociopath: Dacourt, the ring leader of the gang of thieves and main antagonist of "Maigret's Dead Man", Maigret outright states that he can steal, murder and torture countless innocent people simply cause he sees them as "things" to be used for his own benefit, not people.
  • Spiritual Successor: This series was commissioned partly out of the hope that it would become the Poirot of a new generation.
  • The Stoic: Maigret. Even when he is greatly angry or distressed, he will not raise his voice or display his hand.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Maria, the gang's lover in "Maigret's Dead Man", appears to be aroused from Maigret describing how she burned a woman's breasts with a lit cigarette and slit her throat during a robbery.
  • Too Stupid To Live: Maria in "Maigret's Dead Man" figures she can make a break for it within seconds of giving birth. She doesn't get far.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Arpejan, in "Maigret's Night at the Crossroads". Host not only to an underground fight club, but also a major smuggling ring with the local corrupt cops being in on it.
  • Tragic Villain: Marcel Moncin from "Maigret Sets a Trap". While a dangerous serial killer responsible for the murder of six women, he has been completely dominated his entire life by either his mother or his wife, both of which still treat him like a child. All his attempts to expand himself have failed. As Maigret outright states, Marcel is nothing more than a failure and he knows it.
  • Tranquil Fury: Due to his stoicism, Maigret never shouts or truly displays how angry he is. However when he is confronting a bunch of especially vicious thieves and murderers in “Maigret’s Dead Man”, he is still clearly utter furious.
    • Maigret one-ups himself in "Maigret in Montmartre" when confronting the killer. The sheer cold rage he radiates out of every word needs to be seen to be believed. The fact that he gave such a "Reason You Suck" Speech even while being held at gunpoint by the killer speaks volumes about how angry he is feeling.
      You turned a damaged child into a prostitute, just so you could be comfortable. You are beyond contempt. Beyond mercy...
  • Translation Convention: The characters are French but speak their dialogue in English. However, French can be heard in background conversations and all printed material is in French (with English translations floating next to important pieces of information).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mrs. Maigret is not thrilled with her husband's attempt to flush the killer out in "Maigret Sets a Trap" - and doesn't hesitate to show it. That her husband used policewomen as decoys, and endangered their lives distrurbs her.
  • Working the Same Case: The two investigations in "Maigret's Dead Man" ultimately become this.