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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, intelligent viewing
I had no preconceived notions about this series when I purchased the box-set, other than recommendations of other Amazon purchasers (though it turned out I had seen part of one episode on TV on a visit to France, when it did not make much sense out of context). I was soon hooked, watching two or three episodes back to back until I had finished all three series. I've...
Published on 17 Sept. 2012 by 'Arry Viewer

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11 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is no "The Killing"
I'm a big fan of French thrillers, but "Spirals" was a bit disappointing... Compared to the Danish TV series "The Killing", it loses by a mile.

Yes, the plot is interesting enough, and so are the characters, and it beats the hell out of any American TV crime thrillers ever produced. But it doesn't go as deep into character development as "The Killing" did, it...
Published on 29 Jan. 2012 by F. L. P. Souza


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, intelligent viewing, 17 Sept. 2012
By 
'Arry Viewer (Coventry, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
I had no preconceived notions about this series when I purchased the box-set, other than recommendations of other Amazon purchasers (though it turned out I had seen part of one episode on TV on a visit to France, when it did not make much sense out of context). I was soon hooked, watching two or three episodes back to back until I had finished all three series. I've ordered series 4, and can't wait ...
What's the attraction? On one level, it's the usual sort of story: cops find dead body, and eventually discover who was responsible. But the sort of material which would take a single episode of an American police procedural like CSI is here spread over the whole series. The real interest is in the characterisation, of both the good guys and the bad guys. Most of the villains are very nasty indeed, but they are never cardboard cut-outs, while the police and other agents of the legal system who are just as important in the stories are all flawed human beings. Even someone like Juge Roban, who really does believe in the pursuit of truth and justice, ruins his own life, and sometimes that of others, because he is unwilling to make any allowances for human weakness. A lot of the time we are dealing with situations where we have to question to what extent the end justifies the means, and wondering what we might do faced with the same circumstances. And then there is the infighting between different parts of the legal system who are all meant to be on the same side, and the portrayal of low- and high-level corruption and skulduggery ...
Most of the action takes place in Paris and its immediate surroundings, but you won't see that much of the tourist landmarks. The English sub-titles are generally good (though when Joséphine Karlsson is addressed as Maître Karlsson, which emphasises her status as a lawyer, something is lost when this is rendered as "Miss Karlsson")and if you pay attention to the soundtrack as well, you can certainly improve your knowledge of French slang.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiral - the outstanding BBC4 import, complete on DVD, 19 Mar. 2013
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Spiral - Complete Series 1-4 [DVD] (DVD)
I was thinking, maybe it is easier to pronounce the name Sara Lund, or did the gaggle of journos and mouthpieces begin salivating at the sight of her Scandinavian jumper? Was it the appearance of a woman detective embodying (and exaggerating) many of the traits attached to classic male cops and gumshoes? Whatever the reason or bag of associations, Scandi-drama has surely won more attention, especially amongst the gender-conscious sisterhood, eager for a new poster-girl.

I'm here to tell them that they missed a trick.

Berthaud. Captain Laure Berthaud. She is the real deal, the true hero(ine) of crime drama and female empowerment, the genuine inspiration for all viewers, men and women.

If feminism is really about equality with men then that presupposes a world in which men and women live together and interact with each other. So, that counts Lund out right away. SPIRAL is a TV show about crime and corruption in French society, one that examines politics, the judiciary, trade and industry, the police, as well as outright criminality, people trafficking, vice, drugs, etc. Caught up in the highly complex web and vortices of this world are many unforgettable characters, actors with extraordinary faces, but I want to talk about Berthaud.

The style of policing in Spiral is rough-house, round the clock interrogation and investigation, a tight-knit team of cops led (first among equals) by a woman who goes toe to toe, eyeballing and bellowing and b****slapping the perps with all the conviction and intensity of her male counterparts. She leads them, but from the front, and without sacrificing anything of her femininity. She is sexy but not girly or predictable in her sexuality. Her ruthlessness, her determination to get justice and more than that, to get a win, a success for her team, is both unique and admirable; her emotional attachment - when it surfaces - to her male colleagues, visceral, truthful and honourable. She cleverly manipulates the stereotypes, the cliched prejudices of her peers, without losing our sympathy, in fact quite the opposite.

The characterisation of Berthaud is brilliantly contrasted with her arch antagonist, the cold bloodedly vengeful lawyer, Josephine Karlsson. Tall, leggy, bosomy, all flaming hair, red lipstick and heels, she is glamorous, brilliant, chic, formidable, hateful, corrupt and utterly unattractive, at least to begin with. She has the money, the reputation, the prestige, the clothes, pure Sex & The City, and as empty as a seashell. Berthaud, average height, average body, combats and flats, is the one we admire, that men would want to love or to befriend in a purely platonic way, and that women should want to emulate.

So why doesn't she get the interviews and the headlines that Lund or Borgen's Birgitte attract? Because Spiral is more complex and inclusive, more energized and violent, but more particularly because Berthaud is a part of a team, whereas the Danish women stand apart, are presented as fundamentally alone.

We rarely eulogize, make heroes of individuals who function as part of an ensemble, assuming that the team spirit somehow dilutes their achievement. But that is our mistake and an empty vestige of humanity's desire for freaks and scapegoats, people marked for praise or punishment.

Laure Berthaud is a believable heroine. Lund is a caricature of the obsessed loner, someone who really couldn't function in a police department. Berthaud is the true feminist icon, a professional who is both man and woman, embodying the best of both genders, but who happens to have been born with girl parts. She is superb creation, given perfect credibility by Caroline Proust.

As for Spiral as a whole, well like I said, it is an electrifying crime drama, complex and fascinating, and fascinatingly different from English alternatives. Think 'The Wire' but with dialogue you can actually understand and not weighed down by transatlantic hoopla. If by some tragedy you have failed to acknowledge the existence of BBC4 then you must grab a copy of this DVD set asap. You owe it to yourself.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great series broadcast by the BBC., 20 May 2012
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
Just when it seemed that Sky Atlantic was broadcasting all the best serial dramas, the BBC and channel 4 have been putting out great Swedish /Danish productions. Like most people The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen were completely addictive and whilst waiting for series two, three or even a fourth series something had to be found to ease the withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately I found the excellent French series Spiral which I had missed all three series on BBC. I had come across it once when channel swapping, it wasn't easy to get in to part way through, because of running multi story lines in each episode, so I dismissed it. Subsequently I came across the widely acclaimed reviews crediting the quality of this riveting series, so purchased all three series on DVD. There is however a snag to this, for people lacking strong will power, and self control. instead of having a class leading series to look forward to each night for the next several weeks, Spiral is so entertainingly absorbing it is too easy to watch two or three episodes per night.
Everyone may have a preference , but Spiral is up there with the Swedish / Danish productions. It is my opinion that these particular foreign series are so superior to any US or home grown cop dramas.
There are two significant differences between the Scandanavian and French productions, one is that the French language is so much faster than Swedish and Danish and therefore it is more difficult to keep up with the subtitles in Spiral.
The other noticable distinction is that French women are so much more attractive, feminine and more stylishly dressed than Scandanavian women. I suppose we may have known this before, but Spiral draws attention to it.
I cannot wait for The Killing series three, Borgen series two and Spiral series four sometime this year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a weak point, anywhere - watch it!, 31 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
I have now acquired the series 1 - 4 and love all of the stories, the intricacies of plot, the incredible (and highly credible) acting of a wonderful cast - Judge Roban, Captain Laure Berthaud, Pierre Clement et al. I cannot praise this series enough, you will need a strong stomach to watch some scenes, but they are not gratuitous, never there to shock, or used as a distraction from poor story telling. It is such a refreshing change from the air-brushed gloss of some other crime series - these people are real, very human and I cannot wait for a Series 5. I hope someone can tell me if it is in the pipeline ...?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, suspenseful, interesting with great acting and direction., 4 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent series: apart from being a fascinating insight into the technicalities of the justice system in France (role of magistrates, prosecutors and how they interact with police), we found this gripping, psychologically convincing and entirely involving. Despite some hyperbolic traits, the various protagonists are extremely well portrayed: great acting on the whole. A bit too much (gratuitous) violence in the first few seasons. The series develops well and does not disappoint. Some marvellous camerawork specially in indoor scenes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiral Series1-3 Box Set [DVD], 2 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
Having missed the first episode of season 3 and only being able to catch up intermittently .This box set was a real birthday treat.Whatever you do , if you like crime series , buy this set and watch from Season One right through. The French just do it better than any one else vide "36" also on DVD.

The acting is fabulous one achieves real empathy with Laure Pierre and Le Judge, and especially Tintin. My opinion has changed about Maitre Klarsen from series One to the end of Three from La Chienne Parfait to a likeable character with a hint of romance between her and Pierre.

Let us hope for a season 4 long may the style of a major theme run through it being aided with a series of vignettes in each episode.This is how crime on TV should be shown.. Now back to Hercule P.......Spiral: Series 1-3 Box Set [DVD]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series, don't be put off by the sub titles they add greatly to the atmosphere ., 17 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
A bit graphic at times .The main characters evolve throughout the series. The supporting actors are well worth paying attention to as they also develop . Am a big fan of Wallander but I think Spiral surpasses the Henning Mankell TV productions for pace and atmosphere . Recommend taking note of where you stop watching an episode ( maybe it's just my age ) as it can be difficult to locate exactly where you finished watching previously !
Though I watched the series live on TV really enjoyed the DVDs . As with any subtitles , unless your French " argot " is first class , interruptions to your concentration aren't recommended .
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better and better, 4 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
Frankly, one of the best programmes I have ever seen. It is inevitably being compared with The Killing, but I for one would not want to choose between them.

I would endorse all the other plaudits and add just two comments. Firstly, it is pretty damn gruesome, not so much in showing the violence, but with the aftermath, particularly when the pathologists get involved, so be warned. Secondly, with series such as these they often seem to tire and become formulaic. Not a bit of it in this case - series 3 was for me the best of the lot, and the first two were great!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive viewing and great characters, 30 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Spiral - Complete Series 1-4 [DVD] (DVD)
I have been completely hooked during the Christmas holidays watching this boxed set. Thank goodness I had it because there was nothing else worth watching.
The 1st series starts off with a difigured naked body in a skip and within the 1st hour you are hooked on the characters. The second series starts off with a burnt out body in the boot of a car and again within the 1st hour you are hooked.
The 3rd series is about a serial killer who likes to disfigure his victims and again the opening scene is gripping.
The 4th series is completely different but equally gripping and is about illegal imigrants and terrorism.
There are additional stories going on at all times and there are further developments going on with the main characters and their personel and private problems.
I think the subtitles are pretty good and within a short period of time you are so engrossed you don't even notice. Your peripheral vision kicks in and you can easily watch the subtitles and watch what is going on.
Can't wait to see if there will be a series 5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: Spiral - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
I liked the insight we are given of the French legal system. The acting was excellent, particularly of Laure Bertou, not an easy female role. I would have liked more evidence of upper-echelon corruption being punished. The series also emphasized - though not presented as an issue - the difficulty of assimilating immigrants, this a major problem throughout Europe. I'm not a great fan of police procedurals; but a foreign take is always educational.
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Spiral - Complete Series 1-4 [DVD]
Spiral - Complete Series 1-4 [DVD] by Philippe Triboit (DVD - 2013)
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