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on 25 September 2012
The discovery of the Bruno Cremer Maigrets is for me the great discovery of the last several years in terms of "policiers", and this applies to all four sets issued to date by MHZ. One should not go to them for gore (there is none) or violence (there is very little, and what there is, is tame by modern standards). What does reward the viewer are fascinating, original plots (thanks to author Georges Simenon and those who so expertly adapted his novels for television); a wonderfully engaging and consistent undertaking of the title role by Bruno Cremer (who has a normal, loving and low-key relationship with his spouse, so the there is none of the soap-operatic personal angst which so greatly mars many other policiers); consistently strong acting across the board, with occasional standout performances by guest actors from the French stage; and, most importantly for me, wonderful and entirely credible depictions of how the French interacted with each other, including issues of class, occupation and education, in the 1950s. These first 24 episodes are to be cherished, and one earnestly hopes that MHZ will soon issue the remainder of the oeuvre, which was filmed in a total of 54 episodes from 1991 to 2005 (MHZ's set 4 takes it up to 1996). In short, a series that for me unequivocally ranks with, although quite different from, Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect and Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes.
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