Witnesses: C’est Magnifique et Terrifiant!

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Looking for something to watch and read? Open your eyes and take in Witnesses, a six episode French police procedural that takes some really wonderful, and dark, twists and turns. It took me until episode two before I fully committed, but on the whole, I’m glad I did. Marie Domineer plays Sandra, a detective who is struggling with work/life balance (Is there one? Come on now, people. I haven’t found it, nor does Sandra, thank goddess) and looking pretty spectacular while she delves into her cases and scopes out a graveyard in the pouring rain. She has a side kick, who I loved for being bald and overweight and lovable, but her real partner is the detective that trained her, and honestly, kinda broke her, so she’s fueled by the well-earned chip on her shoulder. Thierry Lhermitt plays Paul, a rock star detective who is also deeply wounded after the death of his wife and a serious suicide attempt that required rigorous physical therapy and resulted in a psychological limp. He’s brought in after dead bodies are found posed in show homes and among the clues are personal items of Paul’s. It’s magnificent and creepy.

If you are looking to curl up on a rainy, summer day with say a whole baguette and a stick of butter than Witnesses is for you. It’s dreary, but sometimes life is dreary, and I liked that Sandra struggles in her life and in her case, and that she earns her own respect before rock star Paul’s. I love listening to the French language, and took note of certain swear words I didn’t learn in high school French, and I love subtitles and I dream of living in France for a year and touring the chewy and crunchy pastries, so this was totally up my alley. I did, however, fast forward through the theme song and opening credits. It made me want to gag. It’s all slow motion and emo and hair blowing. Gag. And there is a wolf. I think wolves are amazing, but this is poor use of the wolf image.

My favorite part of this series is that the characters wear real clothes. This may seem odd, but I am so sick of the fabulous costumes officers and detectives wear.  It just burns my biscuits. Hair like they’re going to a wedding and duds you can’t chase perps in! Sandra wears two pairs of shoes in all six episodes. She tears off the heeled paired, swearing like a sailor, as she’s running on a rocky beach and I was like, “Yes! Finally! Those shoes were ridiculous for police work, even if they look awesome. Even if they are classy as merde.” They all wear the same coat. Finally. Finally detectives who only have one winter coat and not a bazillion. The more I watch, the more I realize that these details really matter for me as a viewer.

Join me, viewers, in bearing witness to a fine French mystery. Hang in there through episode one. It’s laying the ground work for some fine television viewing.

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