Je Suis Elise, Saga, Laure…

I’d forgotten just how miserable February can be; London is cold and wet, the sky mostly grey. Any cheerful optimism and hope for the new year have long since evaporated, and the daily news ought to come with a mental health warning attached, especially for news junkies like myself.

Meanwhile, social media is awash with people expressing their outrage at everything under the sun. Public outrage has become so à la mode that if you’re not continuously spewing self-righteous opprobrium on your Twitter account, you’re selling out. You’re either with us or against us. Everything seems black and white, and trial by public opinion has become the order of the day for any self-appointed armchair activist.

In this kind of ‘toxic’ climate, there’s only one thing to do – if you’re me that is – fire up the Netflix and TV apps on my iPad and indulge my addiction to crime series. If you fancy emotionally stunted, or psychologically tortured female cops, you’re in luck because they are everywhere. Even Brenda Blethyn’s irresistible Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope is a bit messed up.


Laure Berthaud

Initially, I justified my binge watching of the gritty French cop show Spiral (Engrenages, in French) with flimsy claims I was practising my French. But six seasons later, any French vocabulary I’ve picked up from Laure Berthaud, the unkempt, emotionally stunted but brilliant (of course) cop who headlines Spiral is unfit for polite conversation.



Elise Wassermann


Barely had the sixth season ended before I moved on to the last ever series of The Tunnel (the French/British remake of the Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge) and cried so much my face turned red and swollen when troubled cop Elise Wassermann died in a heroic act of self-sacrifice.


I was so choked up by the finale that I neglected to come to my daughter’s assistance when she slipped on the stairs and hurt herself.

“For goodness sake, Elise just died,” was all I could say when confronted about my lack of motherly compassion.

And I wept some more during the last ever scene featuring Saga Norén of The Bridge, feeling wholly bereft by the time the end credits had finished. With both Elise and Saga gone forever, I can’t wait to find out what happens to Laure in the seventh season of Spiral.

With nothing better to watch in the meantime, I’m reluctantly selling my soul to ITV’s Marcella although I struggle to get past Anna Friel’s heavily Botoxed face. There’s Collateral on BBC of course, which looks promising but neither Marcella nor Carey Mulligan’s Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie engages my emotions quite the same way that Laure, Saga and Elise did.

Of course, I could simply turn off the TV, put away the iPad, and engage with the real world instead, but why would I want to do that? February is bleak enough as it is.

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