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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Paris Police 1905

Five years on from Paris Police 1900, the programme has returned with the not too mysterious title of Paris Police 1905. The good news is that it’s even better than the show’s first run.

Paris Police 1905 is the closest thing to a TV version of a novel. It’s so densely layered, so engrossing and the characters are so brilliantly written, you just can’t put it down or, in this case, stop watching.

It’s December 1904 and the reformist prefect of police Louis Lépine (Marc Barbé) has given orders that the streets of certain Paris streets must be cleared of prostitutes. Both public order and hygiene lie behind his decision – syphilis is raging in the French capital.

Meanwhile, the body of a man has been found in Bois de Boulogne. It appears he’s been shot, and another character from the first series, Antoine Jouin, played by Jérémie Laheurte, is sent to investigate. At first, it’s difficult to tell whether it was murder or suicide. Jouin also finds himself investigating the death of a child in a nearby building, but that case is further complicated when Lépine asks him to keep the investigation quiet.

Lover of an aristocratic heir and wife of a struggling artist, Meg Steinheil (Evelyne Brochu) was a key player in Paris Police 1900, and she too returns to the series. Her husband Adolphe is holding evenings where he reveals new canvases at their house. However, this is a cover for secret gambling sessions and when Lépine is invited to one, the head of police chooses to turn a blind eye. Meg’s problems are magnified when it’s revealed that her husband has syphilis.

More will be heard from the campaigning woman lawyer, Jeanne Chauvin (Eugénie Derouand), with whom Jouin fell in love. The glowering and violent former cop Joseph Fiersi (Thibault Evrard) will team up with Jouin to help him with the investigation, coming into the firing line when the case is linked to another murder.

Refined, pungent, poignant, suspenseful and full of troubled characters, Paris Police 1905 is bigger and better, as it depicts extremes of wealth and poverty, the hypocrisy of the clergy, a broken bourgeoisie and, basically, a city in turmoil. Superb work from screenwriter Fabien Nury.

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