DVD Review: CAÏN (Seasons 1 & 2/MHz Releasing)

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by Dale Reynolds on December 25, 2018



Set in the port city of Marseilles, France, this captivating series, here in two seasons (2012 and 2014) — with four more seasons to come on DVD — uses an able-bodied actor, Bruno Debrandt, to play a homicide detective who was shot and crippled while chasing a suspect, and now lives — and more importantly, works — from a wheelchair.

Named Frédéric Caïn (not noticeably biblical as he has no brother), who might be in his middle thirties, our hero is a risk-taker, a man of huge rages, underlined by a bit of self-pity, but who works well with his female partner, Julie (enticing Lucy Delarme), while managing to piss-off his superiors. He loves her, of course, but has to work through suspicions that she has been attached to him not only in order to learn strong police procedures from him, but also to report back to their bosses about his maverick ways.

Sexy – and knowing it – Captain Caïn’s detecting skills are not undermined by his sulks and off-the-rails outbursts, so the show is a sure-fire combination of action, introspection and humor.

Each season has eight episodes, all fairly formulaic in the plotting (murder, police, solution) but also holds its head up high with the portrayals by sexy actors with talent. Season One Episodes: “Jealousy”; “Justice”; “Judge and Be Judged”; “The Attacker”; “Confusion”; “Under the Skin”; “Hostages”; “Innocence.” Season Two Episodes: “Suicide”; “Ornella”; “Cain and Able” parts one and two; “The Island”; “Bad Boy”; “Duels”; “God, Cain, Etc.”

What they all have in common is full entertainment, lingering shots of the port of Marseilles, more taut-than-not dialogue, and strong direction. I am especially grateful watching police-procedure shows that are noticeably different than ours, and also in the ubiquitous use of the American okay instead of French d’accord.

Co-created by Bertrand Arthuys and Alexis Le Sec and directed by Arthuys (Season 1) and Benoît d’Aubert (Season 2), it’s rated TV-14 for some sexuality and language. Watching this wheelchair-bound detective run rings (Debrandt has skilled himself in the use of the chair) around criminals and co-workers is a hoot, with his difficulties making him unique as his character is often brushing up against the thin line of legality to bring justice to those denied it.

Both seasons are compelling viewing — amusing and quite enjoyable — with the hope the other four seasons match them in intensity and good fun.

Season One | three discs | 427 minutes
Season Two | three discs | 419 minutes
in French with English Subtitles
released July 17 & July 25, 2018
available at MHz Releasing or Amazon

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