Post image for DVD/TV Review: CAPTAIN MARLEAU (MHz Choice)

by Dale Reynolds on August 22, 2020



There are a slew of quality police series, especially coming from Europe. But rare is the show with a goofy lead character, and this fine series has the kookiest lead you’ve ever come across. Capitan Marleau (Corinne Masiero), somewhere in her advancing middle-age, solves crimes in her own inimitable way, drawing pitiable looks from the uninitiated until, of course, this eccentric member of the National Gendarmerie in France makes her case and saves the day.

The Capitan Marleau “Volume One” DVD has six of the twelve episodes from the first season — the last six episodes are available on Volume Two and all twelve episodes are on MHz Choice. The entertaining series has become SUCH a big hit in France and so strongly thought-of enough here in America that two more seasons are already begun.

Each episode has one star-powered actor to lead the way for our heroine to either support or overpower.

Episode One: “Phillippe Muir” stars a corpulent Gèrard Depardieu as the owner of a trucking company whose female accountant has been murdered. Suspicion falls on his drug-addicted son, Samuel, as his mother, Phillippe’s wife, was also murdered. Will Marleau get run over by all the lies?

Episode Two: “Le Domaine des soeurs Meyer” (“The House of the Meyer Sisters”) has a beer manufacturer, Frantz Meyer (the late Jean-Pierre Marielle), trying to sell his company which is, unknown to potential sellers, on the brink of bankruptcy. His death makes his three daughters, including Bulle Ogier as Katel, help Marleau find his killer along with the disappearance of his delusional wife. Will Marleau become deluded in kind?

Episode Three: “Les Mysteres de la foi” (“The Mysteries of Faith”) is set in a Spanish/French convent, where the Mother Superior (Victoria Abril) comes under suspicion of the murder of a young Spanish novice, who was a relative to a recently-assassinated Spanish mobster. Will Marleau be too cloistered to solve the mystery, or will it all be a pain in the apse?

Episode Four:  “Brouillard en thalasso” (“The Hazy Spa”). The sea’s misty, hazy fog at a skin-therapy spa may implicate a certain someone who has murdered the owner of the luxury hotel which employs the therapists. Will Marleau get the rub-down she deserves? Muriel Robin stars as the widow of the slain husband.

Episode Five: “En trompe-l’oeil” (“Optical Illusion”) stars Pierre Arditi as famous novelist Gilles Garin who — during a party at his mansion — discovers the dead au pair of his son. Marleau has many suspects, including some of the town-folk, especially the woman who inspired one of Gilles’ characters. Will Marleau eat some of the tastiest red herrings of the season?

Episode Six:  “La Nuit de la Lune Rousse” (“Night of the Red Moon”) clearly has a crime perpetrated at night under a red moon! Our Marleau investigates the cover-up of a vandalism case gone wrong that could incriminate the young protégé of Jeanne Dewaere (Sandrine Bonnaire). Will Marleau be totally eclipsed by the Red Moon?

The shows are well-shot by Stefan Ivanov and firmly directed by Josèe Dayan, with Ms. Masiero a delight with her gracelessness and silly look (part Sherlock Holmes, part U.S. detective), which allows her to get the villains to think they’ve snookered her, when it is quite the opposite. The writing not only has superb plotting but plays up her look with wit, which asserts how the nontraditional can — and will — rise to the top.

The series was the original idea of Else Marpeau who states that her odd-ball lead character is a mash-up of Frances McDormand’s pregnant police officer in Fargo, Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe (hence her name?), and Peter Falk’s Colombo.

photos courtesy of MHz Choice

Captain Marleau
MHz Networks
Season 1, Episodes 1-6 (Volume One)
in French with English subtitles
3 discs | NR | 582 minutes
released on May 28, 2019
available at Amazon and MHz Choice

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