La trêve: La Trêve (The Break) Full Season
January 2, 2019 11:13 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The body of 19 year old Driss Assani, a footballer with Heiderfeld football club is pulled out of the river Semois, a stones throw from Heiderfeld, a small town of a few thousand inhabitants in the Belgian Ardennes. The investigation is led by Inspector Yoann Peeters, who has recently moved there after a domestic tragedy, accompanied by Sebastian Drummer, an idealistic and inexperienced young police officer.
posted by chappell, ambrose (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just out of curiosity, where might I find this? Seems like the type of thing I would love.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:33 PM on January 3, 2019

Netflix has it in the US.
posted by Etrigan at 5:21 PM on January 3, 2019

miss-lapin: It’s on Netflix, if that’s any help! (On preview, pipped by Etrigan...)

Since you haven’t seen it (and in the hope that you check back to this thread and see this comment), I’ll hide anything spoilery further down.

Non-spoilery: I was really impressed by this. It used the very traditional recipe for “detective tortured by his mysterious past moves to idyllic countryside, yet all is not as it seems” prestige European TV, of which Netflix has quite a lot now (they tend to be fairly interchangeable, even down to the title sequences, that for some reason always involve vertical or horizontal reflections?).

Yet in this case, the show’s creators came up with more than the sum of its parts. The scripting was great, with really believable, sympathetic but often very flawed characters that evolved over the series as they confronted what were, for the most part, compelling human dramas (Driss, the murder victim, was particularly good - a Laura Palmer character who hovered over the series, rather than just a grisly clue who Had It Coming); those characters were acted really well by a great cast (as in, I had trouble remembering that they were actors, and probably not like that in real life - especially Peeter’s infuriatingly inept colleagues); the pacing was good, with plenty to keep the audience engaged every episode; and it was shot very nicely, with lots of tree-porn.

I was content with what was shown and what was hidden each episode, including the perspectives from the other characters - who of course were all potential suspects, and who most of the time were alluding to some guilty secret that they had to keep hidden at all costs. The murder victim haunting the dreams of each guilty village resident was a nice, unnerving touch. I never felt cheated by an episode’s revelations - everything seemed reasonably aligned with each character’s personality and motivations, as far as we knew them, and most were enjoyably shocking and awful and reflected terribly on human nature.

And I felt that the show was influenced by True Detective in a lot of good ways, even down to framing of the story: Peeters in an ambiguous interview situation, recounting all the events that were leading up to whatever Something that had Gone Terribly Wrong, providing some nice foreshadowing, a secondary mystery to solve, and another thread to helpfully pull the episodes together.

I also felt that the show got its teenage characters in particular exactly right: unsure of themselves, smart and sensitive and compassionate, yet with terrible judgement, in an adult world full of sex and drugs and danger, as well as tedium and injustice and hypocrisy.

Oh, and there was a really good, unexpected driver for many of the evil deeds that were going on. It was well-explained, believable, and provided the opportunity for more ongoing threat to the characters than just “the murderer pops up to silence anyone getting too close to the truth”, which isn’t really enough to keep me engaged over 10 episodes.

My disappointments were minor, but involved spoilers, so I’m putting them HERE:
I felt like Driss’s Rasputin-like evening of being very nearly bumped-off by everyone with a motive (and a couple of people purely by accident!) strained my credulity a bit, especially with the body being disposed of by a third party... on a whim?

I was most disappointed that I managed to guess the murderer in the first episode, within seconds of her being introduced, using my near-foolproof “who would the scriptwriter feel is the least suspect, both for the protagonist and audience?”. I literally pointed at the screen and said “she’s the murderer”. That made the last episode a little bit boring for me, although admittedly it didn’t go down quite as I’d expected (my money was on Joffrey, the cow-poisoner that worked with Inès’s horses, being the supposedly aborted child of Inès and Peeters, and the motive for the murder being something to do with the crimes that he and Driss had been comitting for the dam people).

Oh, and the scenery-chewing rich sociopath was obviously a red herring, but he was so compellingly creepy that I’d have coped with a bit more on the sinister occult angle (before they let it drop with the excellent Driss-was-also-a-murderer reveal).

posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:21 PM on January 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

This may be the scandinoir that really broke me. It seemed promising at first.

(spoilers talk)

I found the unfolding reveal of the Rasputin-like last day of Driss to be aggravating as heck. I remember it feeling very manipulative and pointless. I think one could argue that it has a thematic purpose of showing how everyone is a little bit to blame for anti-immigrant bigotry. On the other hand, seeing from that angle, they applied a sort of standard whodunit formula (the obvious suspects are actually innocent; the victim is actually a little guilty) to an important social issue and that can be gross.

The detective's mental health angle didn't seem to integrate into anything for me and it just became a distraction and a cheap drama generator. It also resulted in something that I find unbearable in a crime show but pretty common in scandinoirs: the detective becoming kind of clueless and incompetent.
posted by fleacircus at 9:28 AM on January 5, 2019

It is a good thing that police detectives are so prone to personal tragedies, because otherwise where would small towns get their new police officers to solve their mysteries?
posted by happyroach at 9:39 PM on January 5, 2019

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