Crime dramas are inexhaustible with inspiration from every artistic outlet. Yet those which resonate the most, succeeding with a wide range of viewers, are those with characters with complex feelings and dark or interesting pasts. The Crimson Rivers represents these ideals perfectly. The French drama explores the graphic murders in the countryside of the French-German border.
The delicate comparisons between the beautiful countryside, the brutality of both the murderer and Detective Pierre Niemans’s methods engross the viewer, entranced by the romanticism of this dark and despairing series.
The series take the structure of multiple two-part episodes. Not only does this present the idea that this world is literally interconnected,but it allows for close, complex,sometimes sexual, relationships between characters which also allows the world to further interconnect.
The motif of old and the new features throughout the series, best explored through Neiman’s, and younger detective, Camille Delaunay’s relationship. The pair work brilliantly together, perfectly symbolising the development and evolving nature of justice and the police as a whole.
The series centres around a noble German family who are seemingly cursed by the deaths of children in each generation, leading to the decrease in their wealth. In focusing on German gentry, the drama allows itself to delve into significant social issues more than the average crime drama. This makes the series less of a Midsummer Murders style murder-fest, instead forcing the viewers to think about the issues explored.
Watching the drama with people allowed for extensive discussion after the credits had rolled, which for me is what the small screen should increasingly allow for in contemporary society. It is clear that this is not a British production. Aside from being scripted in French, which allows a certain sophistication and ‘je ne sais que?’, the characters themselves are far removed from the world of most, giving insight into a country or world alien to most Channel 4 viewers.
Though the series is an adaptation of a 2000 film of the same title, which itself was an adaption of a book, – written by Jean- Christophe Grange – the series is not just for fans of these. Indeed the series is refreshing for the genre and thus far has received little negative critique, showing real promise for a renewal and a further introduction to Nieman and his intriguing methods.
Image Credit: Globetrotteur17 via Wikipedia Commons