ⓘ Spiral (TV series)


ⓘ Spiral (TV series)

Spiral is a French television police procedural and legal drama series following the work and the private lives of Paris police officers and lawyers and judges at the Palais de Justice, Paris. It was created by Alexandra Clert for the TV production company Son et Lumiere.

The first series of eight episodes started broadcast on Canal+ in France in December 2005. The series was shown in the UK on BBC Four during the summer of 2006. It was the channels first French-language drama series, attracting a modest but loyal audience around 200.000 and firm critical approval. The second series, also with eight episodes, was broadcast in France starting in May 2008, and in the UK on BBC Four starting in September 2009. The third series consisted of 12 episodes and was shown from April 2011. The fourth series was broadcast in February 2013. The fifth was broadcast in France in late 2014 and in the UK on BBC Four from January 2015. The sixth series was broadcast in 2017. The seventh series was broadcast in France in February 2019. Series four, five, six, and seven each consisted of 12 episodes.

Spiral has been an export success, with sales to broadcasters in more than 70 countries including Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In Australia, the first series was broadcast in 2008 on SBS One, the second series on SBS Two from September 2009 and the third series on SBS Two from mid-2012. Spiral debuted in North America via Netflix in September 2012. The first five seasons are currently available on Hulu.

Spiral has received wide-ranging critical acclaim throughout its run, and has been nominated and won several awards. It has been nominated at the Globes de Cristal Awards four times, winning once. It was also nominated for Best Drama at the BAFTA Awards, and it won the 2015 International Emmy Award for Best Series.


1. Title

The original French title is Engrenages. This word carries various meanings in French. Although it literally translates as either "gears" or "gearing", it is also used in various idioms and the official translation of the title picks up the phrase "a spiral of violence" engrenage de violence, though it also carries overtones of "getting caught up in the works" mettre un doigt dans lengrenage, "getting some grit in the works" un grain de sable dans lengrenage and even "the cycle of drug abuse" lengrenage de la drogue, or "gearing" in the sense of "intensification".


2. Production staff

  • A Son et Lumiere production in association with Canal+, Jimmy and CineCinema
  • Produced by Alain Clert and Charline de Lepine.
  • Written by Guy-Patrick Sainderichin series 1, Virginie Brac series 2, Anne Landois series 3 and 4, Eric de Barahir series 2 to 4
  • Distributor: 2001 Audiovisuel France
  • Series created by Alexandra Clert and Guy-Patrick Sainderichin
  • Directed by Philippe Triboit 1x01 to 1x04, 2x07 and 2x08, Pascal Chaumeil 1x05 to 1x08, Gilles Bannier 2x01 to 2x04, Philippe Venault 2x05 and 2x06, Manuel Boursinhac 3x01 to 3x06 and Jean-Marc Brondolo 3x07 to 3x12

3. Episodes

Series 2 2008

The story begins with a man burnt to death in the boot of a car on a housing estate. BBC Four showed the series in November and December 2009.

Series 6 2017

The series was filmed from May to December 2016 and was broadcast in France on Canal+ from 18 September 2017 and in the UK on BBC Four from 30 December 2017 to 3 February 2018.


3.1. Episodes Series 1 2005–06

The body of a young Romanian woman is discovered on a Parisian rubbish dump; her face eradicated. As her identity and past life are gradually revealed by the investigating French justice system, it becomes apparent that her story ties to a network of corruption that may touch the people uncovering the truth about her. In the United Kingdom, series 1 was broadcast on BBC Four during May and June 2006, and repeated on BBC Four in 2009 in the lead-up to the broadcast of series 2.


3.2. Episodes Series 2 2008

The story begins with a man burnt to death in the boot of a car on a housing estate. BBC Four showed the series in November and December 2009.


3.3. Episodes Series 4 2012

Police Captain Laure Berthaud and her lieutenants, Gilou and Tintin, investigate when a student is abandoned by his accomplices in a forest near Paris after being blown asunder by their homemade bomb. Lawyer Josephine Karlsson is getting herself into dangerous waters defending undocumented immigrants; her colleague, Pierre Clement, surprisingly finds himself representing crime boss, Johnny Jorkal; while Judge Roban returns to the Palais de Justice, sidelined and on the warpath.

As the story unfolds to reveal a group of extremists intent on waging a war against the Parisian Gendarmerie and a dangerous arms trafficking operation, the police and the lawyers begin to turn on each other. Tintin is slightly grazed in the head by a bullet during a raid, is in a coma for a short period and later suffers from PTSD. Roban releases a man accused of rape because Roban believes the man was the victim of a plot to falsely accuse him; one alleged victim of the rapist commits suicide as a result of the release.

Series 4, consisting of 12 episodes, was shot between 22 August and 9 December 2011 and between January and April 2012. It was broadcast in France on Canal+ from 3 September to 8 October 2012. BBC Four screened the series, subtitled "State of Terror," in its Saturday primetime foreign language drama slot from 9 February 2013 with two hour-long episodes a week, broadcast one after the other on Saturday nights.


3.4. Episodes Series 5 2014

The filming of Season 5 of "Spiral" began on 2 December 2013, and lasted about eight months, producing twelve 52-minute episodes. The series was premiered on Canal+ in France on 10 November 2014, with two episodes shown each evening, though those with a subscription to the on-demand service had access to all twelve episodes at once. Series 5 began airing on BBC Four in the UK on 10 January 2015. The final two episodes were broadcast on 14 February 2015.


3.5. Episodes Series 6 2017

The series was filmed from May to December 2016 and was broadcast in France on Canal+ from 18 September 2017 and in the UK on BBC Four from 30 December 2017 to 3 February 2018.


3.6. Episodes Series 7 2019

Filming the twelve episodes began in January 2018 directed by Frederic Jardin episodes 1–6 and Jean-Philippe Amar episodes 7–12. A double homicide in a Chinese restaurant in the 13th arrondissement leads to a wider story of money-laundering networks and governmental corruption. Broadcast commenced in France on 4 February 2019 on Canal+, and in the UK on 12 October 2019 on BBC Four.


4. Cast

  • Bruno Debrandt: Police Commissioner Vincent Bremont, director of the Criminal Brigade seasons 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7
  • Nicolas Briançon: Police Commissioner Herville, head of Captain Berthauds division seasons 4, 5, Seine-Saint-Denis Divisional Commissioner season 6
  • Stephan Wojtowicz: Police Commissioner Aubert, head of Captain Berthauds division seasons 2, 3
  • Audrey Fleurot: as Josephine Karlsson. A clever and highly cynical young lawyer, she is extremely ambitious and always looking for cases that will earn her a maximum of fame and money. She does not hesitate to cross or double-cross to get what she wants.
  • Fred Bianconi: Police Lieutenant Frederic "Tintin" Fromentin Captain – series 6. Sometimes referred to as Luc Fromentin. Responsible and reasonable, good in proceedings, he is the stable element of Berthauds group. He generally disapproves of his colleagues methods and therefore is often torn between straying into illegality and betraying his friends.
  • Alban Casterman: Judge Wagner seasons 2, 3, 4
  • Caroline Proust: Police Captain Laure Berthaud Commandant – series 6. A skilled Paris criminal police officer who leads an investigative team from a territorial division 2nd DPJ, she is known for her energy and tenacity but also for her tough and sometimes borderline methods. Devoted to her work, she is very attached to her men and would do anything to protect them when they make a mistake. Her private life is a mess and she seems unable to build a lasting relationship.
  • Daniel Duval: Szabo, controversial lawyer and Karlssons associate seasons 2, 3
  • Dominique Daguier: Republic Prosecutor Machard seasons 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Thierry Godard: Police Lieutenant Gilles "Gilou" Escoffier. Called Lemaire in Series 1. Berthauds long-time team member. With methods as borderline as his captains, they often cover each other to escape disciplinary inquiries. Having difficulties enduring the toughness of his work, he has experienced drug abuse.
  • Philippe Duclos: Judge François Roban. An experienced investigating magistrate juge dinstruction, solitary and hardworking, he knows all the tricks of his trade. Often reproached for his coldness and even cruelty with suspects and witnesses, he attaches a lot of importance to his independence from the executive powers.
  • Elisabeth Macocco: Marianne, Judge Robans court clerk seasons 3, 4, 5
  • Gregory Fitoussi: Assistant Prosecutor Pierre Clement. A young magistrate with a promising career, he believes in his profession and in the integrity of justice. But his success and his righteousness provoke the hostility of his superior, Republic Prosecutor Machard.


4.1. Cast Series 1

  • Melodie Marcq: Alissa, prostitute and police informer
  • Nicolas Silberg: Robert Villequier, entrepreneur involved in pharmaceutical business and Marianne Clements father
  • Guillaume Cramoisan: Benoit Faye, businessman and Clements childhood friend
  • Vincent Winterhalter: Vincent Leroy, former lawyer disbarred because of rape conviction
  • Scali Delpeyrat: Arnaud Laborde, cabinet counsellor
  • Mirza Halilovic: Michel "le Roumain", Romanian gangster
  • Stephane Debac: Paul
  • Anne Caillon: Marianne Clement, Pierre Clements wife

4.2. Cast Series 2

  • Samir Guesmi: Farouk Larbi, drug dealer
  • Samir Boitard: Police Lieutenant Samy Aroune, specialized in undercover operations he returns in series 4
  • Swann Arlaud: Steph, young police officer intern in Captain Berthauds group
  • Michel Bompoil: Robert Brean, Principle private secretary of the Minister of Justice
  • Reda Kateb: Aziz, rapper
  • Mehdi Nebbou: Mustapha Larbi, drug dealer


4.3. Cast Series 3

  • Shemss Audat: Nadia, a detective in Berthauds unit
  • Corinne Masiero: Patricia
  • Finnegan Oldfield: Dylan
  • Nicolas Moreau: Didier Courcelles, mayor of Villedieu and friend of the President of the Republic
  • Gilles Cohen: Martin Roban, brother of Judge Roban
  • Xavier Robic: Arnaud Ledore, magistrate in training and son of the previous
  • Anca Radici: Mila, a prostitute from Nikos network
  • Misha Arias de la Cantolla: Ronaldo Fuentes, Mexican illegal immigrant
  • Genti Kame: Niko, Albanian procurer
  • Anne Alvaro: Isabelle Ledore, ex-lover of Judge Roban

4.4. Cast Series 5

  • Anne Benoit: Family court judge
  • Fatou NDiaye: Carole Mendy
  • Lise Lametrie: Madame Delorme