Nicolas Le Floch Volume Two DVD Review: Sword Fights and Laughter

A silly French historical crime drama delivers good mysteries and some hearty laughs.
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Nicolas Le Floch is a French crime series that began in France in October of 2008.  Each series contains two episodic short films (lasting roughly 90 minutes each.)  It is being brought to the US market by MHZ Mysteries.  Volume Two contains episodes 7-10.  It stars Jérôme Robart as Nicholas Le Floch, Marquis of Ranreuil, Commissaire of the Châtelet which is the flowery French way of saying detective.  He solves crimes in 18th century Paris.  It is based upon a series of novels by Jean-François Parot.

I had not seen any previous episodes before coming to this set, but jumping into episode 7, “The Rogue’s Banquet,” was not difficult at all.  It took me a little longer to realize who the main characters were, perhaps, but soon enough I was well into the show’s groove.

The tone of the series rests somewhere between serious crime drama and rather ridiculous comedy.  Think The Closer or The X-Files episodes where things got a bit silly.  The historic setting gives is a nice bit of atmosphere and plenty of fun costumes and goofy wigs.  And sword fights.  Lots and lots of sword fights.

It is an entertaining show, but not one that particularly engrossed me.  I’d sit, watch, and be entertained but then I’d find myself reaching for the iPad to play Clash of Clans or check my e-mail.  Normally this is no problem as I can half pay attention to a show and play around, but as this is in French I needed to read the subtitles and I’d quickly get lost.  It doesn’t help that all the wigs make everybody look the same, and I’d find myself asking my wife "just who that character is again?"  Forcing myself to pay attention, I’d always wind up laughing and liking the mystery and action of it all.

The ratio of gritty mystery to slapstick humor differed from episode to episode.  Sometimes the tale would rely more on gags and comedy and then the next episode would lessen the humor only to amp up the body count and crime aspect of the story.  It was always fun to watch and a nice diversion from the relentless winter creeping in from right outside my front door.

The production quality is excellent.  The acting is very good. The set design, costumes, and every other aspect of the show is all high quality.  It is filled with romance, action, comedy, and because this is a French show - plenty of nakedness.  That might mean you need to wait until the kids go to bed, but that gives you an excuse to cuddle up to your loved one and enjoy some fairly silly historic French crime drama.

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